Alan Hunter has always loved history — not the dry-boned recitation of dates and places many people think of as “history,” but as a part of our everyday lives. As a former history teacher, he loved telling the stories behind the history — and discovered that kids, like many adults, love the “gory details” and scarier aspects of stories. He started focusing research on the odder side of history, and as a result, he found a second calling as a leader of ghost tours and a third calling as a teller of tales in a local community newspaper.
Hunter has been a columnist for the Weekly View, published by Eastside Voice Community News, since 2009. Every week without fail he’s contributed stories about ghosts and hauntings, Indiana associations to pop culture, and odd things that go bump in the night. A reader favorite, his column is unique in its mix of subject matter — one week he’ll write about Puckwudgies, the next about the Beatles at the Indiana State Fair.
Fans of his “Bumps in the Night” columns in the Weekly View will be able to take over 50 of his stories in one volume. His latest book, Bumps in the Night: Stories from the Weekly View, are available at Bookmamas in Irvington and other select outlets, and tour-goers this year will get a copy. In addition, the Weekly View will host a book-signing party for him on October 4 from 4-6 p.m. before his Irvington Ghost Tour — fans are encouraged to come out and buy a copy of the book (or a ticket for the tour). Books are $10; tour tickets are $15 and include a copy of the book (cash only sales, please). The Weekly View office is at 195 N. Shortridge Rd. — the signing will be in Suite C.
One of the reasons Hunter organizes and leads the Irvington Ghost Tours is to share his passion for the rich history of Irvington. There are very few places in the world where you can walk from the sites of a vicious attack that brought down the Indiana Klu Klux Klan, a home where a notorious serial killer claimed his last victim, the building where an infamous gangster made one of his first armed robberies, and the spot where a revered president’s slain body slowly crawled to his final resting place. Yet Hunter will take you to those places and tell you the stories during his yearly ghost tours.
On nice evenings throughout October, well over a hundred people can be seen following him down the streets of Irvington. Assisted by his wife Rhonda and a crack team of traffic watchers and lamp holders, Hunter stops frequently at points of interest to give the history of the site. The tours are usually about two hours long and begin at 7 p.m. in front of Bookmamas, 9 S. Johnson Ave. To buy tickets the day of the tour, show up at least 20 minutes before; pre-tour tickets are available at Bookmamas and the Magick Candle on the corner of S. Audubon and Bonna Ave.
All profits from the tour are donated to Gaia Works food bank and other local charities.
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