Step into Colonial America’s Haunted Past
Philadelphia is an old city with a rich past. Many know iconic Philly for its role in America’s early government or its famous Art Museum steps from the Rocky movies. Or, perhaps you may know Philadelphia for its famous Eastern State Penitentiary – the world’s first true penitentiary system, once home to notorious mobster Al Capone, whose ghost is often seen in the hallways.
Philadelphia is undoubtedly a haunted city with hundreds of years of ghastly stories. Behind the narrow streets and old brick buildings lays an eerie past of paranormal sightings, gruesome accidents, and untimely deaths. Benjamin Franklin is claimed never to have truly left the city, roaming the old streets and buildings, with several accounts of one of the statues of him even coming to life and dancing in the streets. Other famous figures still lingering on the cobblestone roads include Betsy Ross, Edgar Allan Poe, and Alexander Hamilton. These prominent figures shaped the nation we live in today but paid the ultimate price: wandering the city forever as a doomed, lost soul.
Our tour will take you through Philadelphia’s Old City – home to some of America’s oldest and most haunted buildings, roads, and monuments. Our stories are based on historical events, local legends, and eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity. We’ve reviewed historical records and research for each of the stops on our tour for evidence of hauntings and spirits, and we strive to bring you the most accurate and up-to-date information about Philadelphia’s past and its haunted present. Visit our About Us page to learn more about Philly’s history and why our tour is the best!
What draws the supernatural to Philadelphia?
Philadelphia’s bloody past has left behind some spirits who would like a different ending to their life story. Whether it was the Revolutionary War or The Yellow Fever that took their lives, the ghosts around Old City, Philadelphia, are doomed to repeat their tragic past as they continue to haunt the cobblestone streets. The concentration of human energy here and the passionate figures you will hear about have all poured endless amounts of human energy into this city. These are just a few of Philadelphia’s special features that make it a perfect setting for ghosts to prowl the streets.
In 1681, William Penn sailed from England, arrived here, and set out Philadelphia’s city grid on the Delaware River’s West bank. This was the start of what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Later, in 1790, after the Revolutionary War, Philadelphia served as the United States’ capital, and many prominent American figures such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Alexander Hamilton wrestled the country into being and onto its feet. It is said the ghosts of America’s most prominent founding fathers can be seen all across Philadelphia: from lingering at Independence Hall, lurking in the many graveyards here, even dancing in the street! The founding fathers have a special relationship with Philadelphia, a city to which they gave so much of their heart and soul, that they still wander the city they worked so hard to build.
In 1793, Philadelphia was literally decimated by a Yellow Fever epidemic, which took about 5,000 of Philadelphia’s 50,000 residents. The Fever was carried to Philadelphia in mosquitoes, which bred in the stagnant, stenching streams that ran through residential backyards. These streams were dumping grounds for human and animal waste, and the pandemic grew, devastating the city for two years. Bodies were dumped into mass graves which pockmarked this previously blooming city, now stalled by the pandemic. Many families abandoned the city due to the Yellow Fever. Still, many prominent doctors remained behind to help care for the sick, many at the nation’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, on Pine and 9th streets. With the stench of death still lingering in these old houses, many ghost sightings have occurred in the old colonial homes where many infamous doctors and patients lost their lives to the disease. Many of these same homes survive in the Old City today, including Elfreths Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited road in America.
Philadelphia is riddled with many cemeteries and graveyards carrying both prominent and forgotten figures alike. Back in the late 1700s, when death was occurring nonstop due to the War and then the Yellow Fever, many public spaces were dug up as mass graves for the unwanted to be tossed aside.
The bodies buried in mass graves were commonly referred to as “strangers” to the city at the time – African Americans, suicide victims, prisoners of war, and victims of smallpox. These forgotten bodies like to make a name for themselves now by leaving the grave at night and haunting the town! In addition to these mass grave sites, Philadelphia is home to some of the first churches in the country, all accompanied by cemeteries with their fair share of ghost sightings. From Naval captains to first wives to Native American chiefs, these active cemeteries are sure to give you a chill as you walk their grounds.
There’s no doubt Philadelphia’s rich history plays host to dark paranormal forces, some of which we hope you’ll encounter on our tour! Book your tour today to experience all the thrills, chills, and fun Philadelphia has to offer!
Location, Tickets & Parking
Your tour through Philadelphia’s historic Old City area takes you to some of the city’s most haunted locations. Learn the truth behind Philadelphia’s ghost-filled history as your guide introduces you to some of the city’s most chilling legends and mysteries!
All tours meet in front of the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” monument located in Washington Square at 217 W Washington Square. The monument is just to the west of the square’s center and features a statue of George Washington in front of a concrete wall inscribed with writing.
Duration and Distance:
- Standard Tour: Approximately 60 minutes and 1 mile walking. Standard tours include eight stops.
- Extended Tour: Approximately 90 minutes and 1.6 miles total. Extended tours include an additional four stops, making twelve stops total.
Both the standard and extended tour begin and end at Washington Square.
Tour times and availability vary, click the ‘Buy Now’ button to see current times and availability.
Please aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow for traffic and parking limitations.
There are several paid public parking garages near the meeting location.
- Washington Square Garage – 249 S 6th St
- Bourse Garage – 400 Ranstead St. (www.parkchirp.com)
- Parkway – 100 S Independence Mall W (www.parkwaycorp.com)
Tickets must be purchased in advance on this site. You do NOT need to print your ticket or have access to a mobile pass. Once you have completed your reservation online, you will be automatically added to the admissions list. Simply bring your ID to verify your reservation! You must attend the tour for the date and time of your purchase. Rescheduling may be done upon approval and may be subject to a rescheduling fee.
We also provide group tours for large or private parties. Please visit our Group Tour page for more information.
Why Take This Tour?
You want to see ghosts!
Our tour is for skeptics and dedicated believers alike! While we can’t guarantee you’ll witness an apparition, what we can guarantee is that you’ll get plenty of thrills and chills on your tour. Many of the stops on our tour are spooky in broad daylight, but at night they become even more disturbing. Add in your guide’s narration of the deaths, sickness, duels, and other violent acts, and you’ve got a mix guaranteed to scare even the most seasoned ghost hunters. The stories of hauntings we tell at each stop on your tour are based on eyewitness accounts and long-lived local legends, and many of the sites boast decades of reported paranormal activity. We encourage you to take photos throughout your tour and to report any anomalies you witness!
You want to learn more about Philadelphia!
Whether you’re a lifelong resident of the City of Brotherly Love, or just in town to learn about its deep history, everyone can learn more about Philadelphia’s past! Do you know the real reason why the Liberty Bell is cracked? Or why one statue of Benjamin Franklin is dressed in a toga? Haunted Philadelphia combines factual, historical data about the city with local sightings and legends to bring you a tour that’s as fun as it is educational. Kids, teens, and adults alike will enjoy becoming more familiar with Philadelphia’s detailed history—and its resident ghosts!
You’ve done all the other tourist-y things around town!
You’ve seen the Liberty Bell up close, toured the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and maybe you’ve even ridden around on one of those double-decker buses. Just when you think you’ve seen all the historic sites Philadelphia has to offer, think again! Our tours are a perfect change of pace from the more conventional attractions. Stand in front of the actual locations where ghosts lurk and history was made. Experience 8 or 12 different historical locations that have verified accounts of hauntings too! You’ll leave your tour with a host of scary stories to thrill your friends back home as well as a better familiarity with some of Philadelphia’s most prominent buildings and figures.
You want to do something at night but aren’t sure what!
Maybe you want a fun follow-up to an evening of hopping around Philadelphia’s many restaurants and bars, or perhaps you’re looking to impress a date with something unusual. That’s where we come in! Our tours are scheduled at night to fit everyone’s schedule, even on weekdays, tours last around an hour and a half—the perfect way to wrap up a date, a night on the town, or a long day of sight-seeing. See our Tour Details page for more information about the length, duration, and location of Philly Ghosts tours.
You want an unforgettable birthday, bachelor/bachelorette party, or family outing!
Philly Ghosts offers customizable group tours to those looking for the perfect way to spend time with family and friends! Our team of informative guides can help you plan the perfect group tour. We can even work with you to tailor your tour according to your specific interests and needs. Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll work with you to help make it happen! Check out our Group Tours page for more information.
You don’t like conventional tours!
Have you tried other guided tours of Philadelphia before and found yourself trudging behind an unenthusiastic guide who mumbled a few facts and dates before herding his flock to the next stop? Fear not! Philly Ghosts is anything but a conventional tour. Our guides are fun, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and committed to making sure you have the best tour possible. We want you to ask questions, get involved, and enjoy your tour! And, unlike a conventional tour, our tours are designed with entertainment in mind. The stories we tell on our tours are based on research and historical data, but we don’t let that stop us from having fun! We have carefully crafted our narratives to blend entertainment with factual data and evidence of the paranormal, bringing you the best of the best. We also visit unique locations throughout Old City Philadelphia that other tours ignore, making this tour stand out from the crowd.
You want to be a cool boss!
What better way to build team unity than to take your employees out for a group ghost tour? Philly Ghosts has a little of something for everyone—scary stories for the thrill-seekers, research-based history for the scholars, and fun for everyone! Check out our Group Tours page for information on how to start putting together the best company outing your employees have ever attended!
You’re tired of cheesesteaks!
Philadelphia has quite the foodie scene, but maybe you’ve had enough cheesesteaks from Pat’s or Geno’s for a lifetime! If you want to take a break from showing your friends how to order a cheesesteak “whiz wit,” then try a ghost tour instead! Or, perhaps you’ve over-indulged on those cheesesteaks and are looking for a way to walk it off. Philly Ghosts takes you on an easy route and will entertain and delight while enjoying the city’s cool weather and beautiful historic buildings and tree-lined streets.
Convinced yet? Book your tour today!Get Tickets