Review: Spirits haunt Florence in ghost walk

A girl dressed as a ghost stands in front of the Wakefield house off of Court St. in downtown Florence. The Ghostly Faces from the Past ghost tour took participants to other locations such as UNA’s Off Campus Bookstore and Pope’s Tavern. 

News Editor Kaitlyn Davis

I stepped onto the sidewalk of Wilson Park Oct. 13, ready to ghost hunt.

The bright moon peeking out from behind the cloudy night sky and the cool October breeze created the perfect atmosphere for the Ghostly Faces from the Past Florence Ghost Walk.

With my scaredy-cat mother in tow, we followed tour guide Debra Glass around downtown Florence as she told us about the ghosts who still haunt the city. At each stop along the way, a different ghost appeared much to my mom’s horror.

We started off at Wilson Park with a story about Ryan Piano Co. which Glass now owns.

Former owner Mr. Ryan died of a heart attack at the desk in the old music school, located off of Tennessee St., Glass said.

But death has not stopped him from greeting those who come through the door.

Glass discovered this one night as she was sitting at the deathbed desk, and a voice surprised her by uttering a simple “Hello.”

A former piano player myself, I’ve always been curious about the business. However, Glass’ storytelling quenched my thirst for knowledge about the place.

The ghost who appeared on this stop, Mr. Ryan, awkwardly crept around the crowd and could not even coax a slight yelp from my mother.

My favorite stop on the ghostly journey was UNA’s Off Campus Bookstore where we became acquainted with the spirit Molly.

The ghost presented herself as an eerie child dressed in a ruffled dress whose vacant expression definitively gave both my mom and me the creeps.

Molly died in the upstairs room of the bookstore. She lost her life after playing with a dog who had rabbis and contracting the disease herself, Glass said.

From a boarding house to a fraternity house, the bookstore has a colorful history.

Kappa Sigma members, bookstore workers, even students in a 1950s homecoming parade, have spotted Molly inside or outside the building. Molly asks those she encounters if they’ve seen her dog, Glass said.

Feel free to think about that the next time you are trying to score a deal on a textbook.

We also heard ghoulish stories at Trowbridges, the O’Neil home and Wakefield home, both off of Court St., Pope’s Tavern and Regions Bank.

As a parting gift, Glass kindly told the crowd at the end of the tour, “The one time that I did see Mr. Ryan, and I’ve only seen him once, was at my house. So, they can follow you places.”

Halloween is my favorite holiday, and for $15 the ghost walk was the perfect way to kick off the season’s festivities.

The tour delivered a dose of creepy tales mixed with a shot of Florence’s history.

I suggest catching the Ghostly Faces from the Past tour next time on Oct. 20. Check out the Florence Ghost Walk’s website for more information.