'Amish Mafia Tour' planned in Lancaster
LANCASTER — Local author and historian Brad Igou is sure the hit television show “Amish Mafia” is a farce — and he's willing to prove it.
Igou, president of The Amish Experience in Bird-in-Hand, said his newest attraction will bust the myths surrounding the Discovery series that's breaking network records.
The “Amish Mafia Tour” will reveal filming locations and debunk specific claims made on the series.
Most area residents — Amish and English — seem to have opinions about Discovery's portrayal of a Lancaster County-based gang of violent Plain-sect protectors.
Igou said he hopes his tour will set the record straight. He gave a preview last week.
Igou, a reputable author on Amish culture, says he dissected more than 75 statements from the show, which recently wrapped its first season to many rave reviews. (Filming for season two is ongoing.)
It's not that people are watching that bothers Igou — it's that people are believing.
“People don't know what to think,” he said. “They really don't know what's true and what isn't.”
The tour, expected to open April 1, will visit filming locations and an Amish elder while a guide explains Hollywood's fascination with the culture.
“We think a lot of people curious because they saw ‘Amish Mafia' will probably come here,” Igou predicted. “We can use that curiosity.”
Residents have noticed the show's characters and camera crews across the county.
Esther, the group's female influence, was spotted Monday in East Lampeter; boss “Lebanon Levi” popped up in several locations last week in New Holland.
“We observed the characters being filmed here,” New Holland police Lt. Jonathan Heisse said, confirming a crew was at a vacant apartment building at Grant Street and Brimmer Avenue and at New Holland Sales Stables.
Igou and other tour contributors expect the attraction to mimic the show's success.
“We are a business, and not doing it just because,” Igou said candidly. “We think it will be pretty successful.”
What Igou and several local Amish folks found particularly offensive about the show was its mention of the attack at West Nickel Mines School in 2006. Five Amish girls were killed and five others seriously wounded when an English neighbor seized the single-room school and opened fire.
The show refers to that event as an example of Amish vulnerability and their need for protection from “outsiders.” Amish rarely summon police, the show claimed.
“(The reference to) Nickel Mines was probably most offensive,” Igou said. “The Amish reaction (to the shootings) was exactly the opposite.”
There was no thirst for revenge and outrage against English people, Igou said. Amish from the Nickel Mines community expressed forgiveness to the shooter's family almost immediately.
Other show “myths” expected to be challenged on the tour:
• Amish never hold a pitchfork upside down because it signifies the devil.
• Only Amish can operate roadside produce stands.
• Amish use only push mowers.
• Amish believe that females won't go to heaven if they die while not wearing prayer coverings.
Igou said he introduced the tour two weeks ago with a blast email to numerous travel/tourism groups.
“Within 15 minutes, I had a (customer) on the phone,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
- 2 charged with murder in fatal Philly carjacking
- Pennsylvania working to correct upgrade to welfare benefit applications
- Mother, maternal grandparents charged in abuse of Mercer County boy
- Upper St. Clair family’s efforts pay off as governor signs Down syndrome education bill
- Armed doctor’s actions in Philly shooting reinvigorates debate on gun-carry
- Corbett, Wolf rush to counter flurry of attack ads
- Pennsylvania sued by U.S. over police fitness tests