If you are visiting Philadelphia and want to explore the darker, seedier side of the city’s history, look no further than the offerings of Grim Philly Twilight Tours. Founded by Professor Joe Wojie, each tour examines history not found in school textbooks.
I took the Cemetery, Serial Killers; Blood & Beer tour on a chilly November afternoon. This is a walking tour which lasts over two hours. Our guide Ted was energetic about the material, very knowledgeable on the subject matter, and handsome. (One reason why I married him).
Ted spoke about five local serial killers, H.H. Holmes, Gary Heidnik, Marie Noe, the Frankford Slasher, and corpse collector Harrison “Marty” Graham. I won’t go into details on the magnitude of their depravity. Take the tour and prepare to be fascinated by the local infamous characters.
We also stopped at Elfreth’s Alley, which is the oldest continually inhabited street in British North America. A very beautiful, historical road, it also has grim elements to its story.
When we explored the Christ Church Burial Ground, Ted turned us over to Bob, a guide with knowledge of the cemetery. He spoke about two notable physicians of the time, Dr. Benjamin Rush and Dr. Philip Syng Physick. Before exiting, we paid our respects to the grave of Benjamin Franklin.
When we stopped at Christ Church, Neil took the reins with an intense talk about the church’s history. The church is beautiful and worth checking out.
The final stop of the tour was 4 Fathers, a tavern located on Market Street. This is where the beer comes in. Patrons who take the tour are entitled to one free beer, and can purchase pub fare to compliment the ale. I recommend the cheese fries.
If you want to take a tour that delves into the uncensored, unsavory side of Philadelphia history, and is not suitable for children, Grim Philly offers just the thing. For more information on their other tours, or to make a reservation, click here.