Kent’s Ghost Walk celebrates its 15th anniversary

Genevieve Krejci, Reporter

The night air was crisp; stars filled the sky and lanterns lit the way through the Wolcott Lilac Gardens to storytellers waiting to tell eager ears about the folklore of Kent on Oct. 14.

The Kent Stage’s Ghost Walk celebrates fifteen years of scaring Kent this weekend with a successful first night of tours. The spooks continue Saturday, October 15, with tours starting at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The tours include multiple storytellers, each with a unique real ghost story that happened in Kent, a medium that discusses her own real experiences with the supernatural world and a musician who plays a song that accompanies her tale.

The tour travels to the Wolcott Lilac Gardens, where one gets to hear the gardens’ history and the supernatural stories that have been experienced there by the current owner, Robert Zavodny. The tour takes you through the gardens and the house and brings the attendees to the street in front of the house to hear a bit about the other homes. A portion of the tickets even goes into donations to the gardens. One storyteller, inspired by the lilacs, also informs the attendees about the history of lilacs and how they got their meaning.

During the tour, the medium leads the group outside, points out some of Kent’s historic houses, and speaks about what she has seen and felt in those spaces and how it ties back to the history of the places.

According to Richele Charlton, head of the Ghost Walk and assistant director of the Kent Stage, spooky things have even happened during the tours themselves.

One of the storytellers a few years back, when the tour was held at the Kent Historical Society building, was holding an old book with her story in it when suddenly, in the middle of her reading, the book went flying into the air. Almost like it had been kicked from her hands, according to Charlton.

At the Kent Historical Society, Charlton also mentioned a room with vintage barbershop equipment where people can take pictures in the mirror and sometimes capture a male figure in the background on tours.

The tour began after one of Charlton’s colleagues returned from Savannah, Georgia, where she attended ghost walks. She asked Charlton if she thought Kent had any ghosts, to which Charlton replied of course.

“I love the Ghost Walk; as you can tell, I’ve been doing it for 15 years,” said Charlton, “I get to do a deep dive into Kent’s history and see how it ties into the ghost stories.”

Though Saturday is the last day for the walk, the Kent Stage also does Ghost Hunts occasionally, where people can go and hope to get a glimpse of the stage’s ghosts, according to Charlton.

Emily August, an attendee of the walk and a Kent local, said, “it’s so nice to see everyone out, enjoying the cold weather and telling stories; I had no idea how haunted Kent was, and now I’m a little scared.”

 

Genevieve Krejci is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

The group listening to ghost stories on Oct. 14. (Genevieve Krejci)