Ghost tours

Tim Resser mixes history lessons in his ghost tours of Lancaster, Strasburg and Philadelphia. 

Even with the weather outside frightful, it is not too soon to start thinking about outdoor activities.

One that is unique and good for friends or relatives visiting the area is a walking tour of Lancaster, Strasburg or Philadelphia.

A warning, though, this walk can be a bit creepy. It is a ghost tour.

Tim Reeser, manager of Ghost Tours of Lancaster, and his wife, Eileen, started doing area ghost tours in Strasburg in 1997. With the Strasburg Rail Road and plenty of other tourist activity, this town provides many options, Reeser said.

He noted the area is strong for paranormal goings-on. There’s the Funk house and the cemetery and great stories.

In 2003, Ghost Tours opened business in downtown Lancaster, an area loaded with spirited tales, from American Indians massacred by the Paxton Boys, to Civil War soldiers still lingering on a city street, to sightings of two ghosts near the Saint James Episcopal Church cemetery and activity on Water Street of the spiritual kind.

“Lancaster has some of the best history, next to Philadelphia,” Tim Reeser said. “We have some great history that ties into American history. It goes back 300 years.”

There are nightly tours that last about 1 hour, 15 minutes from May to October and weekends the rest of the year, weather permitting (they rarely get rained out).

In January, there were a few tours early in the month, but the weather has not cooperated since then. In Philadelphia, tours have run the majority of weekends, Tim Reeser said.

Tours may consist of as few as two people and as many as 25.

The Reesers started doing ghost tours in Cape May, N.J., and Eileen Reeser was the guide. They operated the haunted tours, which still exist at the beach town, from 1996-99.

The couple, who now live in Morgantown, wanted to move back to Pennsylvania. When their business started, ghost tours were not common. In 1997, tourism in downtown Lancaster was not as popular as it is today, Tim Reeser said. The outlook for the city slowly changed.

“It took a 180-degree turn,” he said about the perception of the city. “We had the convention center, business and people in the town. It gave people a nice option for something to do in the evening. It is a nice match with the area restaurants.”

Tim Reeser said there is a lot of documentation on the stories they tell. They use newspapers, books and some tales that are passed down. They’ve used newsletters from the Lancaster County Historical Society.

If the Reesers hear that something is haunted, they interview people, do research and find out if a tragedy or accident occurred. Their busy time is summer and October with Halloween.

Ghost Tours also offer ghost hunting regularly in Strasburg and occasionally in Lancaster. There are package deals with Lancaster and Philadelphia tours. School groups often book tours because of the history lesson.

If you go:

Ghost Tours of Lancaster and Strasbrug: $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 4-12.

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia: $17 for adults, $10 for children ages 4-12.

Call for appointment at 687-6687 or see

Eric G. Stark is a Lancaster Newspapers staff writer, travel and TV Weekly editor who writes a weekly TV and radio column. He also writes entertainment stories and covers sports. Stark does page design for Penn State Extra and hosts weekly sports video shows on LancasterOnline. He can be reached at or (717) 295-5064. You can also follow @EricGStark on Twitter.