Yes, it’s that time of year again for my favorite event in which I partake and participate…. A Tour of Southern Ghosts. This is our 30th year, and I had an extra, extra great time this year. You’ll see.
First up is the big marquee style sign as you enter Stone Mountain Park. Looks pretty cool,I have to admit. I grew up with Stone Mountain Park being a very hokey,state-run looking place with very boringly designed buildings and blah signage. It’s strange to see it getting a sort of theme park look these days.
Ah, the letter pumpkins that greet you on the plantation lawn. I always have loved them;
they’re like a little group of friends welcoming me back.
The light-up inflatable ghost is a new addition. From the plantation house, behind it in the distance, it looks like a ducky.
The Dickey House,the showpiece and main building of the Antebellum Plantation.
One of my best friends and a master storyteller is stationed here every night of the tour…
I call him The King of Tour of Southern Ghosts. He’s my pal, my mentor, David Hirt. He asked me to take some pics of him and I was only happy to oblige. I wanted to get a little bit of creepy vibe but not too threatening.
You can hear my favorite story of David’s, Skull Lake, here.
Another amazing storyteller is cajun Tom Coleman, who travels here from Louisiana to perform on Tour. The first time I met Tom, a few years ago, he dared me to go up to the Thornton House, one of the haunted buildings on the grounds. I won’t go into what happened when I went up there, but I won’t go up there anymore, and Tom won’t either!
Here is my favorite of Tom’s tales, Patin’s Punkin Patch.
Other storytellers who are constant favorites and friends of mine are Nancy Knight and Lester Thomas. Nancy’s stories are usually very dignified; they can be spooky but never get loud or out of control; that’s my buddy Lester’s job.
Tom, me and Lester.
Lester is almost always stationed as the last story on the tour, which means he hands guests over to me, or rather, directs them over to where I am waiting to pick them up. His storytelling is so animated and at such a high volume I can always tell how much time I have to get to my station by listening for what I can hear going on in his story. Here’s a good story from Lester, The Click-Bok Tree.
The Dahlias near the plantation house are in bloom this time of year. What a treasure!
And here is my domain yet again. Previously, we have spent every year bringing guests into our gift shop which was the old schoolhouse on the property. I have heard conflicting reports about the schoolhouse not being available to us this year so I will not get involved with that. I can say however, that I adore our new setup. My walking/tripping/stumbling/climbing stairs time is now next to nothing, I do not have to wrangle groups of guests up steps and open and shut a door to get them in and out and use up valuable time that I need to run and get the next group. Now I simply meet them at my garden gate where I have been stationed for six years, bring them into the tiny “graveyard” area, do my spiel and gently lead them into the Ghostly Gift Shop.
First, a walk through the graveyard…
Then a few corny jokes!
What do you get when you goose a ghost?
You get a handful of sheet!
And what a shop it is. The Stone Mountain Woman’s Club is a force to be reckoned with
as far as setting up this thing goes.
Here you can see books chock full of ghost stories for sale, including my favorite, Ghost Tales of the Uwharries.
Books and scarves, with tote bags on the back wall.
There’s a new t-shirt design this year..still trying to decide how I feel about it.
Here’s more shirts, and you can see our CD’s as well as “Ghost in a Box” souvenirs on the racks.
Misty and I call them “Boo Boxes”. 🙂
Some of our candies such as Spider Pops are over to the right, and a few Popcorn Witch’s Hands drape over the shelves.
What’s that I see? It’s Misty’s very own button!
She is very proud.
A good view of more “Ghost in a Box” souvenirs.
We’re cool with it.
But outside are some more ceramic pumpkins with varying faces, including this little hellion that always seems to be
staring at me every year:
He’s such a nasty little dude. God knows what he would do if he had a body.
I hope you enjoyed this years look at A Tour of Southern Ghosts!
On a side note, I have several friends that I exchange Hallowe’en presents with as if it is Christmas. One of these is my pal Missy, who is a guide at Tour. I’m waiting to get a pic of her in full costume!
She gave me this really slick black vase, because she knew I needed something to hold some of my brushes in order to keep them up high on the shelf(my cats eat them). It is PERFECT. I used to keep the “Long Nines” (my long red handled acrylic brushes) in the cemetery vase at left, but they outgrew it quickly.