Most historic buildings in Emporia are off limits to the public, however, this Halloween weekend Emporians have the chance to visit and learn about six of Emporia's architectural relics.
Emporia Main Street's Haunted Historic Tours are taking place Oct. 28 and 29. These tours provide Emporians a unique opportunity to visit six historic buildings, all of which have had documented paranormal activity, according to Brandy Nance, co-founder of Flint Hills Paranormal and web content and marketing communication manager at Emporia State.
Though the tours are paranormal in nature, the main purpose is to provide Emporians with the opportunity to visit old buildings that are not open to the public and to learn about their history.
“It’s not a haunted house,” said Casey Woods, executive director of Emporia Main Street. “It’s not a jump-out-with-chainsaws-and-scare-people event. It's creepy because you are hearing real history about real things that have happened.”
Emporia Main Street has hosted this event for about 10 years. However, this is the first year that Flint Hills Paranormal has assisted. Flint Hills Paranormal is a paranormal research team that is based out of Emporia. The team provides residents of the Flint Hills with paranormal investigations free of charge.
“They have done ghost research in all of the locations and (patrons) will have access to some of their findings,” Woods said.
One tour location is the former Clinton Hotel, located at 332 Commercial St. Flint Hills Paranormal has communicated with several spirits during their investigation there.
“This was a case where something stepped forward who was there,” Nance said. “Our co-founder Linda had a former student of hers that was murdered in Butler County. We were listening to the SB-11 which runs through radio frequencies and this voice came through and said Linda's name and then it said, ‘This is Emily.’ Emily was the name of the girl.”
In addition to communicating with Emily, Flint Hills Paranormal has communicated with other spirits that reside in the building. The paranormal activity in this building could be because of its morbid past, according to Nance.
“Back in the day there were newspapers that, in order to boost readership, would post suicide notes,” Woods said. “It was considered uncouth to commit suicide in your home so they would take a train and find the closest hotel. We have a series of notes of people, lovers lost or things that have happened in their life; it seems macabre, but it’s a snapshot of the community at that time.”
Another building on the tour is 606 Commercial St. In 1894, J. R. Samuel’s moved his growing furniture and undertaking business to this building, according to The Emporia Weekly Gazette. Samuels discontinued his undertaking services in the early 1920s but his furniture business remained at this location until 1940, according to The Emporia Gazette.
“606 Commercial is the only tour location that has ever resulted in a police investigation,” Woods said. “It was an old funeral home and back in the day, funeral homes would also be furniture stores and some of them would also do taxidermy. In one of our first tours there, people found bones and it was instantly cordoned off as a crime scene.”
The bones, fortunately, were an animals.
Individuals wanting to participate in Haunted Historic Tours can purchase their ticket for $10 on Emporia Main Street’s website. Tickets are limited to 200 patrons each night. All proceeds will be distributed to several local initiatives including Journeys Inc, Flint Hills Paranormal and Kiwanis.
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