Jerome's 9th annual Ghost Walk Oct. 7-8
Theme this year is ‘Jerome Ghost Hall of Fame’
Whether it's gathered around a campfire or walking the shadowy streets of Jerome after dark, just about everyone loves a good ghost story. So if one ghost story is good, four of them in a row must be great. That's exactly what the Jerome Historical Society has planned for its Ninth Annual Ghost Walk.
The theme for this year's walk, on Oct. 7 and 8 is The Jerome Ghost Hall of Fame.
Jay Kinsella, administrative manager for the JHS, explains how it will work.
"In previous years we've done a story on an individual," Kinsella said. "Each scene that you went to was a different chapter in that individual's life."
Two recent such historical individuals featured during the Ghost Walk were Sheriff Johnny Hudgens and Madame Jennie Bauters.
"This year," Kinsella said, "we're doing each scene with a different story."
The walk will focus on the first four inductees into the Jerome Ghost Hall of Fame. And each inductee's story will be told at a different site on the walk. The first scene covers the crew of the Marion 300 Steam Shovel. The giant shovel exploded and killed two members of the four-man crew.
Ann Hopkins and Lucille Gallagher are the characters portrayed in a scene about one of these women, in a jealous rage, throwing acid at the other's face. Another scene will go into the story of Jellyroll Morton, a famous jazz musician and his wife, a famous Madame named Cuban Queen.
The final story covers the well-known ghost that haunts the Connor Hotel named Headless Charlie. Charlie keeps showing up in the hotel's guest rooms during "inappropriate" times.
But writer Michael Gallagher, who wrote the script for all of the scenes, says other ghosts will accompany the audience prior to and after they leave the Hall of Fame.
Kinsella said this is the weekend for Jerome to put some of its more infamous history on display. "It's going to really be a killer," he said.
Writing the script took Gallagher a great amount of time and research. "I was taken by the number of ghost stories in Jerome," he said. That led him to the idea of creating a hall-of-fame approach to telling Jerome's ghost stories.
Once he had read many stories, he then had to pick those that could be dramatized. Gallagher is a freelance writer who has more than 40 years being involved in regional theater.
Once the scenes were written, came the task of casting. A call went out in local newspapers. After three auditions on separate nights, a cast was selected.
"From auditions to opening night," Gallagher said, "is about a two month process." That includes six weeks of rehearsals. He said most actors showed up once a week to rehearse.
"The number one thing about the ghost walk is that we are relating the history of Jerome," Kinsella said. He explained that accuracy is critical to the historical society.
"It's a lot of research," he said. "Each year we're going to outdo ourselves.
"This year, we have some really cool special effects," Kinsella promised.
The Ghost Walk will be a little easier this year on the walking audience. It begins at Spook Hall, 260 Hull Ave., moves to the Bartlett Hotel and on to the Parade Steps on Main Street. From there, it works its way back down Jerome Avenue.
Tickets are $15 for Friday and $20 for Saturday. Shows begin every half hour from 6 p.m. until the last one begins at 11 p.m.
Tickets are available from the Mine Museum Gift Shop, 200 Main St.; The New State Motor Building, 110 Main St.; or the Jerome Historical Society office, 407 Clark St.
Call JHS at (928) 634-1066 or go online to www.jeromehistoricalsociety.com.