Five years ago I stood in the foyer of a 1900’s house in Asbury Park as the “celebrity medium” invited to the home said very specifically that a relative I never met was standing near me.  It was super-thrilling.

Skeptics, please hold your jokes (but email them to me).  At a minimum it was fun and ultimately the medium’s insights made me very happy.

Last week, I kicked off the spirited season with Paranormal Books’ Ghosts and Legends downtown walking tour.  I love anything and everything Kathy Kelly, the store’s owner does, especially these walking tours where intrigue meets history for almost two hours.  I promise you will never walk down Lake Avenue the same way again.

I spoke with Kelly, author of “Asbury Park Ghosts and Legends,” about the tours and the ghostly season that is upon us.

Ghost fans line up for Paranormal Books Ghosts and Legends tour of downtown Asbury Park.

TBP:  Why is this area such a great place for spirit spotting?

Kelly:   Spirits seem to be created by emotion and this is an area that has seen its fair share of happy times and unrest. There may also be natural causes as well, such a proximity to water and quartz.  I lean towards the history reason however.

TBP:  People regularly stop you on the street to tell you their personal stories of the supernatural.

Kelly:  A really interesting story that two separate people recently shared concerns the boardwalk and a spirit walking from the boardwalk onto the beach.

One woman described what she saw as an African American man in a naval uniform.  She said he glided through the crowd with no one looking at him and she felt a terrible sadness.  Her girlfriend saw him too.  The interesting thing is that a month before these women shared their story, a man came into the store after having a strange encounter in the exact same spot on the boardwalk.  He described the sighting as more of a shadow and not a full-formed image.  Very, very intriguing.

TBP:  What is the most “haunted” building in Asbury Park?

Kelly:  Lots of the buildings in town feel creepy and scary but Asbury Park has a few streets, believe it or not, that have more hauntings than others.  If a visitor comes in to the store and starts to tell me about a paranormal experience they had in their home, I always ask them if they live on Fourth Avenue or Seventh Avenue.  Many, many of the stories come from those two streets.  By the way, one of my favorite haunted locations is Asbury Lanes which is of course, on Fourth Avenue.

TBP:  Your tours are part history part spooky. What makes a good ghost tour for Halloween?

Kelly:  I think people are geared up and ready for good story telling around Halloween and that kind of energy just makes the tours extra fun and exciting.

This year, we are changing the tours up a little the week immediately before Halloween and adding a theatrical component.  We are calling the tours the Paranormal Experience and it is kind of like an outdoor haunted house.  An old fashioned ghostly one.  No maniacs chasing anyone with a chainsaw – I like to think of it as a time release scare.

We have a lot going on during October, including the “experiences” as well as the regular walking tours.  We also have a Ghost Hunt, Nightmare Halloween Ball and a séance.  Lots of fun to get you in the spirit.

ParanormalBooksNJ.com has more info.