Things That Go Bump in the Night

Ghost tours becoming
big business for
Vevay, Ind.’s Satterfield

She says when it comes to Halloween,
some like ‘intrigue’

VEVAY, Ind. (October 2013) – For some people, the arrival of fall means buying new sweaters and diving into piles of crunchy leaves. But if what you love about fall leans toward something a bit more thrilling than a pumpkin spice, “The Original” Vevay Ghost Tour and Ghost Hunt have you covered this Halloween season.

Angie Satterfield

Photo provided

Angie Satterfield leads ghost tours to various sites in Vevay, Ind.

“There are people who go on hayrides and get their mums together,” said Angie Satterfield of the River Towns Rock Touring Co., “and others, people who want to have a little chill down their spine. They want a little intrigue.”
Satterfield will lead the second annual walking ghost tour in Vevay, Ind., on Oct. 11-12, Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26. The tour gives participants an opportunity to explore reputedly haunted sites in historic Vevay, including the Switzerland County History Museum, the Historic Hoosier Theater, the Old Vevay Jail and, new to the tour this year, the basement of the Switzerland County Courthouse.
The ghost tour offers skeptics and believers in the paranormal the chance to learn about the history of the featured locations. People currently living and working in these buildings will share their stories of strange experiences there. Satterfield said Vevay overflows with spooky history. “A death here, a murder there. Someone who passed on but loved the building and just won’t leave.” The ghost tour differs from a haunted house in that it is not intended to startle or raise any screams.
However, Satterfield admitted that the tour is not for everyone and recommended the ghost tour for ages 14 and older, adding that it is “more like sitting around with buddies and sharing stories.” Interested customers should also note that the tour covers a walking distance of 1.5 miles, broken up by stops at the buildings featured along the way.  
New among “The Original” Ghost Tour offerings is an exclusive ghost hunt in the Historic Hoosier Theater on Oct. 25, beginning at 11 p.m. and ending at 2 a.m. Researchers Investigating the Paranormal (R.I.P) will teach participants about professional ghost hunting equipment and techniques for finding entities before leading them on an actual ghost hunt. The $39 ticket includes a DVD of the ghost hunting experience, mailed to recipients a couple of weeks after the hunt. 
According to the R.I.P. Midwest website, R.I.P. specializes in parapsychological studies and spirit activity. The research company, founded in 2006 by professional medium Cindi Muntz, develops techniques for determining and assessing the presence of spirits through instrument readings. The experienced investigators also perform paranormal interventions in their mission “to assist people in understanding and coping with a haunting with respect to their own personal belief system.”
When it comes to the existence of the paranormal, Satterfield calls herself a fence sitter. Though she has been interested in the possibility of spirits from an early age, she is not entirely convinced that spirits dwell among the living.
What she does know is that she enjoys her role of “Haunted Historian” and sharing stories on the ghost tours. So far, Vevay has provided Satterfield all the material she needs for a night of good historical storytelling. “I’ve never had to make anything up,” she said. She researched local newspapers for spooky stories in articles written at least one hundred years ago. According to Satterfield, the city’s past has kept many tales worth telling.
Public interest in paranormal phenomena has taken off in recent years due to the popularity of television shows such as Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters,” the CW’s “Supernatural,” and FX’s “American Horror Story.” Last year, “The Original” Vevay Ghost Tour was an unanticipated success, selling out most nights and drawing visitors from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio as well as vacationers from the West Coast. Satterfield plans to make the tours more manageable this year by adding two nights to the event and limiting attendance to 16 tourists per ghost tour.
Selling out every night is the best kind of problem. Satterfield will split the proceeds from the ghost tour and ghost hunt between recouping investment costs for her company and benefitting local non-profits, including the Historic Hoosier Theater, and the Switzerland County Historical Society. River Towns Rock Touring Company handles advertising and marketing for the event while the Julia Knox House Gift Shop sells tickets. 
Whether participants join “The Original” Vevay Ghost Tour and Ghost Hunt hoping to socialize with specters from beyond the grave, to listen to local history, or to help Switzerland County’s historical preservations efforts, Satterfield believes – without skepticism – that they will all have a good time together.

• Tours start at 7 p.m., beginning and ending at the Julia Knox House Gift Shop, 206 E. Main St., Vevay. Tickets cost $25 per person. Tour guides invite participants to bring cameras, flashlights and umbrellas if needed. The tours will proceed even in the rain. To reserve a tour, call (812) 427-3338.

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