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Annual Ghost Tour set in Monongahela

| Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Susan Bowers of the Monongahela Historical Society gets set to lead the annual Candlelight Ghost Walk in Monongahela.
Jim Ference | Trib Total Media
Susan Bowers of the Monongahela Historical Society gets set to lead the annual Candlelight Ghost Walk in Monongahela.

For a city founded seven years before the country, Monongahela has history – and many historic buildings.

Much of the downtown was developed in the 18th century. And in those antique buildings, some residents have said, are stories of spirits sighted.

Retired Ringgold teacher Susan Bowers has been gathering those stories for years, and sharing them each Hallow's Eve.

The 17th annual Candlelight Ghost Walk, sponsored by the Monongahela Area Historical Society will be conducted on consecutive weekends, Oct. 10-11 and Oct. 17-18.

Tours meet at Chess Park beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night.

Bowers leads the tours, stopping to tell tales of ghost sightings in some of the city's historic buildings.

On the consecutive Saturdays, a VIP tour will be included in addition to the regular walks.

At the end of the ghost walk, those on the VIP tour will make a stop at 808 West Main St., the former home of John Blythe, 19th century architect who designed many of the Victorian homes and churches along the city's West Main Street.

The tour by the current owners of the house, Dr. Tom Soltis and Chris Somales, includes a map of all sightings. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served by Chef Somales. Tour participants are welcome to stay afterward for a group discussion. Bowers says last year, participants brought cameras and captured strange reflections in the mirrors and orbs in their photo-graphs.

“You get to go into one of the most haunted homes and the owners tell stories that have happened since they moved in,” Bowers said. “You get to tour all three floors at your leisure Visitors have reported odd sounds and smells in the house and even visions of Blythe.

There are new stories again this year. Asked for details, Bowers said one story includes not only human spirits but animals moving objects.

Bowers was first motivated to create the ghost walk after returning from a ghost walk in Gettysburg.

“Returning home from one of those trips, I thought, ‘We have old homes in town too,'” Bowers said. “After digging around – no pun intended – I discovered some stories and it just snowballed from there.”

People still approach her with stories.

“We get a lot of our stories from people who will tell us one of their relatives lived there and they remember something strange occurring there,” Bowers said.

“When people bring cameras, we have had them send us images they have captured, both in and outside homes.”

The cost is $10 for regular walk and $25 for VIP tour. Reservations can be made by calling 724-258-2377.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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