Shaded against the backdrop of a modern downtown and surrounded by SUVs, the past came back to life in the midday sun at the 13th annual Kit Carson Trail Ghost Walk in Carson City on Saturday.
The 90-minute walking tours gave locals and visitors alike the chance to decide for themselves if the ghosts of those past still inhabit the buildings of the historic downtown.
The walk, titled Season of the Witch, began with a warning from the Queen of the Damned, who along with her gruesome followers, told visitors to be wary of the evil eye.
The brave souls could take either the Spells Tour or the Superstition Tour, passing by a variety of local haunts, including the home said to be haunted by a white-haired man resembling Samuel Clemens, who mourned the loss of his niece to spotted fever on the second floor. Some passed the Bliss Mansion or heard the tale of the bride ghost at Ferris Mansion or learned the truth about witches at the Stewart-Nye House.
Professor Jacquelyn O'Lantern held lessons at the Kelly-Schultz House on the origins of Halloween, trick-or-treating and Jack-o-lanterns. Among her lessons, when a ghost is around flames will turn blue and people born on Halloween have a unique ability - they can communicate with the dead.
Karen Chandler, who played Professor O'Lantern, said she enjoys being a part of the Ghost Walk.
"I am a theater teacher and all the performers are trained theater artists. It's nice for us because we get to write our own pieces and do our own research, plus being a 30-year resident I have a vested interest in it," said Chandler.
More than 2,000 people took one of the 22 total tours offered Saturday, making it a banner year for the event.
"It is a record-breaking year for us," said Joy Evans, events coordinator for the Carson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "I think the advertising and word of mouth has gotten out that this is a quality event."
The walk is organized by the Carson City Redevelopment Authority and Carson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau with theatrical help provided by the Brüka Theatre in Reno.
Evans said the event has become so popular additional tours will be added next year to help accommodate the larger crowds.
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.