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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Reichley: Haunted walk of post features real ghosts

  • Aaaoooooouuuuuuuuuuhhh! Tis the season for loud, scary, and often inexplicable sounds in the dark of night, attributed by some as the ghosts that haunt Fort Leavenworth.
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  • Aaaoooooouuuuuuuuuuhhh! Tis the season for loud, scary, and often inexplicable sounds in the dark of night, attributed by some as the ghosts that haunt Fort Leavenworth.
    The fort has been around for 185 years now, and no one I've talked to knows how long the ghosts have been there. Many are unseen, some are heard, and all are felt by the residents of certain sets of quarters, or houses as civilians call them.
    For 21 years the executive boards of the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society asked me to present its annual October program, a narrated slide show about some of the quarters and the ghosts inside them.
    Then six years ago a new board was elected, and decided that ghosts weren't historical and discontinued the invitations. In its heyday the program drew 800-900 people into Eisenhower Auditorium in the now demolished Bell Hall. The program was free, and people travelled for miles to see and hear it.
    After almost every performance people came backstage to tell me of things that happened in the quarters they had lived in for a while, which allowed new material for the next presentation.
    But, ghost lovers, do not despair. When that program ended, another, radically different, one was begun. The Friends of the Frontier Army Museum (FFAM), known for many years as the Musettes, decided to carry ghost watching one step more.
    In fact, a couple of miles of steps more. Enterprising members of the FFAM developed a walking tour of some of the well known haunted quarters. In the early years it was a logistical nightmare as walking guides were needed, but few people knew enough about the ghosts or where the quarters were.
    That was worked out, and next week, for I think the sixth year, the FFAM will present its 2012 version of "The Haunted Fort Leavenworth Tour." On Oct. 19, 20, 26, and 27 tours will begin from the gazebo in Zais Park, across from Memorial Chapel, every 10 minutes.
    Friend Wife picked up some information brochures that had pertinent information on them, which I'm happy to share with potential ghost seekers.
    The tours will go regardless of weather, so tourists are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing and walking shoes as they'll walk for about two miles in two hours. About 20 people, with a guide, will be in each group.
    Rather than being free, you have to pay to go on this tour. Tickets are available in the gift shop in the Frontier Army Museum, open Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Every year the tour has sold out all four nights.
    It is a win-win situation. The tourists will have a ball, and every dime of profit will be donated to the Frontier Army Museum. No wonder the organization is called "Friends" of the museum.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ticket prices differ according to category of tourist, and none of the brochures had the price on them. But they gave two websites for information, ffam.us and hauntedhomestour@ffam.us, or on facebook at Friends of the Frontier Army Museum. Or you can call the museum at 651-7440 and a friendly voice will answer any question you may have.
    This is not one to dilly around til the last minute to get tickets, for as I said the tour has sold out for all four nights in the past.
    This year all FFAM members associated with the tour are new, and the flyers say the tour has been "revamped," with campfire stories in Zais Park, and other changes to increase spookiness. If you've never been, I bet you'll love it. If you have, you know what I mean. Aaoouuhhhhh !
    John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.
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