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Ashville Citizen
  November 3, 2009

Shook House to celebrate Halloween with "Traditional Appalachian Ghost Stories"

The Shook Museum in Clyde will present two evenings of "Traditional Appalachian Ghost Stories at the Shook House" from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct.31.

Participants will receive candy as part of the event, which is designed as an entertaining and educational alternative to trick-or-treating.

Western Carolina University theater students will serve as storytellers, guides and hosts for the event. A host will greet children and adults on the porch of the approximately 200-year-old Shook-Smathers house. Visitors will be guided in small groups through five rooms in which storytellers will share traditional Appalachian tales, including "Cowee Tunnel" and "Bigfoot of Balsam." Participants may even spot a ghost along the way.

"All of the stories are from the Southern Appalachians and are probably familiar to many older folks from the region," said Jerry Tate, director of the museum. "Our event will introduce children to a part of their heritage – the stories that their grandparents grew up listening to."

For Western Carolina students, "the event will be a challenging and rewarding learning experience," said D.V. Caitlyn, an assistant professor of stage and screen. "Students will apply what they are learning about the focus required to stay in character throughout a performance in a nontraditional setting while they serve the community.

"The stage and screen department’s motto is ‘We Are Storytellers,’ and here we are literally going out into the community and telling stories."

Admission is $2 for children ages 12 and younger and $4 for all others. Proceeds benefit the museum, which is a nonprofit organization. Guests are encouraged to come in costume.

The event is sponsored by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, Haywood County Arts Council and the Shook Museum at the Shook-Smathers House.

The Shook House is recognized as the oldest frame structure west of the Blue Ridge. The house has a long history of association with the Methodist church and features a chapel on the third floor where early settlers held church services.

The museum is located at 178 Morgan St. at the corner of Carolina Boulevard and Morgan Street on the western side of Clyde. For more information call the museum’s visitor center at 565-0039.