The walking dead

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Zionsville’s history haunts on GhostWalk

By Dawn Pearson

What is your favorite ghost story? ‘The Hook,’ ‘Bloody Mary’, or what about ‘The Glowing Grave?’

No matter what story scares the most, tt’s that time of year again to take the eerie and spooky journey into Zionsville’s haunted past with the opportunity to stroll through the 19th and 20th centuries along the bricks and neighborhoods of the historic district.

Hear the stories of the supernatural, combined with fun and fascinating history of Zionsville.

SullivanMunce Cultural Center has announced the return of one of its most popular events, The GhostWalk, for the 12th year. It will run Oct. 10 and Oct. 11.

GhostWalk is a 45-minute guided walking tour of the historic village of Zionsville. Guests can stop at up to seven different vignettes to experience reenacted ghost stories from Zionsville’s past.

And it takes a village in the village for this family friendly event to showcase the spirits, auras and anomalies that give Zionsville such a unique history.

“Each year this event requires approximately 75 to 100 volunteers to make it happen,” said Kelly Masoncup, the chair of this year’s GhostWalk.  “We love our volunteers and SMCC’s staff and are so grateful for their participation. We couldn’t do this without the huge support for this event from members of the community.  It really does take a village to put this event on.”

And like some ghosts, many volunteers aren’t even seen or known by the walkers. Last year more than 600 people were brave enough to take the tour, according to Masoncup.

“Many of these volunteers the community does not even see, from costume designers, set and makeup volunteers, to writers, sound, special effects folks and even people who take care of the actor refreshments,” Masoncup said.

Tour guides lead each group to seven locations, where groups of actors interpret a local ghost story or legend.

The stories are based on actual facts the committee pulls from newspapers and other historical Zionsville documents.

“Each year tells of new folklore and each story is newly researched and created,” Masoncup said.

So each year history does not repeat itself. There are many new haunted tricks and tales of yore.

For many volunteers it is a family affair. Masoncup’s children, Ryan, Lauren and Jacob have acted or helped with special effects and her husband is a tour guide.

“Lost of families participate in various parts of the GhostWalk, Vikki Soliday, this year’s director, will be joined by her husband acting and her son will be a ghost,” Masoncup said.

This festive event that celebrates Zionsville’s and Indiana’s storied past brings a surprise element of fun to the community.

“This event is about having a little fun with stories and history for everyone involved from volunteers to participants,” Masoncup said. “The GhostWalk is uniquie in that participants can walk through parts of the Village, hear tales from the past, dress up in costumes, if they like, and have treats and a lot of fun.”

SMCC wants to hear from the community.

“We are always on the look out for interesting tidbits of Zionsville’s folklore. SMCC is a depository for Zionsville’s history, so artifacts, stories, pictures are always welcome,” Masoncup said.

She added that it is a great way for people who want to try acting and do not have a lot of time to participate.

Thoughts from GhostWalk participants

“I can’t tell you when I first became involved with the Ghost Walk, but it has been a number of years. I probably deserve a gold watch, or at least a donut. During that time it has been my pleasure to serve as a guide and my home has hosted at least four vignettes.”- Village homeowner, John Tousely

“I’ve been involved for the past three years, since 2011.  I’ve been an actor (i.e. a ghost) each time.  In 2012 and 2013 our house was part of the tour as well.  Last year it was especially fun to act in front of my own house.  Hearing comments from the guests complimenting our home was delightful.  A group of young women from Indianapolis asked me if the homes on the tour were owned by the museum and staged for the event (obviously they aren’t!).  They said that our community looks like something out of a movie.  I found it delightfully ironic to hear their comments.”- Village homeowner, Heather Lusk

Details

  • All proceeds from GhostWalk will benefit SullivanMunce Cultural Center.
  • GhostWalk tours run every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. both nights.  Tours leave from the front lawn of SullivanMunce Cultural Center, at 225 West Hawthorne Street in Zionsville. Concessions will be available for purchase and reservations can be made by calling 873-4900.
  • Members: Adults, $10 per person; youth, $7 per person; children 5 years of age and under are free.
  • Non-members: Adults: $12 per person; youth, $9 per person; children 5 years of age and under are free.

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