By DALEY JENNINGS
The thirty-fourth annual UMW Ghostwalk is upon us. The Ghostwalk is a tour of downtown Fredericksburg hosted by the Historic Preservation Club which explores the town’s most haunted properties and famous historical figures.
The Ghostwalk is a tradition that has become a town favorite, as it highlights the rich historical significance that Fredericksburg holds. The tour includes Mary Washington’s home, the Masonic Cemetery and a look into the medical practices of Hugh Mercer. The tour was inspired by the book “The Ghosts of Fredericksburg and other Environs” by L.B Taylor Jr., which details the morbid history of Fredericksburg.
Sasha Erpenbach, a junior Historic Preservation major with a minor in museum studies, has participated in the Ghostwalk ever since her freshman year when she was one of the actors at the Masonic Cemetery. She is now partially running the Ghostwalk along with Tessa Honeycutt.
“There are a lot of cool places in Fredericksburg that a lot of people don’t know about, and don’t know the full history behind it and hopefully Ghostwalk will give them a chance to sort of introduce them to it,” said Erpenbach. She and Honeycutt have both worked hard to highlight the underappreciated history of Fredericksburg.
“It’s a long-lasting tradition in the community and it brings a lot of awareness to the historic sites we have, and we plan for it beginning in the middle of the summer until a couple weeks after school starts,” said Erpenbach. The executive board works hard to improve and add to each year’s Ghostwalk while building off of the original framework.
Two additional sites visited on this year’s tour will be the James Monroe Museum and the Free Lance-Star building. The James Monroe Museum was used lightly in the years prior and is now going to be a bigger part of the tour.
“I’ve just decided to add it in because I talked to the curator there and he thinks it would be great to add more history about the James Monroe Museum as well,” said Erpenbach.
The Free Lance-Star building was previously on the tour but due to a change in ownership was not fully available until now.
“I’m adding more information at the Free Lance-Star because we didn’t know who the owner was because they sold the building basically, and I’m adding more history of the Free-Lance Star building and the Free-Lance Star itself,” said Erpenbach.
Other than the change in stops, umwghostwalk.com made its debut online for the first time, as another way to keep history up-to-date.
“The website is one of the big steps to bring the Ghostwalk into the twenty-first century,” said Erpenbach.
The Ghostwalk is appropriate for the whole family, for horror-lovers and scaredy-cats alike.
“There are some sites that are known to be very funny, and then there are some sites that are a bit scarier with the jump scares, but we blend the two, we have a lot of humor,” said Erpenbach.
The mix of humor and light terrors promises to keep the audience on their toes, while not too terrified of what’s to come next. “I think all the sites have special things to offer; each one is unique in its own way,” said Erpenbach.
This year’s tours will begins on Oct. 19 from 6-10 p.m. and continues to Oct. 20 at 5-10 p.m., with tours leaving every ten minutes from the James Monroe Museum on 908 Charles Street.
Tickets are cash only, $4 for UMW students, faculty, military and alumni, $6 for the general public, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free for children under 6.