By Kay Whatley, Editor
You know that local ghost walk or downtown haunted tour notice you see each year? The one you ignore because you already know your own town. Or, you don’t believe in ghosts.
Well, even if you know your local area, a ghost walk offers more than just the chance to see a specter — whether you believe in it or not. Local ghost tours offer a glimpse into lesser known historical events. They may be horrifying, or sad, or insightful. No matter what, even a native can learn things that they didn’t know about their hometown.
Historical societies, and private companies, hold these ghost tours at different times of year. There are tours aimed at the summer tourist season. Other tours offer year-round forays into historical sites. And quite a few tours start in the Fall and culminate in an after-dark tour on Halloween night.
On a recent (2020) evening ghost walk, Autumn B. and her family not only learned about the failed businesses and governor’s offices that had occupied the historic Peabody-Whitehead Mansion in Colorado, they captured a photo of “something” during their tour.
Could that be a face looking out the window at the group of ghost tour participants? Perhaps it’s one of the multiple people who were murdered or died in the historic building throughout its 139 year history. Or, it might be something else. Or nothing. What do you think?
If the Peabody-Whitehead Mansion is too far away, there are a wide variety of ghost tours held each year here in Eastern North Carolina. Some organizations have curtailed or canceled their walks due to the pandemic, but are worth following for updates on 2021 ghost (or history) tours.
The Johnston County Heritage Center (Smithfield, NC) holds an annual Riverside Cemetery ghost walk; for 2020, a virtual event held was held via YouTube (Watch the 2020 event HERE). Follow the Heritage Center on Facebook here for future tours.
This year, the Ghost Walk of Pender’s Past (Pender County, NC) held two special screenings of a film about the ghost walk. Both events have already happened, so Follow this ghost walk on Facebook for future events.
Sorry to say that the Town of Wake Forest, NC’s ghost walk tickets are sold out.
The Washington, NC annual ghost tours were canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus. Follow them on Facebook for future tours.
The Clayton, NC Historical Association holds ghost walks, too, though not this year. Follow their Facebook page for next year’s tour.
The nonprofit Preservation Zebulon (Wake County, NC) holds downtown tours throughout the year. Follow their announcements here.
Don’t worry about the wait. If there are ghosts, they’ll still be there every day for years to come.