Note: As of January 1, 2012, the Vampire Tours have since closed. The website is still active and there are plans to recreate this wonderful trek as an online virtual tour.
San Francisco by all accounts is a great city
for tourism. You can check out Fisherman's Wharf and have some
awesome chowder and amazing sour dough bread while checking out
a two-headed calf at Ripley's Believe it or Not. Why not jump
on a boat and visit "The Rock". Not the professional
wrestler but Alcatraz Island and see why crime doesn't pay. Let's
see...there's the Golden Gate Bridge... or the cable cars...or
that really crooked street. Or maybe you can go to Union Square
and drop some serious cash at Saks, Macy's or Tiffany's. Then
there's the Vampire Tour.
Yes, it's true. A Vampire Tour in San Francisco.
Bet you didn't know there was an undead side to the City by the
Mina Harker (aka Kitty Burns) dons the Cape every
weekend to thrill visitors to this spooky side of San Francisco.
Club Haunt caught up with her to give you the lowdown on this
Club Haunt: When
did you get bit (no pun intended) by the vampire bug?
Mina Harker: I
got the idea for the tour when I took the Vampire Tour in New
Orleans. I was there on business, and one of our events was the
Vampire Tour by Haunted History Tours. As I listened to the guide,
I kept thinking, "Why isn't anybody doing this in San Francisco?"
Finally I decided that I should do it.
CH: What sparked
the idea to give Vampire Tours around Nob Hill?
MH: I picked Nob
Hill for a couple of reasons. For one, it's a safe area, and I
wanted to feel safe walking around at night. Also, I wanted the
tourists and locals to feel safe and comfortable too. I also picked
it for another reason. I think having a Vampire Tour in a beautiful
area of town that has a high class reputation adds to the humor
of the tour.
CH: Do you have
a favorite part of the tour?
MH: I don't really
have a favorite stop, if that's what you mean. My favorite part
of the tour is the audience. I love watching their reactions to
certain parts of the script.
CH: Do you have
a part you don't like?
MH: Bad weather
is the only draw back. I don't do the tour in the rain.
CH: How long have
you been giving tours?
MH: I started the
tour on June 1, 2001. This is the first tour I've ever conducted.
CH: What's your
busiest time of year? I assume it's Halloween.
MH: Yes, Halloween
is definitely my busiest time of year! This past year, from October
17 through November 2, there was only 1 Sunday night that I didn't
have a tour. (I normally conduct them on Friday and Saturday nights,
but I do private tours any other night of the week or on weekend
CH: What kind of
info do you talk about on the tour? Can you give us a sampling?
MH: I tell the history
of each of the stops, and how Vampires played a role in that history.
80% of what I say is true documented history. (The other 20%?
You're just going to have to take my word for it.) I talk about
the underground tunnels beneath Nob Hill, which is where the Vampire
Community resides. I point out one particular tunnel, which goes
from underneath the Pacific-Union Club to a house across the street.
This was built for James Flood, who used to live in the house
that the club is in (The Flood Mansion). The house the tunnel
goes to is where his mistress used to live.
CH: What other facts
do you divulge?
MH: I talk about
Emperor Norton, The Big Four, the history of each of the stops,
the removal of the cemetaries in the City, to name a few.
CH: Any "Urban
Legends" thrown in for good measure?
MH: There are no
"urban legends" because I couldn't find any about that
area. If you know of some, I'd love to hear them! They'd be great
to add into the script!
CH: I know your
an Administrative Assistant by day and a vamp by night (at least
on the weekends). What else can you tell us about Mina's alter
MH: Mina's alter
ego is Kitty Burns. I'm a playwright and have had 4 plays published
by Samuel French. I've been writing for 12 years, and have countless
ideas for future scripts. I just was asked by The Learning Annex
to write a Vampire Tour for New York. I finished it in December,
and that tour opens on May 5!
The San Francisco Vampire Tours are held Friday
and Saturday nights from 8-10pm at the corner of California and
Taylor streets in San Francisco. For more information go to sfvampiretour.com
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