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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Salem Ghost Walk

It looks like the girl saw a ghost!

Under an almost-full moon she and I took part in the 13th Salem Ghost Walk held this past pleasant Saturday night.

Rather than getting spooked the event actually was an "historical pilgrimage through Salem's East Hill Cemeteries." It started inside the newly renovated Salem Museum where we first met two ghosts from the Salem Flying Artillery. The gentlemen ghosts who both served in the Civil War reminisced about their time in uniform. Naturally it was filled with the usual anti-Yankee sentiments, which Salemites have been known to still express.

The next ghost we met was India Bradpher, a member of Salem's African American community. India recounted her pride felt towards her neighbors and husband in the then segregated city.

Next up was the ghost of Geroge Terrill, a physician, major and military leader who recounts his family's anguish in the Civil War as one son fought for the Blue and the other for the Gray. Notice the orbs?

The ghost of Andrew Lewis, a very popular Salemite as evidenced by having a middle school and a Fort named after him, told his story. I was particularly amused at how much the Lewises sounded like deadbeats. His family first came over to the states because his father felt the rent they were paying was too high so he wouldn't pay it. When the landlord came over they got into an altercation and Lewis killed him. It was "self-defense" but they fled across the ocean anyway. Another tidbit about Andrew Lewis' character came out when his ghost told the story of how they needed a minister for their local church. So Lewis placed signs, I think in Williamsburg, asking for one. The minister uprooted his family and took over the church in Salem but left because Lewis never paid him. Like father, like son.

Colonel Broad, a prominent banker and civic leader told the story of how Salem lost the railroad to Big Lick, now Roanoke. Their smugness did Salem in, and a little bribe from Roanoke might have helped secure the tracks. Wasn't Salem positive they were getting the intermodal recently? Hmmmm, some things don't change even many years later.

Figures the banker would have such an elaborate grave marker...

The ghost of Clementine Chapman told the tale of how she and her husband lost the fabled Lake Spring Hotel, all due to a curse. The beggar must have been Sicilian.

All the re-enactors offered authentic performances and were quite entertaining. Unfortunately some of the children in the large group we were in became a little bored and began asking their parents, "Where are the ghosts?" and "Can we leave now?" Even my teen became a little tired hearing Salem's history lesson and had to rest her weary bones.

Once the tour broke up I wanted to go into the other East Hill Cemetery, the not so grand one behind the Salem Museum where the blacks are buried. As you can see there's quite a difference between where Andrew Lewis and Mr. Board rest than where Ms. Bradpher does.

It was very dark and the hill was too steep to climb so we didn't explore much of this cemetery. I want to go back in the daytime and check it out more thoroughly. Meanwhile I did have a digital voice recorder going the entire time to see if I picked up any stray EVP's. Once I download it and check it out I'll report back.

Now, two strange things did occur. The first happened when we were in the Salem Museum listening to the first tale. I felt the floor vibrate, almost like a rumble. I looked around and no one else seemed to have felt it, no one except my daughter. We both looked at each other and when we went outside I asked her what she had felt. Besides a "creepy feeling" she did feel the same vibration I did.

I also did take various shots as we were walking through the cemetery. I kept hearing "noises" close by behind us when we trailed the group. I would turn and no one would be there so I whipped out my camera and just took some shots. Indeed I discovered quite a few of them had orbs. Actually there are so many shots that I haven't included them in this post as they warrant a post of their own. If I ever find some "spare time" haha, I'd like to put together a small video of them. For now I'll pick out the "best of" and post them in the next day or so.

There's going to be one more tour held on Tuesday night (hope your weather will be as beautiful as ours was) which will have an additional ghost of a gravedigger. If you take any photos let me know if you pick up any orbs too. I thought the tour was enjoyable and it sparked my interest enough to visit the cemetery another the daylight.


  1. You do such interesting thing Elena. I can't wait to see the orb post! I love paranormal stories too. I've got several of my own which I'll tell you about sometime when I see you.

  2. Sounds like an interesting time. We have found several geocaches at old cemeteries and I always want to explore the history.

  3. I enjoy those kinds of tours; at least you learn a little something. Glad you were able to take that one in.