Seventh Annual Ghost Walk Celebrates History!

The seventh annual Mt. Albion Ghost Walk took place the evening of Saturday, October 3rd. The Ghost Walk is a Service Learning project of the Albion High School Drama and Music Departments. A total of 55 students work to put the program together by researching a variety of residents of Mt. Albion Cemetery, writing their own scripts, and performing roles as ghosts, tour guides, singers, and tech crew. This year, approximately 425 people participated in the tour that featured 13 ghosts, including war heroes, prominent citizens, two nationally publicized murders, and even Santa Claus.

CLICK HERE to read about the entire line up of ghosts on a blog post I wrote for the AHS Alumni Foundation Blog. Be sure to check it out — the students who participated deserve to have you see their photos and the ghosts deserve to have you read their stories!!! 🙂

Last year, I booked a slot after dark cause I thought it’d be cool to walk through the cemetery in the dark to see “ghosts”, but it was hard to get any good photos! This year, I knew I was going to want a photo of every ghost for the Alumni blog, so I booked a 6:30 tour figuring I would have daylight to shoot the photos. Then, as it turned out, I also covered the event for the Orleans Hub, so when I got there and they said I could go on the 6:15 tour, if I wanted to, I said YES to ensure enough daylight…..but…..it was still getting dark before we finished and some of my photos towards the end were either too dark or blurry because of the shutter speed and no tripod! Oh well, live and learn! Luckily, I still got a good shot of all the ghosts – I could delete the really rough ones and was able to brighten up a couple and the slightly blurry ones weren’t that bad!

Here are just a few of the photos I took – some of my favorite shots, for various reasons, and a couple that I did not include in the other blog post:

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I like this shot…..it was taken with the thought that I would want to show the attendees getting on the bus to go to the cemetery, but it just turned out to be a nice photo with the crayon pillars at the Elementary school.

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Kinda the same thing with this one…..I got off the bus after my tour and it just looked cool to see the next group waiting for their turn to be taken to the walk…..tours left every 15 minutes and the tours lasted about 45 minutes. I actually wasn’t sure it would be usable, but it turned out good – I like it!!!

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Each group had a tour guide – this was the guide for the group I was in, Meredith Patterson. She did an awesome job telling us all about the history of the cemetery and other historical facts along the way. I like this shot just because it is a sweet photo of Meredith and I like the way the background looks – just enough of a hint of fall colors starting to peek out!

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This was one of my top two favorite shots of the night – the “ghost” of James Sheret standing by his head stone!

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This photo is cool because of the connection between the “actor” and the “ghost” – Kyle Thaine is portraying his great uncle, Eugene Barnum!!! I also covered this event for the Orleans Hub and got a great quote from Kyle about his experience: “It was an honor playing my Great Uncle Gene. I didn’t know him, but I’ve heard many stories about him from the time I was a little kid from my grandmother. I love history and I love my family and it was so cool to put them both together in one place.” Because of his family connection, he was able to add a few personal tidbits to his monologue! I just thought it was all too cool!

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I love this photo, too…..it shows the original intent of the park-like setting of Mt. Albion Cemetery – people used to picnic and hang out at the cemetery. This happens to be a musical performance along the Ghost Walk, but it wouldn’t have been unusual to see young girls singing in the cemetery in this era….of course, back in those days, they wouldn’t have had a boom box playing the instrumental accompaniment, but we won’t split hairs, here. And…..people STILL enjoy the cemetery for reasons other than just putting flowers on their loved one’s graves – they go for walks, sit in the gazebo, and really enjoy it!

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This student was a hoot…..Zach Shaffer was portraying John G. Rice, an Orleans County Sheriff who investigated a murder in 1894! He really got into the part and was fun to photograph! It was hard to choose just one photo of him!

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I picked this one as a favorite to post here because it just seemed spooky with the mausoleum behind the ghost! The student is Evan Allen and the ghost is David Jones – the man who patented the mouse trap and manufactured them in large quantities! And, as Evan said in his monologue…..if the expensive looking mausoleum is any indication, building the better mouse trap must have been a very lucrative venture!

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I adore this shot – even though it came out a tad blurry! Most of the others stood to tell the story of their ghost. Shannan Broda as Sarah Harling was first seen kneeling at the grave of the person whose story she was telling – Robert Chapstick – to show how much she cared for him in life! I thought it was very touching when we came up upon her. She did stand to do the bulk of her monologue, but finding her like this was a perfect touch!

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My absolute favorite photo…….this is the grave site of Charles W. Howard – our beloved resident who opened the first world renowned Santa Claus School and Christmas Park right here in Albion! What a magical scene – as we came up on this stop, we see Nate Trembley portraying Charles Howard as Santa sitting up on the terrace above us beside his family’s monument and sitting beside him is Valerie Rush as Mrs. Claus……it was truly an overwhelmingly emotional experience and the highlight of the night for everyone! It was, appropriately, the last stop on the tour! Because this was the last stop on the tour, the photos I took of Santa came out the worst – either VERY dark or VERY blurry!!!! I was so upset with myself!!! Luckily, I took a LOT of photos at this stop and was able to brighten up a couple of them enough to make them look half way decent…..and, I actually like the way this one came out!

Then, as I was waiting for the bus to come take us back to the school, I looked around me and realized that I’m not usually at the cemetery after dark……correct that statement – I’m NEVER at the cemetery after dark (with the exception of last year when I deliberately booked a later tour so I could do it in the dark)…..so, I couldn’t resist snapping a couple shots of an area by where I was standing with the stones and trees in the dark…..very eerie, in deed…..glad I wasn’t alone……and glad I didn’t see any REAL ghosts!!!

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So, that’s that……..now, if you didn’t do it earlier, go read the entire accounting of the Ghost Walk at the link above……oh, what the heck, here it is again so you don’t have to scroll up to find it…..CLICK HERE!!!

3 Comments on “Seventh Annual Ghost Walk Celebrates History!

  1. Hi,
    Glad one of your favorites was my great grandfather David Jones standing in front of the spooky “mouse”oleum……..Neat picture! Very impressed with your accomplishments, Kim.

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