Friday, October 5, 2012

Ghost Tour of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

The light from the porch illuminated onto the tall gentleman who was standing nearby. The light cast his shadow directly in front of us, imposing a shadow of blackness as we approached the steps. Upon climbing the incline, he stepped to us with a somber greeting. We paid our fee and he took a seat. As we waited for others to arrive, we spoke briefly with the gentleman. His eyes casting out of the large brimmed hat he was wearing. His attire consisted of period dress for the time of the early 19th century. As the rest of our tour arrived the imposing gentleman arose and spoke out in his baritone voice. This was to be our guide for the evening. He grabbed his trusty lantern and we followed him into the cobblestone streets of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

As we meandered throughout the hilly town, we stopped at several local landmarks thought to possess supernatural entities. The tour consisted of a visit to an old tavern haunted by spirits who never left. While in operation, the owner would often hear the sounds of someone falling down stairs. There were several accounts of unidentifiable phenomena that had convinced the owner the place was inhabited by lost spirits, from a period long passed. Since the closing of the establishment it has been rented out to several tenants, who don't seem to hang around very long.

 We also paid visit to a cave that was used as a secret lab for a doctor who conducted some very controversial experiments. An old hotel where some strange happenings have been occurring for over 100 years. As our guide led us to these destinations he told tales of grisly happenings that had occurred in the premises, as well as the strange events that had been taking place ever since. He would also throw in his own thoughts as to why he believed these haunting's had been happening.

One of the most disturbing tales he told, was of a former slave who had helped John Brown during his overtake of the federal armory in town. The bloody and beaten man was dragged through the streets of Harper's Ferry. The angry mob brought the battered man to an area known as hog alley. This had been a gathering place of the hogs who scavenged through the town, feeding on the trash that was not properly discarded. The hungry hogs aggressively tore the defenseless gentleman apart and quickly devoured  the carcass. Though the former slave was a criminal in the public's eye, it was later revealed that the only reason he helped John Brown during his raid on the armory, was so he could purchase his wife and children back, who were being held as slaves elsewhere. I found this particular tale to be quite disturbing, the mental images created in my mind and the sympathy I felt for this gentleman have still remained with me.
                                                          Hog Alley
There were numerous destinations on the walk. The town is full of history and violence making it one of the best destinations for ghost tours. Several places we visited on the tour gave me a sense of something abnormal occurring nearby. My hairs would stand up on end, and I would feel a sense of an unnatural presence close. One particular place where I felt this the strongest, also consisted of a mass of orbs when photographed. Orb's are not something I'm 100% confident in, but I don't automatically dismiss their presence.

The tour was done fantastically! Our guide was a walking historian, he had mentioned to us that he also worked in Gettysburg and Antietam. He was a perfect mixture of mystique, knowledge, humor and eerieness. The ghost tour at Harper's Ferry has been rated as one of the best in the country. It's not difficult to see why, situated in a charming town still lost in a history of violence and bloodshed. And a tour guide who gives you just the right amount of giggles, thrills, and chills.

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