I think the last scary movie I saw was The Conjuring
. As a child, I was beyond terrified of Chucky. Annabelle, the demonic doll featured in the movie of the same name, convinced me I didn’t need to watch any more scary movies until I was married. But for a couple of months now, I have been looking for things to do around Charlotte at night, outside of the bar or club.
I came across a Groupon for two to “Nightmares Around Elm Street” by Carolina History & Haunts. My cousin and I had been looking for something to do before going out, and for $15 it sounded like a steal.
I took a glance at the website, and the first thing I saw was, “Are you afraid of ghosts?” Even though my answer was yes, I thought it would be a fun experience. Also, my cousin was going to be sleeping at my place, so I knew I’d be alright. Not to mention, I have been looking for a condo for the past couple of months and I thought it might be smart to explore where any haunted parts of Charlotte might be.
In usual fashion, I was running late and the evening Uptown traffic wasn’t making the time go by any slower. We were instructed that the tour would start in front of the Hearst Tower promptly at 8 p.m. At 8:15, we joined the party.
A woman in colonial costume with a lantern greeted us with a smile despite our tardiness. She was telling a story of how uptown Charlotte used to be home to one of the largest gold mines. Today, the Bank of America building towers over the tunnels that claimed the lives of many, and street maintenance workers claim, those spirits never left. #scaredmoneydon’tmakenomoney
Just when I thought our clubwear — this was the pre-game after all — was drawing too much attention, a drunk passenger hanging out of a car passing by shouted, “Whence we came, yes?” at our tour guide’s colonial garb. Thank goodness for appropriate costume distractions.
Before the heat and pre-departure beer could get to me, we headed off toward the Dunhill Hotel. After making reference to the horror movie 1408, our tour guide began to tell us about the strange occurrences that guests and staff alike have experienced. Described as a boutique hotel destination on the website, I found it interesting that there was no mention of the ghosts that may roam the halls.
Built in 1929, the Dunhill has withstood quite a bit of history, including suicide, homicide and mystery deaths. Many supernatural seekers, including the founders of the tour, have booked a stay hoping to encounter a ghost. When she mentioned the parking deck was also haunted, one of my friends leaned over and whispered, “I’ve definitely slept off the alcohol in my car in that parking deck.”
My cousin was itching to actually see a ghost, but we weren’t allowed to actually go in any of the buildings due to privacy laws. By the time we reached Old Settlers’ Cemetery, I was thankful we hadn’t had to endure any other eerie experiences.
The sun had officially gone down and as we stood out front learning about the historical significance of the cemetery, a couple passing by says, “Don’t go in there. I’m serious. We live here and we don’t go in there.”
I turned to my cousin, who had already pulled out her phone to take pictures and was beaming from ear to ear. Needless to say, by the time we left, everyone was convinced we had seen the orbs of multiple spirits captured by many tourists before. (See the tour’s Facebook page for some of the photos.)
Without divulging the entire tour, I will just say, if you’re one of those that like learning about creepy history, there are many “Nightmares Around Elm Street” right here in the Queen City.
And if you’re looking for a condo, especially in the Fourth Ward area, you will definitely want to learn more about the condo buildings on this tour before you find yourself saying, “I see dead people.” You can schedule a private tour for larger groups during the week or call and reserve a spot for the Friday and Saturday tours. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as the tour is 75 minutes long and you do quite a bit of standing.
Oh and by the way beware of Ri Ra Irish Pub, you may run into a little girl that will disappear right before your eyes...