The haunting season is upon us, and with it come dozens of attractions set to scare the dickens out of you. Some folks revel in the opportunity to elevate their blood pressure and scream like a banshee, while others would rather indulge in quieter fun.
Below are a few October options for both categories of revelers. No matter which you choose, history comes as a bonus.White Hall Ghost Walk
For the past 20 Halloweens, White Hall State Historic Site in Richmond has teamed up with the Eastern Kentucky University theater department to relate the fascinating history of this 1798 home in an unusual way.“Our event is not about ghost stories but is a theatrical performance with historical-based vignettes throughout the house,” said Kathleen White, the site’s park manager.
“Spirit guides” lead guests from room to room, where spirits of the past emerge to tell tales of the family of Cassius Marcellus Clay – emancipationist, newspaper publisher, minister to Russia and friend to Abraham Lincoln.
By reservation only, Oct. 28-29, [email protected] or (859) 623-9178
If Walls Could Talk:
A Jouett House Ghost Walk
Another beautifully preserved home rich with history, the Jack Jouett House in Versailles was built in 1797 by the “Paul Revere of the South.” In 1781, Revolutionary War Captain John “Jack” Jouett, Jr. caught wind of a plot by British General Cornwallis to capture Virginia Gov. Thomas Jefferson. On an all-night horseback ride, Jouett covered 40 miles to warn Jefferson and foiled the English.
Come October, actors in his Federal-style cottage will portray prominent Jouett family members, including Jouett; his son, noted portraitist Matthew Harris Jouett; and Civil War Naval hero Rear Admiral James Edward Jouett.
Oct. 15-16, [email protected] or (859) 873-7902
Should you desire Halloween thrills in a haunted house, Octagon Hall in Franklin is the real deal. More than 175 paranormal investigation teams have recorded “something” here. (See video proof at octagonhouse.com.)
“The spirits in this house are very active,” said Billy Byrd, executive director. “We hear voices of a little girl, of soldiers, of slaves. We do nothing to the house. It acts on its own. Doors creak open. There are footsteps. It always revs up when groups come.”
Are they the owners’ six-year-old daughter who died in a fire, or a Confederate soldier who died in the house? Byrd makes no guarantees but chances are good you may hear these and other unquiet spirits on an October candlelight tour.
Afterward, guests visit a slave cemetery and a barn maze live with zombies, monsters and killer clowns.
Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, kycsa@ accessky.net or (270) 586-9343
Bardstown Ghost Trek
Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World, but it also has a reputation for a plethora of historic buildings with resident ghosts, like the Old Talbott Tavern, a former stagecoach stop; Jailer’s Inn, a behind-bars bed and breakfast; and Chapeze House, a hostelry with bourbon tastings.
On a Bardstown Ghost Trek, visitors peek into all, swing through Pioneer Cemetery, hear history, and stay alert for otherworldly presences. Leading this foray is world-renowned paranormal investigator Patti Starr.
“I’ve been a certified ghost hunter for 30 years, 15 of those as a pro,” she said. “Can I prove there are ghosts? Absolutely not, but I tell my groups if you have an open mind, there’s no telling what you might encounter.”
Sept. 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, [email protected] or (859) 576-5517
Voices of Elmwood
For the third year, the Daviess County Public Library, Owensboro Museum of Science and History, and Theatre Workshop of Owensboro are partnering for an event that’s more historic than scary.
On two pre-Halloween weekends, hay wagons will rattle through Owensboro’s Elmwood Cemetery. At each of 10 stops, a character will step from behind a tombstone and tell his story. The speaker might be the pilot of a biplane that crashed downtown in the ‘20s, or the jailer who died protecting his prisoner at the hands of an angry mob.
“Costumed tour guides will give cemetery history,” said Todd Reynolds, educator for the museum. “And local Daughters of the Confederacy members will talk about burial and death customs, gravestone symbols and recipes from wakes.”
Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, Oct. 7-8, [email protected] or (270) 687-2732