As Halloween approaches, the Moorestown Historical Society is hosting a series of spooky Ghost Tours that will take place on three consecutive weekends — on Friday, Oct. 14, Saturday, Oct. 15, Friday, Oct. 21, Saturday, Oct. 22, Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.
Each walking tour will begin and end at the Smith-Cadbury Mansion located at 12 High St. with stops along the tour including two graveyards and the old town jail. A smoke machine at the Smith-Cadbury Mansion, which will be decorated for Halloween, will help set the spooky mood on these nights.
Julie Maravich, the creator of the event and a Board of Trustees member of the Historical Society of Moorestown, got the idea for the ghost tours from living in Charleston, S.C., a city she recalls having hosted ghost tours nightly during the Halloween season, before moving to Moorestown in 1998. When she relocated, her new home had the “haunted” address of 666 Chester Ave.
“It was always a great conversation starter at local parties and activities. People began telling me their ghost and mystery stories, and I mentally filed them away wondering if we could string enough of them together to have a walking tour,” Maravich said. “My original tour took place on Chester Avenue and included my house, but after a few years, my husband, tired of the 100 extra house guests each weekend, helped research a tour of Main Street from Chester to Stokes Hill, including old Indian stories.”
After researching and gathering enough stories, Maravich said the tour became such a success that she has helped host it every year since. Historical Society board members, their children and friends work the tours, and they are always looking for volunteers, schools and clubs with which partner.
As the tour begins, guide, Joe Wetterling joins the crowd on the back patio wearing a long black coat and carrying a gas lantern. He tells the history of the Mansion, what the neighborhood looked like 300 years ago and all about the spooky sounds that can be heard within. The crowd then departs and walks to Main Street talking about haunted mansions along the way.
“I think the best thing about our tours is that folks get a big dose of history in a really fun way. We back up almost all of our stories with research, photos and oral histories,” Maravich said.
Participants of this year’s tours are advised to dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes and to bring several flashlights. It is also requested that attendees arrive 15 minutes early to have adequate time to purchase tickets, enjoy apple cider, popcorn and to view the current exhibit on display.
Tickets for the event are $15 for adults, $12 for society members and seniors and $10 for students. Children under the age of 6 are free, and the Historical Society will accept checks or cash only. All proceeds from the event will go toward helping the Historical Society maintain its building and pay bills.
For more information or to book large groups and private tours, contact Maravich at (856) 266–7606 or by email at email@example.com.