Some of Columbus’ “liveliest” spirits will be stirring Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7-8 when the annual Ghosts & Legends Tours come to call. The autumn event offers four bus tours nightly, at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., departing from the Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center at 300 Main St.
History, mystery and lore will be explored as local performers present dramatic vignettes featuring intriguing people from the 1830s to the early 20th century.
After presenting much of Southside Columbus in the past, the 2014 Ghosts & Legends focuses largely on the north side of the city, with several new stops. Comfortable buses, each carrying about 30 passengers, will transport tour-goers, who will disembark at six of the tour locations.
“The family-friendly tours are an excellent way to learn things about Columbus you didn’t know; there are no zombies, no gore, but we have added a little mystery,” said Beverly Norris, program manager of the Columbus Arts Council. The CAC presents Ghosts & Legends with the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation and Mississippi University for Women Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy.
“We’re excited to once again sponsor Ghosts & Legends. Since 2007, the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation has played a vital role in this special event,” said Nancy Carpenter, CEO of the Foundation. “Partnering with the Columbus Arts Council and the Women’s Studies at The W is always gratifying because everything those organizations do is done first class.”
Window on the past
Dr. Bridget Pieschel, Center director at MUW, conducted research and developed character scripts.
“We want to make sure we have fresh information and new and interesting, but historically accurate, details for people to learn about,” she said. “Luckily, since Columbus has so many rich details of history and so many examples of both personal trauma and personal success that I don’t think we’ll ever run out of information for ghost stories.”
Tour guests will learn of old graveyards in unexpected places. They will hear of townspeople who were torn in loyalties during the War Between the States, and of a widower with a passionate grievance against one of the oldest churches.
Rebecca McGavock looks forward to introducing tour groups to the character she will portray.
“She’s a fairly young, fashionable, married woman who we meet in the late 1850s or early 1860s,” explained McGavock, whom audiences have seen on the Columbus Community Theater stage. The Water Valley native and MUW alumna is careful not to give too much away; organizers prefer to keep specifics under wraps.
“I’m excited to participate; I feel like I fit my character,” she added.
How to go
Tickets are $10, available at the Columbus Arts Council’s Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St., or online at columbus-arts.org/events/ghosts-legends-2014. Or call the Arts Center at 662-328-2787 Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To get the tour day and time preferred, advance tickets are recommended.
“The Friday 7 p.m. tour is already sold out, reserved by a Boy Scout troop,” Norris said, “and we’ve had calls from people in both Tupelo and Jackson who will be in the area.”
Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Tours will be conducted rain or shine. Passengers are asked to arrive at the Tennessee Williams Home at least 10 minutes before departure time.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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