Nestled in the shadows of conventional attractions lies a chilling alternative: paranormal tours. American Ghost Walks delves into the paranormal tales of America’s past and made a spine-tingling appearance on Shark Tank. Unfortunately, they scared the Sharks away from making a deal. As of 2023, American Ghost Walks has an estimated valuation of $1.5 million.
About the Founders
Allison Jornlin and Mike Huberty are a brother-and-sister duo. Their business isn’t just scaring people, they also give customers an insight into the paranormal history behind certain locations in the US.
The siblings always had a shared fascination with anything supernatural because of the shows they loved growing up. This inspired Allison to become a paranormal investigator, and became renowned in the Milwaukee area.
Mike’s channel for his paranormal passion was music. He joined a band called Sunspot, which attempted to popularize weird Wisconsin rock. In 2008, Allison was inspired by a pioneer of haunted tourism, Richard Crowe, to start a ghost tour in Milwaukee. Not long after, her brother had money problems, so she helped him kickstart a similar venture.
The Birth of American Ghost Walks
Founded in 2010, initially the company was called Madison Ghost Walks but rebranded as they went national. Allison joined her brother, and they went all in on the startup. They rummaged through archives and interviewed locals to get more historically accurate information for their tours.
Apart from ghost tales, they also got real stories of public executions, gang activities, and voodoo culture. They slowly expanded their team, launching tours outside of Wisconsin and now host live events. Considering it’s just a niche business they were thrilled to grab a spot on Shark Tank’s first Halloween-themed episode.
After Shark Tank
Although American Ghost Walks is already an established business, it will benefit massively from the exposure on Shark Tank. Fans of the show were already enquiring on Twitter about if ghost tours were available near their area.
You can check out their website, AmericanGhostWalks.com, where prices start from $25 per person. Currently they have 25 destinations, by next year, this should expand to at least 30. The destinations are spread across seven regions: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Maine. They’re even in Puerto Rico, where their tour has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 20 reviews on TripAdvisor.
The rise of dark tourism, a $30 billion industry, further underscores the potential of American Ghost Walks. A surprising 82% of travelers, as reported by Explore.com, have ventured to at least one dark tourism site. This statistic, much higher than anticipated, hints at the vast, untapped potential awaiting ventures like American Ghost Walks.