Last Halloween, Caper Company spent the weekend in chilling and charming Port Washington, WI. We had discovered some delicious paranormal activity reports and, anxious to share the stories, we led a few hundred intrepid folks on the first ever Port Washington Ghost Walk.
As we prepare for 2011, I’d like share a favorite ghost walk story with you from 2010. Enjoy…
“This is Real”
Halloween ghost walks are a great way to have a seasonal spooky celebration with friends. It’s like being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day – everyone gets on board and goes for the ride. The last thing most people expect is to make a real, personal paranormal connection so if it happens, it can be a bit of a shock.
A typical tour group ranges the spectral spectrum — from true believers to total skeptics. The latter are there to spend an evening out with buddies. They expect to have fun. What they don’t expect is to be converted.
Saturday night of Halloween weekend was prime time. Every tour was packed, so moving from point A to B to C took vigilance from the Caper Company tour leaders. Happily, as the ghost stories unfolded, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Most of the time, the non-paranormal-fans go along quietly. There’s a bemused, indulgent expression on their faces when they hear a ghost story they deem particularly incredulous. If someone in the ghost walk group chimes in with a similar experience, the expression may devolve to a include bit of subtle eye rolling.
This evening, a gaggle of 4 girlfriends among the tour group of 20, were out for an adventure. 3 of the 4, at any rate. One lady kept her tongue firmly in her cheek the entire time — never naysaying, but always standing a bit back. She obviously wanted her friends to enjoy themselves, but perhaps was not the first person to have voted for this particular activity.
About half-way through their spectral exploration of the historic downtown, the Port Washington ghost walkers trek up a block, away from the harbor and toward the courthouse. There’s an alley along the way and soon after passing the opening, our resident skeptic summoned up the nerve to confide in the tour leader.
The term “Looked-like-she’d-seen-a-ghost” had never been so apt. This poor soul was having an epiphany. She fervently whispered to the tour leader, almost as though she were both afraid to say anything and equally afraid not to, that she was convinced that the group was no longer alone. That someone — or something — had just joined them in their ghostly quest.
Sometimes, confession will tip the balance from being scared to something shared and less frightening. Not so with this poor lady. Once she admitted it out loud, the phenomena seemed to frighten her even more. The more she talked about what she was feeling, the more unnerved she became. Soon, she was exclaiming, “This is real! I’ve never believed it before, but this is real! There’s someone with us and this is real!”
Her distress at being metaphysically aware of something was so overwhelming that the rest of the tour group quickly caught on. Within minutes, it became necessary for the tour leader to gather the group and offer some calming thoughts. Everyone banded together to comfort and reassure this lady who was beginning to question her own sanity. After a short time in a circle, she was composed enough to continue. Mostly.
For the rest of the downtown walk, she stuck to her tour leader like a sheet to a ghost. He would occasionally hear mutterings of her fear-tinged fascination at the experience. She would glance over her shoulder to see… nothing. Which seemed to frighten her even more.
By the end of the ghost walk, her friends were starting to rib her a little. Her eyes were still pretty wide and there’s a good chance her heart rate was still a bit elevated, but she took it good naturedly. As the tour leader was concluding he felt it important to check in, but there were no more words. Just a shake of the head and one last whisper, “This is real.”
What will this Halloween bring?