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Dead and breakfast inns
Halloween is a great time to spend a weekend with things that go bump in the night.
October 31, 2003: 2:36 PM EST
Les Christie, CNN/Money Contributing Writer

New York (CNN/Money) - Old inns often come complete with spirits, of the non-potable variety.

It's the one real estate category that the experts agree benefits from eerie reputations. As a matter of fact, if an atmospheric looking B&B doesn't sport a real scary spook it soon will acquire one, according to self-described ghostbuster Joe Nickell, of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). It's simply good for business.

Nickell says, "I had one proprietor of a struggling bed and breakfast tell me, 'People want a ghost. I have to pay my bills. I'll give them a ghost'."

Here's a sample of small lodging places where you can enjoy a ghostly getaway.

Farnsworth House Inn – Gettysburg, Pa. Sharpshooters occupied this 1810 house during the Battle of Gettysburg. More than one hundred bullet holes still pockmark the premises.

Five of its 11 guest rooms are said to be haunted, and the inn offers story telling and ghost walks.

Rates: $125 to $165

Lizzie Borden Inn – Fall River, Mass. Grab 40 winks where Lizzie Borden gave her mother 40 whacks. Ghost sightings reportedly are common here, the actual house where many believe Lizzie axed both her parents.

Guests are treated to a tour their first night, and breakfasts usually include some of the same foods served to the Borden family that fateful day in 1892.

Rates: From $145.

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Belhurst Castle – Geneva, N.Y. One man died and another lost his mind building the four-story, brick dream house of Carrie Herron Collins, a descendent of Henry Clay.

Turrets, dark paneling, fireplaces -- even a suit of armor -- evoke romantic images of the supernatural. Dozens of guest have seen a woman in white silently standing on the inn's front lawn.

Rates: From $105

The Inn at Merridun – Union, S.C. The owners report that 10 spirits, energy forces, or ghosts share this colonnaded, antebellum building. The spirits include men, women, and children.

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Some guests have been joined in their beds by a spectral white dog.

Rates: Start at $89

The Myrtles Plantation – St Francisville, La. The inn is an antique-filled, veranda-clad 1796 mansion in Louisiana's plantation country that has been featured on the Travel Channel, the History Channel, and the National Geographic Channel.

The Myrtles has a resident ghost named Chloe, a slave who retaliated against her cruel owner by poisoning his wife and daughters. Historical tours are conducted daily and mystery tours run on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Rates: From $115

The Lemp Mansion – St. Louis, Mo. The Lemp family built this home in the 1860s, when they owned the largest brewery in St. Louis. But by the turn of the 20th century the family's fortunes began unraveling. Several family members died under mysterious or tragic circumstances; several committed suicide.

Nowadays, the inn hosts private and public murder mystery events, a shocktoberfest, and Halloween party.

Rates: From $85

Thornewood Castle – Lakewood, Wash. Stephen King's "Rose Red" miniseries was filmed on this gothic-Tudor estate near Tacoma, built in 1911 by seaport magnate Chester Thorne; several guests have spotted the spirit of his late wife.

The inn hosts regular murder mystery nights in which guests can participate in a staged crime, and offers a candle-light castle mystery tour of the house complete with eerie tales told by the proprietor.

Rates: Rooms start at $175.  Top of page

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