Irvington Ghost Tours Begin September 29

Ghost and history enthusiasts from all over Central Indiana will start coming to Irvington September 29 as the annual Irvington Ghost Tours get underway. Tours will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. through October 28. Tickets are $15 each (cash only) and available 20 minutes before the tour begins. You may also buy tickets in advance at the Magic Candle, 203 S. Audubon.  The tours begin on 10 S. Johnson Ave. next to the Irving Theatre. The price includes a copy of the paperback supplement “The Tour Guide” and at least two hours of fascinating local history that will send shivers down your spine. Proceeds go to support GaiaWorks pantry, and other local charities.
Al Hunter, our weekly “Bumps in the Night” columnist, book author, and community-spirited spirit guide, his wife Rhonda, and their crack team of tour safety guides will take individuals on a walking tour of Irvington, considered the most haunted neighborhood in the midwest, if not the United States. Guests will get to walk the streets serial killer H.H. Holmes walked, see the home Madge Oberholtzer died in after giving her deathbed testimony that sent D.C. Stephenson to prison, hear about Dillinger’s past, and much more. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ll find the tours interesting for their history.
Al is, in his own words, “paranormally challenged,” but has heard many odd stories about the places in Irvington and keeps an open mind as he researches the history of the area. For the skeptical, Al’s tours recount the history of Irvington, and the major players that shaped the community since 1870. The early days of Butler University, the importance of the railroads to the area, the unique institutions like the Guardian’s Home, and much more is covered. For ghost-hunting and spiritually sensitive types, the stories of ghostly apparitions and odd happenings at various sites will definitely hold your interest. Every year, several people report odd feelings or visions at certain places — there have even been people occasionally fainting in certain areas.
People expecting to get scared by people jumping out from behind trees or such nonsense will be disappointed on the Irvington Ghost Tour. There are no gimmicks or silly pranks — Al is passionate about showing people the complex history of Irvington and entertaining crowds through storytelling.
Last year’s crowds were huge for every tour, and hundreds enjoyed the stories during the month. However, Al noted that there were relatively few Irvingtonians on the tours, which is surprising given most Irvington residents are proud of their historical neighborhood and their quirky (eccentric?) neighbors. This year, he’s hoping that more locals will come on the tour — especially new homeowners or renters curious about how Irvington has become the center for all things Halloween in the metro area.
Al noted that the Ghost Tours are also the first encounter many non-Indianapolis residents have with Irvington. There are stories of people going on the tour, being impressed with the beautiful homes and thriving commercial district, and deciding to buy a home in the neighborhood. In addition, the tours bring people from all over to shop, eat, and drink before and after the tours, thus bringing economic benefits to the area. Some come back the next day or next weekend to visit and see the sites in daylight, and bring their kids and grandkids along with the tour book, thus passing history down to another generation.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and keep an eye on the weather reports as you set out on the tour. Bring a flashlight for those dark winding streets — and watch out at the ghost crossings!