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Get into the Halloween spirit with Cynthiana’s Ghost Walk, hunt

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By Joshua Shepherd

“Hey, you want to hear something really spooky?” The Cynthiana Ghost Walk returns for a seventh season!
A good ghost story never gets old, Roger Slade, one of the Ghost Walk’s organizers, said. These stories are an integral part of the enduring popularity of the Cynthiana Ghost Walk.
Early evening rain showers couldn’t keep visitors from around the local area, and even some international guests, from taking part in the ghost walk’s opening weekend. In fact, the starless black sky with occasional flares of lightning gave the walk an even better atmosphere in which to relate Cynthiana’s most famous ghost stories.
Most of the participants at the 8 p.m. showing Saturday night were first timers.
Slade said that he is constantly surprised by the response people have to the event.
Most haunted tours are held in larger cities which have a tourist trade from which to draw. But Cynthiana’s reputation as one of the more haunted towns in Kentucky makes the  area a natural attraction for thrill seekers and ghost hunting enthusiasts, Slade said.
Another significant advantage that Cynthiana has over other standard haunted tours is the opportunity for folks to have their own haunted encounter at the Rohs Opera House.
According to Slade, the Opera House is considered one of Kentucky’s most haunted places, alongside Waverley Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, and the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, among others.
“A lot of old theaters and movie houses seem to become haunted places,” James Smith said. Smith is a co-owner of Rohs Opera House and runs the presentation concerning the the theater’s hauntings.
He could offer no explanation why theaters are popular with spirits. However, since the Ghost Walk has included visits to the old theater building, a few of their visitors have told of their own ghostly encounters.
A woman wrote that when she was listening to the Rohs presentation, her child kept asking to play with the little boy he claimed was standing near the entrance door. She could see no child at the door, but her son continued to claim that he could see the child. Others have talked of cold spots or other types of sightings.
Visitors savor the opportunity to hear evidence of what Smith and others claim to be genuine paranormal events, including photographs, videos, and vocal recordings which they have collected in their various ghost hunts.
Included in the presentation is footage of the famous “Shadowman” that has attracted the attention of ghost hunter organizations across the country.
There are also the Lady in White pictures of whom sightings have been reported for years, Smith said.
Visitors will have to decide for themselves if the evidence is convincing, Smith said.
The first hour of the tour features dramatic re-tellings of many of the famous haunted stories that have been passed down through generations of Harrison County residents.
It is an entertaining hour and highlights many of downtown Cynthiana’s most historic buildings. Even for those skeptical about the paranormal, the tour is a valuable profile of the past and how culture has changed from the 19th to the 21st century.
Those who want more than the 20-minute presentation can inquire about arrangement for a personal Rohs Opera House Ghost Hunts with the owners anytime throughout the year.
“We run many of these ourselves because we’re fascinated by what we’ve been able to gather. There are also going to be ghost hunts run by other organizations here in the next year in which people can participate,” Smith said.
Through his own experiences, Smith said that they record most supernatural events when the Opera House has been busy rather than empty. Activity seems to stir them up, he said.
The ghost tour will run every Friday and Saturday night at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. through October. If there is enough demand, the tour may run into the first weekend of November.