© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. Mommy, I want a cookie . . . a FLESH COOKIE!

139/365 – Ghost Tour

I’m in San Francisco!  With Patrick.  He give San Fran his blessing!

Ah, San Francisco; home of a big red bridge and lots of homosexuals and beards and early 20th century architecture and hills and my brother.   A lot of that is redundant . . . Honestly,thought, San Francisco may be the greatest city in the US.  Really.  No – seriously.  Get off my back, New Yorkers.  Please!  Even Chicago, my second home, isn’t giving me grief.  New Yorkers, for crying out loud, get a hold of yourself.

This guy knows what I’m talking about . . . right? High five! No . . . okay . . .

If I were to use one word to describe San Fran it would be quaint.  It really is.  Where Chicago does it’s best to tear down old buildings and erect modern condos, San Francisco seems to tirelessly preserve its style.  In fact, it seems they do their best to not only preserve but to restore – so much Victorian decor that I’m seeing residual red flashes all over.  (Victorians loved the color red, I guess.)

You can't tell, but this is one of San Fran's fanciest hotels.  See the bed . . . plush, huh?

The one thing I’ve been so excited to do is partake in the San Francisco Ghost Hunt!  When Megan visited San Fran for the a Comedy Festival, she went on this walking ghost tour.  When she got back to Chicago, she was all up in arms.  It wasn’t that she felt the tour was bad – quite opposite.  It was amazing.  It was because we went on a Chicago ghost tour a few years before and it was the biggest rip off.  It almost ruined us on ghost tours.  The San Fran tour was so good, that the Chicago one felt like we’d been dragged through a pile of ghost poop . . . minus the ghosts.

Wait, this is ghost poop? Well, then diarrhea away!

The Chicago tour was led by Richard T. Crowe who claims he is the pre-emminent Chicago ghost expert.  Here’s what he says about himself on his website:

Mr. Crowe, the Midwest’s original full-time professional Ghosthunter, has devoted himself to uncovering Chicago’s rich history of hauntings, ghosts and other supernatural phenomena.  He pioneered the use of luxury busses and sightseeing boats to include the public on his adventures into the supernatural so you can come a long and have as much fun as he has.

This “pioneering” of busses is really just a way for him to sit his lazy ass in a seat and do nothing as he spouts his ultra conservative agenda.  Mr. Crowe is only a full-time professional at eating Billy Goat Tavern burgers and fries.  He’s a 500lb tub of Crisco who was clearly paid off by Chicago businesses to guide the tour by their shops.

I’m afraid there will be no ghosts on the tour tonight . . . I ate them all.

The tour was basically a mish-mash of political and socially motivated rants interspersed with unorganized mentions of Chicago Ghosts.    Most of the tops were clear kickbacks given to Mr. Crowe by local businesses as they had nothing to do with ghosts.  Going to the Billy Goat Tavern and mentioning the Cubs Curse is not a ghost story.  Going to a China town trinket store and mentioning red is a luck color to the Chinese is not a ghost story.  Driving by a cemetery is not a ghost story.  When we did stop to get off the bus, he’d stay in the bus.  He couldn’t bother to be an actual tour guide.  You know, one who interacts with the tourists and answered questions.  Nope.  he’d rather stuff his gullet in the bus then tell us where we should be looking for ghosts.

On the other side of that fence a person did something and something else, blah blah . . boo — WHO’S HUNGRY?

On his website (Which, by the way, is one of the poorest designed websites I’ve ever seen – it’s straight form 1991 and is a migraine of flashing neon greens and reds.  Awful.) . . . anyway, on his website he has a Better Business Bureau Consumer Alert Rating – obviously put in place in defense of negative reviews.  (He has a one star rating on Yelp)  In this “alert” he claims that his tour is so great because it saves people 25 dollars in parking fees.  Then he pretty much admits that he’s getting kickbacks from local businesses with this disclaimer —

Richard T. Crowe (d.b.a. The Chicago Supernatural Tours and Crusies) is a long-time member of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and many other professional organizations.

I.E. – he has a vested interest in getting his tour to stop at unrelated sites — like Chinatown which had absolutely nothing to do with ghosts.  Then, to compensate for his complete lack of interactivity and actual ghost strories, he vomits opinions on the bus intercom that include:

  • Oprah is a terrorist.
  • Dogs pee on the Oprah sign.
  • Chicago held the record for the longest free fall of a human . . . till 9/11 (he seemed upset that we lost it).
  • The democratic party is to blame for everything.
  • And countless other wacko views.
Oh, no. Oprah’s got a puppy bomb! Get out!

This was a ghost tour . . . and we didn’t get anything close to that.  You could feel the tension in the whole bus towards the end – especially when we took a 40 minute detour to drive by Resurrection Cemetery where we could look at it’s wall.  Ugh.  And the kicker (if I recall correctly) was that the tour cost 65 bucks a person.  RIP OFF!

Now, San Francisco’s ghost tour . . . a 3 hour walking tour with guide Jim Fassbinder – a throughly entertaining man who even comes dressed in period clothes.  He starts you off in the historic Queen Ann Hotel where he revels you in his hoistopry and what we shoudl expect on the tour.  He let’s un enter a haunted hotel room on the fourth floor.  Creepier than the room was this fraking doll on teh fourth floor.  That will give me nightmares.

Mommy, I want a cookie . . . a FLESH COOKIE!

Walking along San Francisco’s hilly streets, he tells you detailed stories of ghosts by the light of his lantern.  He shows you a key that may be the last thing a poor San Franciscan held as she was stabbed to death by her cousin . . . and then he makes it turn on it’s own!   He says, repeatedly, that he’s only there to report what he knows, not make believers or non-believers.  He just wants people to have fun.  He even sent us to a haunted bar when the tour was over . . and the beer was spooooooky . . .

That isn't Pat's classmate, Adam. That's a freaking ghost, y'all! After 6 beers anyone can be a ghost.

The fact is, this tour really is fun and definitely worth the 20 dollars.  Yes.  I wrote 2o dollars . . . TWENTY BUCKS gets you an awesome adventure, complete with ghost tricks!  Ghost tricks!  The only trick Mr. Crowe did was to get out of his seat to collect his 65 bucks.

Bring my money and my concubines. I am the ghost king!

 

So, while Patrick and I visited a lot of San Fran hot spots today – The Height, Kidrobot, Twin Peaks . . . this tour was the highlight and reminded me all too well how corrupt and unprofessional Mr. Crowe’s tour is.

I'm Casper and I endorse Jim Fassbinder for The Ghost Tour Aficionado Award.

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