Chance of a Ghost

To promote the Friday, July 23, opening of their glossy remake of The Haunting, the friendly folks at DreamWorks sent me a copy of Haunted Places: The National Directory (Penguin, 1994), a state-by-state compendium of places where ghosts, aliens, legendary creatures and the like are said to hang out. Perhaps because it's a relatively young urban area, there wasn't much ghostly action attributed by the tome to the Valley. It is dismaying to find that while Bisbee, Flagstaff, Nogales, Jerome and Tombstone, among other towns around the state, have buildings inhabited by ghosts, there are no listings at all for Glendale, Mesa, Chandler or Tempe, and only one--only one--listing for Phoenix.

According to the book, visitors to downtown's beautiful San Carlos Hotel have reported the sight of a white specter of a woman. Legend has it that this is the spirit of a woman named Leone Jensen who took her own life in 1928, after being jilted by her bellhop lover. It's also said that the ghostly laughter of children can be heard at times in the halls, maybe because the hotel was built on the site of the city's first elementary school.

If this just doesn't sate your appetite for the otherworldly, or if you're simply looking for an offbeat vacation, you may want to join Frank Baranowski, Valley maven of the paranormal and host of KTAR's Mysteries Around Us, for Haunted England. Baranowski hosts this tour, which takes in some choice creepy spots in the U.K., in September of this year.

The itinerary actually starts in Scotland, with a visit to Edinburgh Castle to listen for a headless drummer said to play there, and to Rosslyn Chapel to visit the ghosts of monks. From there, the tour checks out haunted spots in York, Glastonbury, Canterbury--to look for the apparition of the murdered Thomas a Becket--Portsmouth, and, of course, Stonehenge, before winding up in London.

Sounds like fun, provided you can swing the $3,284-per-person price tag (based on double occupancy). It includes round-trip airfare on British Airways, accommodations, land transportation, sightseeing, entry fees and a "full English breakfast daily." The triple bypass you'll need after eating a full English breakfast daily for more than two weeks--a diet that could make a ghost out of anybody--is presumably not included.

--M. V. Moorhead

For more information on the "Haunted England and Scotland" tour, call 623-931-1866. The deadline to register is Wednesday, July 28.