Homecoming came and went the weekend of Oct. 18 and included memorable events to celebrate Maryville College’s Bicentennial Homecoming year. Such events included APO’s ghost tours, which were available for students, alumni, and accompanying families to enjoy.
Alpha Phi Omega’s local chapter, Alpha Alpha, held their annual ghost tours for guests of all ages and scare factor wants. A free, non-jump scare tour was available from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. This family-friendly tour provided tour guides who told their stories mostly in the daytime and without the added effect of scare actors coming out from behind trees.
From 8 p.m. to midnight, scare actors joined in the story telling by acting out horrific characters straight from the recited legends. The jump scare ghost tours required a $1 fee and $0.50 for either hot chocolate or smores. All proceeds went to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.
While groups waited for their turn to travel through the foreboding woods, coloring, festive cornhole, and face painting were provided at the McArthur Pavilion. A display showcasing “Ghosts of MC,” including pictures of seemingly haunted places on campus, was also provided.
The atmosphere was tense with nervous and excited energy as horror themed music played throughout the night, drowning out the screams of scare actors and scared groups in the woods.
Tour guides led groups of ten into the wood’s trails while telling chilling stories based on tales from around campus. Such tales were paired with the actors, who wore horrifying monster makeup and played out the characters from the stories.
Scare actors were not allowed to touch tour groups and vice versa. Tour groups were also asked to not shine their lights at actors or else they would be escorted out of the woods.
One mishap did occur that seemed like something straight out of a nightmare. The first few jump scare groups of the night ran into a yellow jacket nest that required some people to leave early after being stung or scared.
This was corrected as tour guides moved their groups around the nest and proceeded the tours with professional ease and extra care so that no one else would get hurt.
Most of the stories told were about terrible tragedies that struck campus through sickness, war, or untimely deaths. Locations mentioned included Clayton, Anderson, Willard House, and the House in the Woods.
One extra spooky spot was the House in the Woods, where the “Woman in White” waited on the porch to scream at the group to get out. Another occurrence seemingly unrelated to the tour was the glowing red light on the second floor of the House in the Woods with a figure standing in the window.
Tour guides said no one on their team was allowed in the house and especially not on the second floor. The mystery of who was in the window remains unsolved by the groups who witnessed it. Look out for the annual ghost tour next year among other spectacular specters. Who knows who else is roaming these grounds?