Ghost tours to be family friendly

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If you love Halloween and history, but hate being scared, the Troup County Historical Society’s Ghostly Walking Tours this weekend is for you. The society will hold a nighttime walking tour showing the history of LaGrange through local stories of some of the dead.

Shannon Gavin Johnson, executive director of the Troup County Archives, said the society is doing this night walk for the first time.

“We do walking tours throughout the year, through the historic downtown area, through the cemetery, that kind of thing,” Johnson said. “This is a step above that, and it’s kind of erring to the side of the spookier stories.”

The hour-long tour is not scary and not meant to frighten anyone, according to Johnson. She said it is family friendly.

“We have no intention of being overly gruesome or alarming,” she said. “It was never meant to be a haunted house, it was just meant to be a little bit spooky.”

During the tour visitors will get their fortunes told and meet historical ghosts, including ones from LaGrange College’s Smith Hall, she said.

“Some of the community actors that work with the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts will be working with us,” Johnson said. “With each stop, visitors will visit a costumed ghost essentially.”

Visitors will finish the evening at a bank vault where they will learn about how modern funerals are similar to one done in the Victorian age.

“We’re turning [the vault] into a Victorian parlor and will be going over funeral customs that the Victorians created and lived by. A lot of the things we do when people die and a lot of the ghost stories that we tell originate with the Victorians, so we’ll go through some of that history,” she said. “With the price of the ticket, they’ll get refreshments, we’re going to have funeral biscuits, which were a Victorian custom.”

Johnson said the Victorians also stopped when funeral processions passed by them, held wakes and originated the term ‘saved by the bell.’

Johnson said the society wanted to put this on to make more locals interested in the historical roots of Troup County.

“The mission of the historical society is to preserve, conserve and educate the population on its history. I think that we have done a good job on preserving the history, but I don’t know if we’ve done as good a job making the history interesting enough for people who are not avid history buffs to want to come by and see what Troup County has been like over the course of its history,” she said. “That’s kind of where this idea came from was making the history interesting enough for somebody who doesn’t necessarily enjoy sloughing through a biography of a dead president.”

Tours start outside the Legacy on Main Museum at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Johnson said tours will start every 20 minutes and that there is still space for people to register.

“We have plenty of space, we’ll make space for people, but it is popular,” she said.

Tickets are $12 for non-member’s of the society and $10 for members and students.