‘Ghost Tour’ to bring local history to life at Brackenridge’s Prospect Cemetery
The past will come to life through the voices of the dead at Prospect Cemetery in Brackenridge.
But it is history, not fright, that is the focus of the cemetery’s annual Historical Ghost Tour, being held this year Oct. 10.
From the cemetery’s more than 17,000 graves, 13 belonging to people who died between 1863 and 1980, will be brought to life through reenactors at their gravesites, cemetery board President Cindy Homburg said.
“It’s not scary or spooky. It’s very historical,” she said. “They’ll be learning the history of the cemetery and the history of the area and the people that settled here and how they formed this town.”
Started as a walking tour in Tarentum in 2009, the Ghost Tour has been held at the cemetery since 2010.
For those who come every year, there will be some new ghosts this year, Homburg said. Among them will be Civil War soldiers, doctors, housewives, a dentist and a Girl Scout leader.
Homburg promises some surprises will be in store.
“There’s a lot of interesting people in there,” Homburg said.
Everyone will get to meet Tarentum founder and Brackenridge namesake Henry Brackenridge and his wife, Caroline.
Long-time Tarentum resident Skip Culleiton, treasurer of the Alle-Kiski Valley Historical Society, will again be portraying Brackenridge after not making it last year.
“I am Henry,” he said. “Or, at least I hope I am.”
Hugh Fox, who portrayed Brackenridge last year, this year will be Moss Nicklas, a Tarentum police officer who died in 1959, Homburg said.
Homburg researches obituaries to prepare scripts for the volunteer reenactors.
“Everything they’re saying is true fact. There’s no lies,” she said.
Culleiton, 81, a retired Alcoa chemist, lives at Concordia in Winfield.
“He’s an important person and you feel like you’re living his life,” he said of portraying Brackenridge.
“I think he’s very interesting. It gives me a chance to learn a little bit more about him.”
About 200 people came for last year’s tours, one of the biggest years it has had, Homburg said.
The tour costs $10 per person, with proceeds going toward the care of the cemetery, she said.
Participants will get a coupon for 10% off at Infuzed Bistro, a recently opened restaurant next to the cemetery.
Tours will start at 6 p.m. and the last goes out by 8:30 p.m. Groups of 10 to 12 people will go out with a guide every 10 minutes.
Those coming are advised to bring a flashlight, wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
Except for the final ghost, most of the tour is accessible, with only slight grades.
Those interested in participating are asked to register by calling the cemetery at 724-224-4552.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .