A tour of another world

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NATCHEZ — The month of October seems to bring forth certain changes in our community. The leaves morph into gorgeous shades, the heat of summer wanes and — for those who believe — goblins and ghosts begin to do their little dance with the authority only Halloween can bring.

One local Natchez man encourages that ghostly boogie though.

Natchez Ghost Tours guide Eric Williams gives one-hour nightly tours through Natchez, informing guests of the city’s haunted history. Williams, a Missouri native who moved to Natchez two years ago, has been researching local haunts for four years. Based on similar tours in Savannah and New Orleans, Williams began his Natchez tour on July 1.

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The tour starts at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center. Locals, as well as tourists, load the ghost tours bus with high hopes of seeing ghostly apparitions.

Bill Post and his wife Janet, of Florida, appeared excited to be on the tour last week.

“We wanted to see a ghost and we thought this would be a great place,” Post said.

Other tour participants became interested in the tour because of past experiences. Bill Fischer, also of Florida, has had previous ghostly encounters, he said.

“I was probably 13,” Fischer said,

“There was an old abandoned house and four of us saw the same thing. Something came out of the front window. We thought it was the draperies, but when we got to the window, it was boarded up.”

The first stop on the tour last week was at an old bank on Franklin Street. Guests are allowed to enter the bank and take photographs as Williams relates supernatural experiences he and others have had.

“I had a carpenter, John Cooper, with a small dog that would follow him everywhere,” Williams said.

“Whenever John would go to the basement, his dog would not follow him.”

During this portion of the tour, Williams shares a recording he made in the basement of the bank. A faint voice can be heard on the tape. Guests decide for themselves if the voice is of this world or not.

The hour and a half tour takes riders to several landmarks in Natchez. Old homes in such as The Towers and Linden are riddled with questionable occurrences.

“There are five ghosts that haunt Linden,” Williams said.

Yet another haunted landmark in Natchez is the City Cemetery. Here, guests are allowed to depart the bus and get a closer look at the cemetery.

The tour ended without a ghostly appearance, but guests did take home history lessons from the City of Natchez.

And Kathy Fischer claims that she did indeed capture a ghost on her digital camera — holding her camera out to show the ghost painted on the side of the tour bus.

Natchez Ghost Tours runs daily at 7 p.m. For tickets call 601-445-4515 or 601-446-6345.