Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Lucky 13: Ghost Trails, Storytelling and Haunted Sites of Alabama

My ancestors arrived in America after the Revolution, landing in Georgia and making their way west as lands opened up after the Creek Wars. They settled in the South Alabama posts of Monroeville and St. Stephens, places that if you visit you will sense have lingering spirits of those tenacious Native Americans and early pioneers. Like most states across the South, Alabama has its share of ghosts and legends. The following is a list of 13 events compiled by the Alabama Tourism Department, which includes a tour of Old St. Stephens and the surrounding Black Belt region. If you see someone named Taylor lingering, tell him his descendants from Louisiana say “Hey.”

If you're looking for a good book of ghost stories, there are plenty. Jessica Penot relates tales in "Haunted North Alabama," while Elizabeth Parker describes the dead who walk Mobile in "Haunted Mobile: Apparitions of the Azalea City," both published by The History Press.

7th Annual “Historic Haunts Walk” — Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Held each Tuesday night in October, the walks begin at the Athens Visitors Center and includes tales of paranormal activity at 13 local structures. Hear about the college student who fell to her death and is said to still wander the halls at Athens University Founders Hall. Each walk is approximately 90 minutes. Contact Athens-Limestone County Tourism 256.232.5411 or

Ghost Stories at Rikard’s Mill— Oct. 12-13
Enjoy a pumpkin toss, pumpkin painting and relay race before gathering around a bonfire to listen to spine-chilling ghost stories at the historical Rikard’s Mill. The Haunted Swamp Trail will be open for those brave enough to wander its scary path from 6:30 – 10 p.m. each evening. Contact the Monroe County Heritage Museum at 251.575.7433 for more information.

Black Belt Ghost Trail– Self guided, year-round
Visit Alabama’s Black Belt Region to tour the popular ghost trail. The self-guided tour will take you to dozens of sites in three counties (Dallas, Perry, Wilcox) and includes restaurants, hotels, cemeteries and homes. A brochure provides a map and the haunted history of each stop on the tour. The trail also includes a site for visitors to view videos detailing the ghost stories. For brochures and more information: 334.636.5506 or 334.636.0120.

Tombigbee Haints and Haunts— Oct. 26 & 27
Participants will hear ghost stories, the coffin maker’s tale and more on this tour to the darker side of Demopolis. Local story tellers will share folklore and facts about the Tombigbee River and early inhabitants of the area. 334.289.9644.

10th Annual Haunted History of the Shoals Ghost Walk— Oct. 19-31
Participants will stroll the downtown Florence historic district with a local tour guide and author Debra Johnston Glass to be entertained with stories steeped in legend, folklore and truth. Contact Debra Glass, 256.757.7506,

Ghost Walking Tour – Fridays/Saturdays in October
Visitors have three tours to choose from and they run simultaneous. Call 256.509.3940 or visit for more information.

 Cemetery Stroll— Oct. 14
The annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll will take place on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. This event, which is free to the public, features over 70 locals dressed in period costume to tell the story of people buried at Maple Hill Cemetery. Call (256) 533-5723 for more information.

Ghost Tours, Mon.-Fri., year-round
Reservations are required: 1.800.338.5597,

Haunted Hearse Tours — Oct. 1-31. The tour visits Hank Williams’ grave in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex as well as by numerous other sites in Montgomery with “haunted” histories. Reservations, 334.514.4457. 

34th Annual Alabama Tale Tellin’ Festival— Oct. 12-13

“Haunted History Tours” — Fri., Oct. 19 & Sat., Oct. 20
Friday’s event at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park features a rare moonlit, guided tour to the town’s most haunted locations. Paranormal investigators will also demonstrate the art of ghost hunting. 334.875.7241 or 1.800.45.SELMA. Saturday features an investigation of spirits at Kenan’s Mill. Call 334.875.7241 or 1.800.45.SELMA.

St. Stephens
Old St. Stephens Historical Park, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27
Take a tour of Old St. Stephens and the cemetery as you hear tales and ghost stories of the town that was Alabama’s first territorial capital. The town is now a historical park and archaeological site in Washington County. Call 251.247.2622.

History and Haunts Trolley Tour, Oct. 27. Contact Colbert County Tourism, 256-383-0783 or

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