Friday, October 12, 2012
Ghost tours spur tourism, historical interest in Denton
I ain't afraid of no ghost.
DENTON The Denton Haunts tours invite residents and visitors to explore Denton and some of its haunted history.
The tours start at John B. Denton’s grave on the Square Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 9 p.m.
Communication studies professor Shaun Treat began the tours last October, emphasizing that he wanted to focus more on the historical aspect of the stories.
However, when his schoolwork increased, Shelly Tucker, a professional storyteller validated through the Texas Commission on the Arts, began to help him.
“It was meant to be a limited thing,” Treat said. “But she convinced me to keep it going. It’s like telling a joke. No two people tell it the same.”
Tucker said she went to one of Treat’s tours and kept in contact with him afterward. When she found out he was going to stop doing tours because of his work, she offered to step in.
Tucker said people from Carrollton, Houston, and Austin have traveled to Denton to take part in the tour.
“We’re preserving history,” she said. “It is also entertainment and a tourist job. It brings money to town. They go to other businesses. I haven’t had someone not go to another shop or restaurant.”
Tour attendance varies, Tucker said. Sometimes there are 40 people waiting for her by John B. Denton’s grave, while other nights she is alone. Tucker said she mainly updates people about the tours through Facebook.
UNT alumna Rebecca Pena attended the tour after returning from a trip to New Orleans, where she went on another ghost town tour. Pena said she began communicating with Tucker through Facebook and found it helpful.
“When she said meet me at the grave, I was like, ‘What grave, there is a grave there?’” Pena said.
After taking the tour, Pena said she is more interested in Denton now than she was before.
“It’s a college town,” Pena said. “But adding in this paranormal stuff and history makes it more fun for people to come and visit.”
Laura Douglas, public services librarian at the Emily Fowler Library, said Treat and Tucker came to the library to look up information about Denton legends.
“It was a nice way to incorporate Denton history with mythology so people who are interested in one would get part of the other,” Douglas said.
Douglas said the library houses a section dedicated to local history.
“We’ve had people researching legends, trying to approve or disapprove them,” she said. “And people who think their house is haunted. It’s a good draw for people to come into the library.”
Douglas herself said she sometimes gets goosebumps, but doesn’t know if it’s because of hauntings or the cold.
“I can’t say I don’t believe, but I can’t say I don’t disbelieve ghost stories exist,” Douglas said.
Tickets for the tour are $10.
For more information, visit Denton Haunts on Facebook.
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