The Suicide Hearse

My wife and I dig Ghost Tours even though neither of us has ever seen anything in the least supernatural. We like enthusiastic tour guides, especially those playing costumed characters with conviction. We’ve ghost-toured in lots of cities such as New Orleans, Nashville, Boston, Edinburgh, and Inverness.

Savannah claims to be the most haunted city in America. A slew of websites say it’s pretty darn haunted, which is a recommendation. So, last week when we visited Savannah with family, we weren’t leaving town until we enjoyed a ghost tour.

A ghost tour in a hearse. Cool!

Along with my wife’s brother and his wife, we stood on the curb at 10:00 p.m. when the hearse pulled up as scheduled. The guide was friendly, although he looked kind of like he’d driven there straight from rehab. He wore jeans and a t-shirt, so a costumed character performance was out.

The tour folks had cut windows into the sides of the hearse and mounted eight seats where the dead people used to go. The plastic seats could have come straight from an elementary school cafeteria and were mounted on posts. They bobbled around like one of those coin-op rocket ships in front of a grocery store. We did have seat cushions. Well, we had large-ish kitchen hot pads laying on the seats. Safety clearly came first, since we had seat belts—three straps bolted to various spots on the floor. No two straps matched up to create a full belt.

If we had been t-boned, we’d have hurtled around like seeds in a cantaloupe dropped off the Tower of Pisa by Galileo.

This could all have been very bad. However, my wife and I arrived looking for reasons to be entertained. The tour provided a quite modest number of reasons to be entertained, so it’s good that we jumped on and rode them like they were Secretariat.

Our guide stopped at The Pirate House, disembarked, and stuck on a Halloween costume pirate hat. Then he gave us ten minutes of readings from Treasure Island and some ghost stories, throwing in a little Pirates of the Caribbean accent one out of every five words.

That was not the highlight of the tour. But it was close. He was enthusiastic. We were entertained. We found reasons.

After another hour of riding around listening to ghost stories, we reached the highlight of the tour. We stopped to visit a windowless concrete block building that housed a little collection of curiosities. I mean spliced-together mermaid skeletons, creepy newspaper clippings, a stuffed river otter, and so on.

The tour highlight: a two-headed turtle, an albino raccoon, and a picture of the Sacred Hairy Family of Burma, all right next to one another. Entertained. Reasons. Ride them like the wind.

I mean, they already had our money.

The Tokyo Hearse, complete with Buddhist temple. (from Dark Dissolution, http://darkdissolution.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html)

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