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Ashville Citizen
  October 25, 2009
Want to hear a ghost story?

Special to the Citizen-Times

Clyde – Western Carolina University theater students will be storytellers, guides and hosts for two evenings of "Traditional Appalachian Ghost Stories at Shook House," 6-08 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Shook Museum at Shook-Smathers House, at Carolina Boulevard and Morgan Street.

A host will greet adults and children on the porch of the 200-year-old house; all are invited to come in costume. Visitors will be guided in small groups through five rooms in which storytellers will share their tales, including "Cowee Tunnel" and "Bigfoot of Balsam."

Participants may even spot a ghost along the way. The 2 ½ story frame house has been around long enough to attract a few. It was built in two periods: the first circa 1800 and the second in the 1890s. The house also is associated with the Methodist church and features a chapel on the third floor, where settlers held church services.

"All of the stores 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."

The event is designed as an entertaining and educational alternative to trick-or-treating, organizers said. Participants will receive candy at the conclusion of the tour.

For WCU students, the event will be a 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, he said.

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