Historic Haunt-Horn in the West provides spooky backdrop for old-school drama

Article Published: Oct. 22, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Historic Haunt-Horn in the West provides spooky backdrop for old-school drama

The October nights are getting longer, and as Halloween approaches, so does the annual Haunted Horn.

The attraction, hosted by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association on the Horn in the West grounds in Boone, features a spooktacular array of attractions, exhibits, and dramatic incidents.

The haunted trail storyline is scripted by Freda Greene, with actors from the Appalachian State University Teaching Fellows program portraying movie icons and classic horror creatures like mummies and vampires.

Those attending will take a tour of the haunted backstage area, with surprises, shocks, and a little bit of tasteful gore. While some of the actors will portray characters from modern horror movies, there will be some old-school chills as well.

There will be some Civil War re-enactors in recognition of Stoneman's Raid and alleged ghostly activity surrounding the invasion of Watauga County by Union troops.

Greene said the script changes a little each year. "There's a little more to it this year, a lot more special effects, lighting and sound," she said.

"It's going to be well worth $10 to have a good time."

The Horn in the West and Hickory Ridge Homestead grounds already have a generous share of ghost stories. SAHA promotions director Virginia Roseman said she has heard a male voice call out from the empty cabin used for weaving, and the Tatum Cabin is the reported site of other paranormal activity.

One woman had her hat knocked off while she was walking beneath a loft, where legends say children who had died from disease were stored during the winter because the ground was too frozen for burial. Davy Davis, a curator of the living history museum, said he saw "Old Man Tatum's" spirit.

According to the tale, when Davis called out to the ghost to make him welcome, the spirit faded and Davis hasn't seen it since.

Roseman said actors in the Horn in the West outdoor drama have reported hearing voices backstage, and on misty nights people have reported hearing the voices of Charlie Elledge and Glen Causey, too long-time actors with the drama.

Roseman said it's an example of a "residual haunt," where an event lingers long afterward. "I've never heard it, but I've had at least 30 people tell me they've heard it on misty nights," she said.

The trail is held nightly from about 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. or later each night, and the tour takes between 30 to 45 minutes. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students with I.D., and $5 for ages 9 to 12.

The trail is not recommended for ages 8 and under, and people are advised to wear good walking shoes "because you will be chased."

The Haunted Horn will provide a play area for children, and the concession stand will be open. A percentage of proceeds go toward ASU Teaching Fellows scholarships and community projects.

Haunted Horn nights are Oct. 22 through 24 and Oct. 28 through 31. For more information, call (828) 264-2120.

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