Spectral cities: Death and living memories in the dark tourism of British ghost walks

Gavin Weston, Justin Woodman, Helen Cornish, Natalie Djohari

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This article explores the role played by ghost walks in imparting and enlivening the histories of cities for tourists. Drawing upon research in York, London, Brighton and Edinburgh the article explores the manner in which the uncanny nature of the topic allows ghost walks to behave differently to other forms of dark tourism or thanatourism (Lennon and Foley 2000, Seaton 1996). Despite dealing with death and tragedy like other forms of dark tourism, the existence of ghosts within narratives allows for tragic history to be narrativised and performed by tour guides in a way that transforms the experience and embeds it within the cityscape anchoring memories and history to particular spaces, even long after a city has changed. Through tales of death the city's history is brought to life, but in a manner that is more entertaining than mournful due to the facilitation of the uncanny nature of ghosts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-51
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2019


  • Dark tourism
  • Ghost walks
  • Ghosts
  • Tourism

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