China offers an unusual tour called Newman Tours, the only English-language excursion for people wanting to explore Beijing’s eerie side.
Beijing’s spooky side
“We introduce [tourists] to all of the local ghost stories and folklore and try to scare them a bit while we’re at it,” says Daniel Newman, managing director of Newman Tours.
China’s capital has a rich history of spooky stories, which mostly involve imperial intrigue and traditional superstitions.
Guide Christopher Pegg starts the evening tour from the Beihai metro station, leading tourists through two dozen stops in the winding hutongs, narrow, maze-like alleys, near Houhai Lake and around Prince Gong’s Mansion for two hours of fright and fun.
Perfect place for scary tales and activities
Traditional hutong homes and Prince Gong’s mansion are the perfect place for bone-chilling stories. The restored historic site may look cheery during the day with its gardens and bright colors, but it has a dark back story, says Pegg.
Tourists can learn about the twisted past of the Ming Dynasty’s most notorious Emperor Yongle, and other horror tales from Imperial China’s cruel leaders.
The most interesting part of the tour is the opportunity to communicate with Beijing’s spirits and even marry them.
Pegg performs ghost weddings, a tradition in China that allows unmarried spirits to marry the living.
Other activities of the tour include burning money for ancestors to use in the afterlife.