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Storytelling After Dark

Lantern tours reveal Beverly’s past

Photos by Shannon Bennett Campbell Tour leader and historian Karl Mulac discusses early cabin features with the group.

Cooler mornings and evenings are coming our way as October makes its bid to be our favorite month. With autumn forest colors reaching peak, it is one of our most beautiful times of the year, but little children will remind us as they search in attics for costume apparel that Halloween is on its way, too, and we must certainly be on guard for ghosts and nervous nights.

Our friends at the Beverly Heritage Center have planned four evenings of Lantern Tours, where participants can experience untold historic nocturnal events. Not unlike those of childhood Washington Irving readings, the stories we will hear will sometimes cause one to conjure up images of Appalachian folklore involving the usual fog that envelopes an area and portrays mysterious people in the mist.

The Beverly Historical District walk-throughs are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9, and also Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16. Each evening will begin at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Center’s Headquarters. Organizers suggest gathering a little early so the group can be oriented and proper numbers of lanterns can be dispersed. Tickets should be reserved by contacting info@beverlyheritagecenter.org.

The group will be led by veteran historian Karl Mulac who lives in one of the homes of interest. Using a mobile microphone system, he will take participants to several home sites and explain their historical notoriety with special reference to famous people who occupied the properties.

The information shared will provide some lost details about how our ancestors lived through the Civil War and beyond. When finishing the evening, some will agree that challenges we face today are possibly no more difficult than many of those our great-great grandparents confronted.

Several historic homes will be identified during the tour and some are well over 100 years old.

The Lantern Tour organizers pointed-out that their goals were not necessarily to plan an evening that arrived at the edge of paranormal events, but there is no doubt adults who attend will get a small taste of Halloween as they move from yard to yard and realize what may be buried underneath.

Some of the locations that will be discussed are the 1841 Jail, the 1795 Stalnaker Cabin, the Logan and Goff Houses and the Union Hospital. Time is provided for those attending to ask questions as the group wanders through the streets.

It was revealed that the tours taken in the past several years have been so popular some patrons choose to attend every year to re-acquaint themselves with the historic facts and eerie feelings of the night-time jaunt.

All ticket sale proceeds from the nominal ten dollar fee go to make necessary building repairs restoring furnishings and providing maintenance of this public historic district. Any questions can be answered by calling 304-637-7424 daily.

So many realize that a reasonable number of the questions we face today can be answered by understanding history and reviewing how these similar problems were solved in the past. Often,we are able to guide decisions in ways that avoid problems in the first place.

The walking tour through Beverly’s Historic District commences.

So this activity has much merit and is certainly an interesting way to spend an evening outdoors. In some ways it will allow one to be a child again and watch with caution the darkened landscape that, indeed, might reveal a returning image or two.

The night-time walk provides several surprises during the evening.

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