Ghosts to haunt ‘Boro tours

William Price

Statesboro’s most haunted stories and locations will be told through first-hand accounts from ghosts as the Averitt Center for the Arts brings back its annual and student-loved Ghost Tours event.

“The tours are a really fun way to get to know Statesboro and get a good thrill out of it,” Brian Coote, tour director of the event and senior theatre major at Georgia Southern University, said.

The tours run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night at the Averitt Center in downtown Statesboro. Tickets are $8 per person.

“People who have lived in Statesboro all their lives have enjoyed it; college students love it as well. It’s a great event,” Kate Fitch, public relations director at the Averitt Center and the primary founder of the event, said.

“We’ve jazzed the event up a bit last year and this year,” Coote said.

We’re adding more ghosts and a new location in the past two years to bring in more people and keep the event fresh, Coote said.

The walking tours venture to different haunted places in downtown Statesboro where guests will meet individuals dressed as ghost characters from the past and hear their stories.

Places visited on the tour include the Beaver House, the Statesboro Inn, Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce and the newest addition, the Old Sanitarium.

“Each place is definitely a little more spooky after you hear the stories,” Coote said.

“We’ve been running this event for three years; the original purpose was to entertain the Georgia Literary Festival delegates who came in town for Halloween weekend,” Tim Chapman, executive director of the Averitt Center, said.

“The event was made for the delegates, but we had a huge local turnout so we decided to continue the event,” Chapman said.

“Tours are historical in nature but definitely have moments of spookiness,” Chapman said.

Visitors will be introduced to the ghost of J.A. Brannen, the first mayor of Statesboro, as well as Mella McDougald, family to the founder of the Beaver House, John McDougald.

“I’ve been volunteering from the start, and I love it,” Shari Barr, actress who plays the ghost of Mella McDougald, said.

The Beaver House is easily the most haunted place in Statesboro, Barr said.

“The House is very, very old, about 100 years old; several past family members loved the house so much they came back from the other side,” Barr said.

“The tours are more focused on the history of Statesboro rather than trying to scare you, so they’re great for most ages,” Fitch said.

The tours are different from most ghost tours in that you actually get to go inside most of the places you visit, rather than just look at them from outside. It makes it very unique, Fitch said.

The stories are also very specific with plenty of facts and historical evidence, which is very different from other ghost tours where the stories are very vague, Fitch said.

Fitch said, “It’s really a good mix of learning the history of Statesboro and getting a kick out of some of its more haunted past.”