BEYOND THE RICKETY MANSION: We're not sure how it started -- Victorian gothic literature, perhaps, or stories from even earlier ages -- but it has settled, most firmly, in our imaginations: Ghosts tend to frequent rickety, cobweb-laden mansions that perch high on hills or can be found at the end of shadowy streets lined in dead trees. The cinema has enhanced this particular mythos, a whole bunch, but, of course, one storyline is never the whole story. Meaning this: Spirit tales tend to pop up all over, and frequently in downtown areas and public places, spots that are regularly used by many people and cannot be described as chilling, in any sense of the word. A few towns around Southern California pause each autumn to explore those local ghosty stories, the spine-pricklers that have grown and flourished over the decades. At the forefront of the phantom tours? Fullerton, which, being quite historic, boasts a bevy of skin-tinglers that guides share each fall. And since fall is fast on approach, phantom fans are readying for another round of tingling skin: The Haunted Walking Tours of Fullerton kick off -- or float off, phantom-like, rather -- on Wednesday, Sept. 17.
BOO! The City of Fullerton Museum, the institution behind the evening strolls, advises "tours book up fast." They're on Wednesdays and Thursdays through Nov. 6, so, no doubt, those spooky spots are limited. Members of the North Orange County Paranormal Society will mingle at a meet-and-greet starting at 5 p.m. on tour days, and then the two-and-a-half-hour walk sets out at 6 p.m. Visited locations may change up over the autumn run, but you may hear wraith-creepy tales of Plummer Auditorium or the California Hotel. For sure, Fullerton has the layers of time going, so the sightings from beyond the veil reach back. And will there be a special Halloween tour? Indeed, even though Oct. 31 falls on a Friday in 2014. For all the eerie info, float this way, wraith seekers.