HJC hosting Ghost Tales Thursday

Published 11:57pm Saturday, October 20, 2012

The No. 1 question I am asked as the director of Historic Jefferson College is not “how old are the buildings?” or “what famous alumni went to school here?” but instead, is “have you ever seen any ghosts?”

I have spent many, many hours roaming all over the grounds and buildings of HJC, both before and after dark, and I even live on the grounds in one of the older buildings. I’ve seen many usual things, from families of skunks ambling around the live oaks to strange reflections in the windows to a guy trying to do drill maneuvers in full Confederate gear (by himself).

There’s no doubt that this can be a creepy place after the lights go out and the sun has sunk, leaving scratchy tree limbs blowing in the breeze, and strange, unidentified animal grunts, squeaks and calls. In Jefferson College’s 200-plus years of existence, there have been several deaths of both staff and students on the grounds and in the buildings, and we even have a graveyard on the premises!

But have I ever seen a ghost out here? I think I’ll let you make that determination, by inviting you out to one of my favorite annual events — Ghost Tales Around the Campfire.

Ghost Tales is family-friendly program in which local storytellers regale visitors with not-too-scary stories, while gathered around the traditional autumn bonfire.

This year, however, we are going to be doing something that is not at all traditional: we’ll be following up the ghost tales with an after-dark Halloween duck hunt!

Rubber ducks, in the shapes of various monsters, witches, werewolves, ghosts and more will be hidden in designated areas on the grounds.

Kids and their parents are invited to search for these adorable prizes with a flashlight, and they get to keep all the ducks they find. A separate area for younger kids will be roped off in a section with a little more light.

Ghost Tales starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the grassy bowl next to the visitors center. Please bring a blanket or chair, in addition to your flashlights, and because of our warm fall, bug spray is also recommended. In the event of rain, the storytelling will move into the West Wing. Please follow the signs for parking.

Thanks to our sponsors this event is free of charge, and open to all ages.

Historic Jefferson College was chartered in 1802, making it Mississippi’s oldest institute of higher learning. Classes started here in 1811, but the school finally closed its doors for good in 1964. In 1972, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History began restoration work on the buildings and grounds, and it’s been an ongoing project ever since then!

We are located off U.S. 61, approximately four miles northeast of Natchez, in the little town of Washington. For more information about Ghost Tales or the duck hunt, or any of our other programs, please contact me at 601-442-2901 or info@historicjeffersoncollege.com.

 

Robin Person is the branch director of Historic Jefferson College.