LEWISTON – Interested in learning something new about Lewiston’s illustrious past or particularly intrigued by the paranormal? Lewiston’s Marble Orchard Ghost Walks are just the ticket, and they begin at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Peace Garden, 476 Center St.
They are repeated at the same time every Saturday through Oct. 25.
“The dead do not rest easy in Lewiston, and they like to remind the living that they refuse to be forgotten,” said Eva Nicklas, artistic director for the Lewiston Council on the Arts, who produces the event.
Nicklas, Timothy Henderson, the Council’s program coordinator, and Kathryn Serianni, the council’s outreach coordinator, portray characters while in costume, as do a number of volunteers. They include: Frank Filicetti, Claudia Carnes, Jerry Mosey, Sue Campbell, Alex Gentile, Bailey Hoplight and Spencer Finkbeiner.
During the one-and-a-half-hour walk, the Marble Orchard Players take guests back in time as they share ghost stories, myths and tales of tragedy, crime, mayhem and murder in Lewiston. And they tell secrets, both funny and sinister, of events that happened a long time ago and of the ghosts that many believe still haunt Lewiston.
These offbeat, theatrical guides take visitors through the Historic District, winding their way to the Village Cemetery next to First Presbyterian Church – the oldest cemetery in Niagara County. They’ll expound on curses, graveyard etiquette, haunted buildings, restless spirits, bizarre medical practices – all told by costumed actors channeling the spirits of yesteryear. It’s a great way to introduce schoolchildren, visitors and even longtime residents to Lewiston’s rich and exciting history.
“We have a kind of magic at these ghost walks that make them special,” said Nicklas, who plays Sally Tryon. “We really are a little family here, and I think the audience feels that.”
“Everybody comes in character, and we have good chemistry between all of the characters,” said Henderson, who portrays Josiah Tryon. “This isn’t full of pranks and scary stuff – a lot of these stories come from word-of-mouth and legend. And once we get to the cemetery – and eventually, we all do – it takes on a different atmosphere. We usually get there just as it’s getting dark. It’s a little unsettling.
Henderson said each actor researches his or her own character.
“Lewiston has quite a history of colorful characters, and you won’t find these stories in history books,” he said. “Stories come from family members and people who have worked in the shops in Lewiston. … And these stories also come from hours spent in the local history room of the library with newspaper clippings.”
For example, guests will find out what happened to poor James Going after he died. And they will hear about Morgan the Mason, whom many believe still haunts the Frontier House, as well as the Tuscarora legend of Skadotti, the “Screaming Killer of Dogs.”
“Where have all of these souls gone?” Henderson asked. “Nowhere. They’re still here. People will take pictures while they’re on our walks and then send them to us later, and some have caught some, let’s say, interesting images in windows as well as orbs in the cemetery.”
The Ghost Walks are offered rain or shine and no reservations are necessary, but flashlights are recommended. Tickets are sold at the event and are $15 for adults, $8 for children under age 12 and $12 for LCA members.