Brown Lady

Brown Lady
Ghost on Staircase

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Haunted Houses on Halloween

I was the curator of the Kell House Museum in Wichita Falls, Texas for about three years before finding a museum job in northern California. When I was first hired, I was told that many docents felt the house was haunted. In fact, the public had that perception as well. I admit I had a few strange experiences. We hosted weddings in the grounds -- not in the house because of the historic artifacts. During one wedding, I let the Bride and Groom into the house with a photographer to have one photograph taken at the foot of the large, wooden staircase, then I ushered them out, alarmed the house and locked the door.

The wedding party was "partying" in the garden. A lady asked me if she could get a tour of the house and I told her it was against policy. She then pointed to an upstairs bedroom and asked, "Then who is that inside the house?"

I turned and didn't see anyone. She explained she had seen someone peeking out through the window. I went inside the house thinking the alarm didn't set and that someone was indeed inside the house. But the alarm was still on. I checked out the whole house and saw no one.

As time went on, I saw and heard things.

I'll post more on what I experienced there in a later post. But one thing I started when I was there (and something they continue to do today) was a haunted house on or near Halloween. Instead of a teenager dressed in a Wal-Mart costume jumping out from behind a door wielding a bloody knife, we ran an authentic haunted house. We led people in small groups on a candlelight tour of a darkened historic mansion, explaining at each stop what ghostly things we have seen or heard in that location. The tours were and continue to be a hit.

What do you think of all the haunted houses on Halloween? Do any live up to the hype?

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