Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fort offering ghostly tours

October 18, 2006

Ghost stories can be scary.

And a haunted house walking tour can be scarier yet.

Haunted House Walking Tour

7 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 28

¢ Tour starts at the Zais Park gazebo, on Grant Avenue.

¢ Tickets, $5, must be purchased in advance, at the Frontier Army Museum, Fort Leavenworth.

¢ Wear comfortable walking shoes, carry a flashlight.

¢ For more information, call Jeanne Witsken, (913) 680-1841. Halloween lecture

¢ A free program in which Fort Leavenworth historian John Reichley will talk about the fort's ghosts, will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27.

¢ This event is in Fort Leavenworth's Bell Hall, and children are invited to attend.

¢ "Spooky stuff for kids starts 10 minutes before the program," Reichley said.

Note: All vehicles entering Fort Leavenworth must stop at the main gate. Driver and passengers over age of 16 must show photo identification.

In fact it might be just the thing for a pre-Halloween thrill.

On Saturday, the Friends of the Frontier Army Museum's first walking tour of Fort Leavenworth's haunted houses will start at 7 p.m. The tour will be repeated at 7 p.m. Oct. 28. Tickets, $5, must be obtained in advance.

Jeanne Witsken, one of the organizers of the tour, credits John Reichley for the tour. It's based on a book he wrote, "The Haunted Houses of Fort Leavenworth."

A believer now

Reichley, 67, is retired from the military and active in the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society.

When asked if he believed in ghosts, Reichley said, "I do now. I didn't. I've never seen one."

He became convinced after hearing first-hand accounts of unusual sightings from people who live and work at Fort Leavenworth.

"The thing that has convinced me is the type of people," Reichley said. "We're not talking paranormal enthusiasts. We are talking full colonels in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps."

About five years ago, the wife of a three-star general told Reichley that, for no apparent reason, books fell out of a bookcase in the middle of the night.

He investigated and learned the house had been built over an old cemetery.

Ghostly events

The tour may make raise the hair on your arms, and send chills up your spine.

But it's not an "in-your-face" frightful experience, Witsken said.

The tour includes 10 stops, some outside of occupied homes, one at an office and another at the old disciplinary barracks, which closed in 2004 when a new one was built.

"An MP will tell eyewitness accounts of what he saw going on then in the old disciplinary barracks," Witsken said. "Screaming in the elevator shaft, a ghostly figure being pushed in a wheelchair by another ghostly figure."

Then there's guard tower No. 8, said to have been abandoned because it was haunted.

And, of course, Reichley will come along, at least long enough to give a 10-minute introduction. That's long enough, he said with a chuckle, to explain "why 10 percent of them won't return to the starting point."

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