This year marks the sixth year that people from all over the region will come to downtown Cynthiana to walk the streets into the history of our city. The Cynthiana Ghost Walk, started six years ago by local storytellers, is closing in on over 6,000 participants and has attracted visitors from states as far away as Arkansas and New Orleans.
One of the founders of the Ghost Walk, Roger Slade, has been as surprised as anyone else at the success. “It started out as a hobby of mine. I remember as a kid that me and my friends were always trying to scare each other with spooky stories. I knew the stories well and one day my partner came in and told me that he had put an ad in the paper for a Ghost Walk and we were going to be starting it on Friday.” Slade went on to describe that first walk, “When we came out of the theater, there were over 50 people waiting for that first one. It’s been non-stop every year and just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
The success of the Ghost Walk is in the storytelling excellence of the staff. They incorporate a lot of history of Cynthiana, a walk to (and into) some of the neatest buildings the town has to offer, and the good stories. They tell of the death of Harry Bailey, go into the old jail and tell of David Sheely and his ghost, stop by the old log cabin, talk about the ghost boy in the 1812 building, and describe the strange happenings in the Seldon Renaker Inn. Then it is back to the Rohs Opera House which has been rated by most as the most haunted theater in Kentucky and one of the most haunted buildings in the state. There participants sit through a presentation of audio, picture, and video evidence.
“We have people take our walk that don’t believe in ghosts and some that do.” Slade said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever changed anyone’s mind but everyone has a lot of fun. People who are into history enjoy that part of it and people who are into ghosts enjoy that part.”
If you are interested, the Cynthiana Ghost Walk runs Saturday’s in September at 9 p.m. In October they will run Friday and Saturday’s starting at 7, 8, and 9 p.m. Prices are $9 for adults and $5 for children. It is not recommended for small children.
“Even if you’ve taken it before,” Slade added, “it changes a little each year. The stories outside don’t really change but we’re always getting new evidence for the inside part.” They hope to reach 6,000 participants this year.