Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Summer tour shows off Denton’s haunts
Tours are every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 9 p.m.
John B. Denton has been dead for more than 150 years, but professional storyteller Shelly Tucker says that hasn’t kept the late pioneer and preacher from keeping a watchful eye on the city that bears his name. Standing next to Denton’s grave on the lawn of the Courthouse-on-the-Square on a muggy Thursday night, Tucker spins a yarn she heard from a close friend.
Illuminated by a string of yellow lights wrapped around a nearby tree, Tucker stares solemnly at the small, curious crowd gathered around her. She tells the crowd about her friend’s sighting of John B. Denton’s ghost – yards away from his earthly remains, the pioneer’s specter surveyed the city that bears his name.
Tucker’s tale is the first story and first stop of Denton Haunts, a tour of the city’s paranormal locales that is focusing on “scares on the Square” this summer.
“The tour is mostly for entertainment, but ghost stories aren’t just for Halloween,” she said. “Every day we wake up in a different world and there are things that go on beyond our knowing.”
The $10 tours are held every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 9 p.m., starting at the grave of John B. Denton. Tucker, Denton Haunts’ new tour guide, takes patrons on an hour-long tour of buildings on the Square, each with its own terrifying tale.
Tony Clement and his wife, Angie, took the tour after seeing it advertised.
“I’m really into history and was fascinated by some of the stories she told,” Angie said.
Although Tucker has been a Denton resident for over a decade, she said she never really knew the history of the city until she began working with the Denton Haunts tour.
In order to find ghost-inhabited spots, Tucker and others conducted extensive research at the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum and the Emily Fowler Library.
“We went through notes, newspaper clippings, and interviewed people who lived and worked at these places,” Tucker said. “From there, we just kept adding little tidbits of information.”
Stories and legends about haunted hangouts on the Square include the ghost of a young blonde girl in the basement of Andy’s Bar, and poltergeist-like activity at J & J’s Pizza.
Tucker said she can’t incorporate every story into one tour and tends to change it up on a nightly basis to make each tour unique.
For Tucker, the tour is about more than just enchanting patrons by spinning ghostly tales. She is interested in learning the stories of the spirits who roam the city.
“For whatever reason, these ghosts just like Denton,” she said. “And they should. It’s a wonderful city.”
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