It became clear early on, with the popularity of the tour, that three people couldn’t handle the crowds alone. Soon they added Wil Elrick, Bob Boyer, Van Brown, and two other members of the Madison County Paranormal Research Society, Leslie Gray and Randy Kilgore. Two more walking tours were added to the original Old Town Ghost Walk and in 2010, a trolley tour was added as well.
They were also surprised to find that high schools, in and around Huntsville, brought their classes to take the ghost walk as a way of learning history in a fun way. Motlow College brings history classes as well, but their classes tend to search the more sociological aspects of ghosts.
The stories they found are varied and quite interesting: an execution at the early 1800s hanging tree, a ghost at the old Councill High School, and hands rising out of the ground at the site of the old Georgia Cemetery. Another ghost is complaining that someone has been buried across her feet, and an angry ghost haunts the courthouse.
In other locations, the ghosts of slaves say they are waiting "for Jesus to take us away." A mill worker opens his mouth to speak, but only the sound of machinery can be heard. Phantom children play in the street and sing a song about the flu epidemic of 1918. A popular Huntsville landmark "weeps" and another house has four prankster ghosts from different eras. One was of a young man shot through the eye in the Meuse-Argonne Forest in World War I. "You call it Meuse-Argonne," he tells us. "We called it Hell."
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it doesn’t matter to guides at the Huntsville Ghost Walk. At the end of the day, it is entertainment of a different nature. Visitors unanimously agree – everyone loves a good ghost story!
The cost was an affordable $8 – the approximate cost of a movie ticket. All tours would begin promptly at 6 p.m. on Saturdays at Harrison Brothers Hardware Store to keep the logistics simple, and the volunteers at Harrison Brothers graciously offered to sell tickets for them. Additional tours were added in October to accommodate people looking for something fun near Halloween.
Jacque Reeves, whose tour company is named Avalon Tours for her ancestor’s plantation now known as the University of Alabama Huntsville Captain Lewellen Jones was a dragoon in the American Revolution and left his native Virginia to come into the deep South.
In addition to the Huntsville Ghost Walk, Jacque conducts additional tours at other times of the year. With tour guide Rhonda Ford (founder of Historical Pursuit), these partners in crime offer the Mischief and Mayhem Tour (the other side of Huntsville’s history), Spies, Lies, and Alibis; Civil War Bones; and a Civil War Plantation Tour which is a motorcoach driving tour topped off with a high English Tea.
For more information on these tours, see www.huntsvilleghostwalk.com, www.mischiefandmayhem.biz, or call (256) 509-3940.