Spirits will walk again in museum’s annual Ghost Walk
SALEM – Gen. Andrew Lewis looked in fine form – for a man who has been dead for almost 230 years.
Salem’s favorite American Revolutionary patriot and other legendary figures will rise again in the Salem Museum Ghost Walk on Oct. 23 and Tuesday, Oct. 26. The “ghosts” will tell their stories in East Hill Cemetery and East Hill North, starting at 6:30 p.m. on those nights.
On Monday, Lewis was dressed out and carrying his firearm near the tall monument where his last earthly remains lie, at the crown of East Hill Cemetery. That afternoon it was Cave Spring High School political science teacher Joe Larocca wearing the garb of the Indian fighter who is perhaps best known for running the last colonial governor out of Virginia.
Larocca will portray Gen. Lewis on Saturday night, Oct. 23. On Oct. 26, it will be former Explore Park re-enactor Eddie Goode.
Gen. Lewis will greet visitors near his monument, with other costumed re-enactors telling their story at strategic points in the cemetery. The tour begins in the Williams-Brown House, now the Salem Museum, where Confederate soldiers will be having a reunion.
“We’re going to use our historic house for staging this year,” noted Salem Museum Director John Long proudly. “We’ve never had the room to haunt our own house before.”
Other characters who will greet visitors and their tour guides are India Bradford who is buried in the African-American portion of East Hill behind the museum. Marylen Harmon portrays Bradford, whose husband, Daniel, was manager of the Crystal Springs Ice Factory and co-owner of a store on Water Street.
There will also be Knox Martin, Virginia’s aviation pioneer, gravedigger Richard Gholston, Clementine Chapman, who will tell a bit of a tall tale about how her family lost their fabled Lake Spring Hotel, and Dr. George Terrill, who lost three brothers in the Civil War.
“All the characters portrayed were actual people, and the stories they tell are true. All are buried in the East Hill Cemeteries,” added Long.
“What makes the Ghost Walk enjoyable is the quality of the acting,” added Assistant Museum Director Helen Johnson. “All of the actors are volunteers, and several are teachers by profession. I think that testifies to the educational value of the Ghost Walk. Folks learn history and have fun doing it.”
In the event of rain, the Ghost Walk will be held indoors at the Salem Museum, using the exhibit galleries. Call the museum at 389-6760 for more information and to make reservations.
Tours start every 15 minutes from the museum, 801 E. Main Street. Donations of $6 per person are suggested.