In the past few autumns, passersby on Toomer’s Corner may have noticed something alongside the usual spooks, ghouls, ghosts, haunts and spirits that lurk around the streets of Auburn.
This addendum to Auburn’s spooky season is, of course, the Haunted Auburn Walking Tour.
For the past six Octobers, Brandon Stoker and John Poe have led walking tours free of charge on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. that take eager crowds on a circuit of Auburn’s most haunted spots.
“We met in a cemetery,” said the storyteller Stoker at the beginning of the Friday night 8 p.m. tour, when telling the anecdote of how he met his tour partner, Poe.
The two guides, regional historians and experts in the paranormal, meet with tour groups “by the eagles” at Toomer’s Corner and lead the tourists around some of the most noted hot spots and haunts of Auburn’s resident spirits.
The tour winds around from the tale of Hargis Hall’s “Lady in White” to the Civil War-era ghosts that haunt Auburn’s Samford Hall on the site of the Old Main, the shifting books of Ralph B. Draughon Library and the bumps in the night at the Haley Center.
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The group then leaves the campus property for a short trek to historic antebellum Pine Hill Cemetery, a ground zero for paranormal activity in Auburn, where a ghost cat, a black shadow and a “Lady in Grey” have all set up shop. The graveyard holds some special resonance for Poe and Stoker, as it is where the two met.
The tour continues on to the ghost of a little girl said to hang around Eagle’s Nest Apartments across from Pine Hill to the more sordid history behind The Hotel at Auburn University and finally concludes at the Auburn Chapel, where the tourists are regaled with the story of Sidney, the Auburn theater Department’s personal ghost.
The two guides spin Southern-fried tales of hauntings at the University to captive audiences that almost always end with the words, “And there was nobody there.”
The season’s last regular tours take place on Oct. 26 and 27 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. as per usual.
The final tour of the season will occur on Halloween night, Oct. 31, and participants are encouraged to dress up.
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