PFAA to lead guided tours

Tales of murder, war, mischievous burlesque dancers, apparitions and spooky encounters come to life this October in the Waynesville Square.

The Pulaski Fine Arts Association (PFFA) is offering guided haunted history tours around the Square on selected dates throughout this month.

PFAA tour guides will be taking tour attendees around the square and sharing the rich history of Waynesville for a $10 fee which will benefit the non-profit organization.

PFAA has interviewed local business owners about the history of their buildings which includes many stories of strange occurrences and even a ghost or two.

The tour starts at the Old Stagecoach Stop where tourists can learn about its colorful history and folklore, as well as some of the history of the Square area.

Saturday, PFAA members walked the tour and stopped in to visit with Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation member, Terry Primas, who shared the story of two bushwackers who were shot by the Army near the old cabinet shop just off the square which will be part of the tour.

Primas said at least 60 people have died in the Old Stagecoach Stop over the years but pointed out that the Old Stagecoach Stop “makes no claims that the Stagecoach Stop is haunted.”

Included on the tour are Talbot House, Seda's Gift Shop, Sugar on Top Bake Shop, Hair on the Square and the former site of Practically Enchanted.

Tourists will hear recorded interviews with present and past owners of the shops about the history and unexplained occurrences on the premises.

A particularly hot spot on the haunted history tour is Hair on the Square where stories of the unexplained can be heard in spades.

Hair on the Square owner Brenda McGhghy claims she and many of her customers have had several encounters with the unexplained, including the sight of a ghostly man sitting on a bench in her shop and mischievous pranks played by the spirit of a burlesque dancer named Roberta from the early part of the 20th century.

This will be the first year that PFAA offers the tour, but hopes that it will be popular enough to have again in the 2013 Halloween season. PFAA has seen a loss in some funding due to the availability of grants in the current economy and is hoping to recoup some of that loss through fundraisers like the haunted history tour.

In addition to the tour, PFAA is planning to host Children's Not So Spooky Tales at Theatre on the Square while their parents are taking the Haunted History tour. Children age four through 12 are invited to stay and be entertained while mom and dad enjoy the tour.

Those interested in the tour are encouraged to contact Tracy Moran for reservations at 573-855-6625, however, walk-ins are welcome. Tours will run every half hour beginning at 7 p.m., with the last tour running at 9:30 p.m. the last two Thursdays through Saturdays in October and on Halloween.