That light you knew you shut off is on…a door slams in the basement when no one else is home and the night is still, without the slightest hint of a draft…maybe you notice that the stairs you’re walking up suddenly have developed a cold spot that’s undeniable…or maybe the key you lost suddenly shows up on your dresser, kitchen table or a place you come into contact with so frequently that you know it can’t be excused as a coincidence.
If these types of things get your attention because they’re unexplainable…you can expect more of the same on the Haunted Downtown Tour that begins Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 pm and then again at 9 pm. More tour dates are scheduled… continue reading. Reservations are necessary for ideal experiences, many of which have been captured in camera images taken by tourists.
Photographer Tom Neumeyer, one of the tour guides, said that some people are more sensitive than others and that adds to the adventure of the tour. “Cape is blessed with all ages of impish and mischievous ghosts. Some are seen…but it’s usually more about what they do. Others are detectable because of an aroma,” said Tom.
This in-demand tour that has been going on for several years is given by individuals with backgrounds in education and history. Tom Neumeyer is the author and photographer of a new book, “Cape Girardeau Then and Now, a photographic history of the city.” Christy Mershon is the assistantdirector of Extended & Continuing Education and has an extensive background in educational programming. The two have been doing research and developing the tour for years. “There are lots of interesting stories. And people are more interested in their local stories than the ones on TV that have taken place in other states,” said Tom.
The tour is a walking loop that begins at the Boardman Pavilion (across from Hutson’s Furniture) on Main St. in downtown Cape and travels along Spanish and Lorimier Streets to the River Campus and then back to the Pavilion. Covering landmark buildings, the tour includes the parts of the River Campus where some pretty odd things have happened. The story goes way back to when the building was a seminary for young men. It seems that Henry, the gardener, who was a hired hand at the seminary and probably buried there, repeatedly visited there after his death. The numerous tales of Henry and his failure to leave the building, became part of freshman initiation.
But the need for prior residents now residing elsewhere to interact with occupants in the old seminary building has never ceased. While the River Campus was under renovation, lots of strange things began happening. Workmen’s tools were found in rooms they were not put away in. And the art department especially had some strange goings-on. I guess you’ll have to sign up for the tour to find out exactly what they were.
Your tour guides get into character with period costumes from the late 1800s–complete with lanterns, for effect. Tom said Christy’s character is a little strange, but he would not embellish on that. Feel free to bring your own flashlight so you don’t miss a thing. Christy and Tom have a core tour they follow but try to vary the tour according to the crowd and its spirit of adventure. The emphasis is on fun.
“The people we host, we learn from them too,” said Tom. “Two years ago we learned a little about things going on in the Common Pleas Courthouse that neither of us knew anything about.”
Additional tour dates are set for Saturdays, October 1 and 15, at 7 and 9 pm, just as the September tour date mentioned earlier. Groups of 8 or more can schedule a private tour if they so desire. Contact the Office of Continuing Education at SEMO University at 986-6879 for reservations. Bring your camera. You might get a photo that documents the presence of an orb or maybe something a little different…
By Chris Pagano of ILuvLocalPlaces