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Bayard Wootten arranges her camera to take photos and tell her story at last year’s 22nd Annual New Bern GhostWalk. Wootten was a New Bern native.

Photo by New Bern Historical Society

New Bern hosts 23rd annual GhostWalk

24 Oct 2013 | Story by Pfc. Grace Waladkewics

The ghosts of New Bern will come to life Oct. 24-26 for the 23rd year in a row to tell their stories and the tales of the city’s rich history to anyone brave enough to listen.

The New Bern GhostWalk is an annual event hosted by the New Bern Historical Society. The walk offers patrons the chance to tour 17 locations around the city, at the same time learning the history and hearing stories of the ghosts who supposedly haunt those sites including homes, gardens and cemeteries.

This year’s “Haunted Housewives of New Bern” theme will be acted out by more than 50 actors and actresses while the tours will be conducted with the help of more than 180 volunteers.

“This theme was chosen because it felt current and it gave a lot of material to draw from the characters,” said Lynne Harakal, the executive director of the New Bern Historical Society. ”The event is family friendly and in addition to the ghost venues, historic churches and a synagogue are open to tour.”

The event began 23 years ago as a night time tour of the city’s historic homes. Over time, the tour has evolved and ghosts have been added to create the frightful tour focused on the town’s ghosts and their stories, said Harakal.

Rev. Ethel Belle Sampson, an actress in the event, is a descendent of Mary Ann Starkey, a freed black woman who worked with Abraham Galloway and the United States Colored Troops in an effort to gain freedom for slaves.

“I am so excited to be involved in this historical event, volunteering is in my blood,” said Sampson. “It is so important for people to learn the history and to experience a taste of those who came before them.”

Some of the ghosts who will return to life include Josephine Bradham, Fanny Taylor and Bayard Wootten along with many more distraught and unsettled souls.

GhostWalk tickets can be purchased at participating locations or online at http://newbernhistorical.org/ghostwalk/. Adult tickets are $20 on the day of the events, active duty, dependents and students with current identification cards are $10, children 3-12 years old are $5 and children 3 and under are free. GhostWalk tickets are redeemable for any of the three evenings.

Tours will begin tonight and will be conducted from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Oct. 25 and 26 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point