Ghosts of Halloweens Past: Haunting Celebrations for History Buffs

Ghosts of Halloweens Past: Haunting Celebrations for History Buffs

Lot of Halloween action in New York, and maybe a way to learn one thing or two. Be sure to read the full article.

What better time than Halloween to commune with the spirits of the dead—i.e. the historic figures who once populated our fair city and their bygone way of life—than the day in which the veil is (allegedly) lifted between the living and the dead? It is, even for non-superstitious sorts, a time of year in which it is particularly easy to learn more about the eerie rituals of the past. To that end, the city’s museums, historic houses and graveyards are offering an abundance of historically-themed Halloween events these next few weeks, from Victorian funeral processions and exhibits featuring the elaborate mourning dress of yesteryear, to lectures, tours and demonstrations that revisit the era of seances, spiritualism and photographic hoaxes.

Victorian Funeral Procession, Candlelit Ghost Tours, Ghost Hunting 101 and more, the Merchant’s House Museum, October 21-31. As in years past, the Merchant’s House Museum is offering a full complement of spooky activities, from a ghost hunting lecture (on October 21) to staging a full funeral procession circa 1865 from the house to the rarely-opened Marble Cemetery (on October 26th). Candlelight ghost tours—with varietals for children and adults—and dramatic readings of 19th Century gothic literature on Halloween itself round out the program. “From the time the museum opened in 1936, there have been various reports of paranormal activity,” said communications director Emily Wright. “We’ve been able to use that hook to bring people into an exploration of previous practices. And it’s always fun to see the faces of people when we do the funeral procession—all the people at brunch turning their heads as we walk down the Bowery.”

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