Known to family and friends as “the sweetest psycho you’ll ever meet,” I am an avid dark tourist, meaning I love to take advantage of twisted attractions. Some of my favorite expeditions have been The Museum of Death, Jonestown, the grave site of Edgar Allan Poe, and the abducted children of Disney’s “It’s a Small World Ride.” From serial killers to mass suicide to cannibalism, I have an interest in the macabre and am always on the lookout for places to go.
Maryland is know for its delicious crab cakes and strong athletic teams, but many do not realize that ravens are infamous in Baltimore for more than being a football team. The man, the myth, the legend, Edgar Allan Poe himself is buried in the bustling heart of Baltimore! There is a memorial for him, his wife, and her mother at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Poets flock to this spot, hoping to gain some insight from the tortured artist, even from the grave.
St. Augustine was founded during the Spanish Inquisition, believed to be home to The Fountain of Youth. Though the fountain is more of a bust, St. Augustine houses some of the richest history in the US! Here I am at the Old Jail, founded in 1981. Obviously, I am taking the experience very seriously.
Basically, I am a regular at The Museum of Death in New Orleans. Having visited several times, I cannot get over the oddities within these walls. For a small museum, it packs a punch and leaves a lasting impact.
PSA: New Orleans also has amazing ghost tours (I take one in every city I visit, but New Orleans has the most in-depth) as well as a recent murder site you can visit! Jake and Addy were a couple who did not survive the after effects of Hurricane Katrina. Jake ended up killing and dismembering Addy in their shared apartment before ending his own life. Guess who could not wait to go check out the place where Addy died? This girl!
Visiting the Columbine Memorial was without a doubt my most emotional dark tourist experience yet. Seeing the aftermath of such profound tragedy was deeply haunting. The memorial garden is breathtaking and well-worth a visit. Just be prepared for some tears. A huge lesson I have learned as a dark tourist, is no matter how interested you might be in a place, respect and empathy always take precedent.
JonBenet Ramsey is arguably the most discussed murder case in American history. Here I am at her family home in Boulder, where she was cruelly murdered in 1996. The person who killed her remains a mystery, but from the murder site in Colorado to her grave in Georgia, I am undeniably invested in her ominous story.
Poor honest Abe. Here he and I are at Ford’s Theatre together! All facetiousness aside, Ford’s Theatre is an absolute gem in D.C. The tour is free and quite extensive. You are taken through the theater Lincoln was shot in, and across the street to the boarding house he passed away in. D.C. is full of great dark tourist spots such as Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and various war memorials. Though I enjoyed all of the above, Ford’s Theatre was my favorite D.C. attraction.