Alternative Halloween Tour Provides Historical Twist

Ashlee Gilley

Ghosts. Zombies. Finals. All of these are things that people are afraid of in this day and age, but have you ever been curious as to what scared people in the past? Stranger than Fiction, a tour that takes place at the Davenport House Museum in Savannah, is all about what frightened people in the early nineteenth century.

Inside each of the three different settings will be costumed actors such as a reverend and a doctor discussing whether or not ghosts exist, a free man of color talking about conjuring and the spirit world in the African American community and a group of ladies discussing spiritualism and what happens to us after we die.

This is an original experience and it was created by one of the Davenport House Museum’s employees, Raleigh Marcell. Over the course of a year Marcell spent his free time researching the time period, actual documented literature of things that happened around Savannah, and then based this experience off of the actual accounts from the literature.

When asked what he wanted the audience to take away from the experience one thing Marcell said was, “that they were able to experience the ambiance of a 195 year old house by candlelight, to share, if only briefly, the living spaces of those long departed.”

“In October, Savannah is filled with a great number of people seeking an experience ‘out of the ordinary,’ so we devised a show highlighting those extraordinary ideas and things that people living in the 1820’s would have experienced,” said Marcell, when asked how he came up with the idea.

The 1820s is the Davenport House’s main focus. Marcell said that having one of his creations open to the public is both “anxiety filled and exciting.”

“Some stuff people believed back then was stranger than fiction,”Jamie Credle, director of the Davenport House Museum, said, explaining how the experience got its name. Credle goes on to say that the preparations took about “six weeks including casting” and everything else involved.

The tour is about 90 minutes long and starts everyone off in one big group where they watch an audio visual program about the things that frightened people back in the nineteenth century. After the presentation ends, they are divided into three smaller groups and each group is sent off to one of the three different settings.

Patrons can feel free to dress casually, they definitely won’t be turned away if they aren’t dressed to the nines, and are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes because they will be required to climb up and down stairs, maneuver through candlelit rooms and walk between each of the buildings. Due to the limited size of the audience reservations are recommended to make sure you get a spot.

The tour is being held every Friday and Saturday in the month of October and will begin at 7:30 p.m. If you want to save a little money (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) tickets that are purchased in advance will be $22 compared to tickets being bought at the door which will be $25.

If this sounds like a good alternative for those of you who want a little less ‘scary’ in your Halloween festivities you can contact the Davenport House Museum you can call (912) 236-8097 or go to their website at davenporthousemuseum.org.