German Village Gazette

Statehouse ghost tour in touch with Ohio history

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As the Halloween season approaches, the Ohio Statehouse staff is planning a few ghostly -- and historical -- encounters.

Beginning later this month, doors will open for the annual Haunted Statehouse Tour, a popular event with an aim to educate as it raises goose bumps.

The tours will take place Oct. 16-17 and Oct. 23-24 at the Ohio Statehouse, 77 S. High St. Tours will run every half hour between 7 and 9 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children under 16 years old. Tickets for the event must be pre-ordered.

Gregg Dodd, a spokesman for the Statehouse, said the tours, which are limited to 40 people at a time, are extremely popular, having sold out four years running.

"It's very, very popular. We have probably logged 50 or 60 phone calls already wanting to know when it is," Dodd said.

The tour -- about 35 to 45 minutes long -- winds through the Statehouse, where several historical scenes are reenacted by volunteers in period dress. Though there are spooky parts, the overall experience is more historical than frightening.

"It's certainly not a haunted house in terms of ghosts and goblins jumping out at you," Dodd said. "It's educational, but it's Halloween-themed."

Chris Matheney, historic site manager, said five scenes will be reenacted during the tour. He said the scenes are not necessarily related to the Statehouse, but rather to Ohio history.

Some of the historical figures to appear on the tour will be Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United State; the specter of a ghost who supposedly haunts Camp Chase; and Simon Girty, a figure from the American Revolutionary War.

"He basically got a reputation as a renegade," said Matheney, who will play Girty. "Parents used to tell their children if they weren't good, Simon Girty would come and cut their ears off."

Abraham Lincoln will make two appearances on the tour.

Matheney said perhaps the most famous ghost story related to the Statehouse is that of the former president's unfinished dance with Kate Chase. According to local lore, the two can still be seen dancing late at night.

"There have been accounts where the music has been heard and a ghostly figure resembling Abraham Lincoln has been seen dancing with a young girl," Dodd said. "What they are getting is as close as we can make it without the actual specters."

Lincoln will make another stop on the tour as he lies in state after his death.

Matheney said this scene will depict an embalmer discussing the route Lincoln's body took after death. The scene will include a replica of Lincoln's actual coffin and be held at the same location the body rested when it passed through Columbus.

More information is available from the Statehouse Web site at www.ohiostatehouse.org or by calling 614-728-9234.

dcross@thisweeknews.com

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