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April Featured Tour Guide

Tour Guide – Esra Wander

Hey guys! Welcome back to our blog! We are happy to be back in business after COVID-19.

Each month we will be featuring one of our tour guides, highlighting some of their talents and experiences.
As a Houston Ghost Tour Guide, our team members spend a great deal of time honing their skills in storytelling and the art of makeup and costuming. Though our tours are historically based, we want our guests to experience an entertaining stroll through town, so our guides make a special effort to look and sound great to be more interesting and fun while giving the tour.

This month we spoke with tour guide Esra, and she has shared her insight into what it’s like for her being a Houston Ghost Tour Guide. Check it out!

a person talking on a cell phone

  1. How long have you been a tour guide?
    1. Almost a year now; I began with HGT in September 2019.
  2. Have you ever had a scary experience or seen a ghost while giving a tour?
    1. One night while telling the story of Thyme square, a guest started panicking and pointing behind me, saying “that wasn’t there when we walked in!” over and over. I wrapped up the story and ushered the rest of the group to go explore/take pictures while I tried to figure out what had this particular guest so out of sorts. She kept pointing to a picnic table behind us, and when I looked closer, there was a shoe sitting on the table. Had it been there the whole time? No idea, but hey, if I found the other shoe somewhere, free shoes! So I started poking around trying to find its match. Unfortunately, I had no luck, but I figured I’d check the shoe size on the one I did have, y’know, to see how disappointed I should be on having to pass on a pair of possibly haunted shoes. Wouldn’t you know it, the shoes were my exact size (for anyone who’s curious, that’s a 7.5 wide, which is very difficult to find, especially in heels). I put it to a group vote on whether we should leave the shoe or take it, and the group voted to leave it (I think the fact I wanted to keep it as a souvenir is proof I wouldn’t survive a horror movie). A week later, I’m leading a new group through Thyme square, and I decide it would be fun to recount what happened the previous week to these new guests. While I’m telling the group about this mysterious shoe, a little girl walks over to the picnic table, and suddenly shouts, “I see where it was!” It had been raining the past week, but when I walked over to see, there was a perfectly dry patch on the table where the toe and heel of the shoe had been sitting a full seven days ago. …I’m still a bit sad I didn’t pick up the shoe originally. It would have been great to add to my “weird things I’ve found on tour” collection.
  3. Which story is your favorite to tell?
    1. I love telling the history of Puffabelly! With smaller groups, we’re able to sit right on the restaurant’s front porch, and the train passing by just adds to the spooky ambiance.
  4. What is your favorite tour to date? Tell us a bit about what happened to make it your favorite.
    1. To be honest, I don’t think I have a favorite tour, just lots of fun snapshots of my time as Esra. Like the night I accidentally scared five teenagers and made them run off into the woods (I’m still surprised my photo wasn’t floating around Twitter as “ghost girl sighted”). Or the night I had the most curious, inquisitive and kind kids take my Tomball tour. Or the day where five adults merrily opted to play a game of ring around the rosie with one of my favorite residents of Old Town Spring (and no one ever wants to play ring around the rosie). Or the night I had a young boy who was the biggest Scooby Doo fan proudly exclaim he was going to catch us a ghost for his birthday. There’s so many unique, fun moments on nearly every tour, and I treasure them all.

  5. What is the craziest thing you have ever done while on the tour?
    1. I’ve yelled at a train several times. Pretty sure the locomotive in Old Town Spring is determined to go through the town right when I get to the spooky parts of my stories.
  6. How did you come up with the name Esra?
    1. When I was considering how I wanted my tours to be, I kept coming back to the idea of an ageless, possibly immortal woman who wandered the world collecting stories and sharing them with anyone who’d care to listen. So, originally, I was going to go with “Wander”. But I figured that was just a bit too on the nose even for me, so I started looking through names that meant something similar, and I stumbled on the name “Esra”. Technically, it means helper—which I find fitting because I tend to see Esra as someone who helps to see the wonder in both history and the supernatural—but I kept “Wander” as her last name if anyone asks.

a group of people standing in front of a building

  1. What is your favorite part about being a tour guide?
    1. Encouraging people to have a little fun! Sometimes people are a little nervous to participate or explore, and it’s a lot of fun to help encourage a little adventure; nothing makes me happier than seeing people open up and smiling by the end of the tour!
  2. Would you like to tell us anything else about yourself or the tours?
    1. I get a lot of questions about whether or not our tours are scary or appropriate for kids. Esra may be a bit spooky, but she does her best to have you laughing just as often as she’s got you quaking. Plus our guides are really wonderful about checking in with all their guests—if anyone notices someone’s a little (or a lot) spooked, we may back off on gory details or offer to keep them company while others run off for spooky pictures, for example. So, in short, we’re spooky, but definitely fun for the whole family!

You can see Esra’s tour by requesting her in Tomball or Old Town Spring. Once you book your ticket for one of our tours, simply email or call us, or use the form on the contact page and tell us you want to request Esra as your tour guide!