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Things that go bump in the night...in the Tower
The nights are growing longer. The air is getting chilly. Halloween is just around the corner and the things that go bump in the night are getting restless...at least that's the feeling you get when taking the new "Haunted Tower Walk" through Fresno's historic Tower District.
Brian Rutherford of Nightfall Tours is your tour guide through the Tower as he discusses some of the spooky goings on that have been reported in various Tower businesses. What creepy things have occurred in a local beauty salon? What secrets does a popular deli hold within? Some possible answers are revealed as the tour visits eight locations over the course of the evening.
"Everyone who likes history, ghost stories and would like to actually visit a 'haunted' building will have a very good time," says Jackie Meador, leader of the Central California Paranormal Investigators ( www.ccpifresno.net), a group that researches paranormal activity in the Valley and is sponsoring the Haunted Tower Walk.
Although Rutherford is leading the tours, it was Meador who actually did the research for it. The Haunted Tower Walk not only delves into the supernatural aspects of life among Olive Avenue, but also explores the Tower's rich and colorful history.
"I wanted to highlight that historical part and also make people chuckle and maybe gasp in awe over the ghosts that haunt the Tower," says Meador, who also teaches a class on paranormal investigation through the Fresno Adult School / Cesar E. Chavez Adult Education Center ( www.fresnoadultschool.com). "I hit the library for research and walked Olive Avenue every weekend. I interviewed many people in person and over the phone who were actually anxious to talk when I told them what I was doing. I am still in awe with the level of cooperation and friendly reception I received."
The tales told on the tour all come from the people who actually work in the establishments that line Olive Avenue between Wishon and Roosevelt avenues. Find out why the back room of the Revue is referred to as "the morgue." Learn that the frights of a local video store are not confined to the horror DVD section. Ponder the possibility of the paranormal in the Chicken Pie Shop. Are these events supernatural in nature or the result of over-active imaginations? That's up for you to decide.
The Haunted Tower Walk is a casual two-hour journey. Jackets and walking shoes are recommended. Unlike a lot of other seasonal attractions, this tour is about the people of Fresno's past who possibly still haunt the present. "The Haunted Tower Walk is not something that will scare or intimidate," Rutherford says. "It is entertaining, true-to-life."
"This is not a scary tour," Meador says. "It's meant to be fun, educational and entertaining. No one is going to jump out and scare or grab anyone. There are no special effects, no bloody extremities, no actors playing the ghosts and no fog machines. The people who shared their stories firmly believe strange things have happened and are still happening."
Many of the businesses discussed on the tour are still open after the tour and participants are welcome to visit them at the tour's end. Maybe you'll meet a ghost, maybe you won't. But as you walk the Tower ask yourself, are those goosebumps running up your back from the chilly October air or are they caused by something more?
The Haunted Tower Walk is run Friday and Saturday nights through October. Each tour is limited to 20 participants, 18 years of age and up. Tickets cost $15 and reservations are required. Details: (559) 221-8669, www.myspace.com/nightfalltours, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rutherford stands before one of the businesses purported to be haunted.