Outside the box: Tour explores Nob Hill vampire lore

Mortals looking for an alternative to a traditional New Year’s Eve can spend it with a vampire, hearing ghoulish and blood-curdling tales of ghosts haunting some of The City’s most iconic sights, such as Grace Cathedral, the Fairmont Hotel and the Pacific-Union Club.

Mina Harker, the female protagonist from the original “Dracula,” will lead a Drac Pack tour of 30 guests to six possibly cursed Nob Hill landmarks during her special New Year’s Eve vampire tour.

Harker is portrayed by playwright Kitty Burns, who first stuck her teeth into the neighborhood’s history more than eight years ago when she launched the first Drac Pack in The City after seeing something similar in New Orleans. Since then, her tours have grown to consist of more than 90 guests at a time, often dressed like Dracula.

“It’s not bloody or gory or scary. I want to make that clear,” Burns said. “I always say it’s 85 percent true history and the rest, well you can just take my word for it.”

Burns doesn’t lack conviction in her beliefs about Nob Hill’s spirit community. She will tell you about how the seventh floor of the Fairmont is haunted by sailors from World War II, and the ghost of an abandoned bride lingers near the cathedral.

She also remembers a time when her back was to the Pacific-Union Club, explaining that it might be haunted while she watched her Drac Pack’s jaws drop because they were witnessing the supernatural.

“I turned around and this heavy lamp was spinning in circles,” Burns said. “There was no wind and that thing started swaying back and forth. So I said it was probably time to go.”

And while it is a special New Year’s Eve event, the tour happens Friday and Saturday nights, too. They start at 8 p.m. at California and Taylor streets and cost about $20.

Tonight after the special tour, Burns will rest her tomb at the Fairmont, like she has every New Year’s Eve since she started, just not on the seventh floor “because they already told me I don’t want to sleep there.”

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

Blood-curdling tour

Join vampire Mina Harker on a tour of haunted Nob Hill locales.

When: 8 to 10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; participants meet at California and Taylor streets
Tickets: $20 for adults; $15 for seniors, students or groups of 10 or more
Contact: (650) 279-1840, sfvamptour@yahoo.com
On the Web:  sfvampiretour.com

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