Historic haunted tours returns to Truckee | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Historic haunted tours returns to Truckee

Linda J. Bottjer
Lake Tahoe Action
Susie Zweigle Studios / Submitted to Lake Tahoe Action

TAHOE/TRUCKEE – In Truckee the residents are a spirited bunch whether dead or alive.

Annually, for the past three years, adults are invited to meet them during the Historic Haunted Tours of Truckee.

The eerie event, held on Thursday and Friday Oct. 20-21, is a fund raiser for two community nonprofit organizations Trails and Vistas and the Truckee Donner Historical Society.

Both the brave and chicken-hearted will gather first at Moody’s Bistro and Lounge for a bit of liquid courage in the form of a glass of wine. The wine comes with the price of a pre-bought ticket. Participants are invited to come in costume from the 1880s to the 1920s for the chance to win the best costume each evening.

As the last of sunlight disappears over the mountains and darkness brings the bewitching hour volunteer guides lead out the intrepid groups. They walk the town to hear a range of supernatural montages ranging from the early 1840s to the 20th century and meet some of the former residents. They are positioned in a variety of buildings.

Places like the Kruger/C.B.White House.

Built in the late 1870s the Queens Anne Eastlake Victorian styled home has a history of mysterious happenings such as lights going on and off by phantom hands or a black dog that charges past into oblivion and a little girl in a bathtub.

The Richardson House, now a bed and breakfast, has reported sightings of a ghost coming out of bedrooms. Some say it is Maggie Richardson the wife of a lumber baron who still mourns her lost child.

Everyone goes by the script that is written with the help of oral stories and items from the town’s archives.

“We find Grandma’s journals from the 1880’s with newspaper clippings of what was happening at the time,” said Society’s President Chelsea Walterscheid.

She praises the efforts of all the volunteers’ donation of time to make the event a success.

The common demonstrator of the spooky mingling of the past with the present is fun.

2010 marked Deb Kelly’s inaugural year of volunteering. She went at the request of a friend and found the chance to be exuberant with over the top acting an exhilarating experience.

Last year she was Katie O’Malley, a madam who lived without fear of being prosecuted.

“The men had control of the city, but her girls controlled their secrets.”

This year she promises her character will be just as colorful, but she will divulge little information.

“Let’s just say if she had lived in Salem she would have been burned at the stake.”

She and Walterscheid both admit Truckee’s past as a railroad and lumber town was far from genteel.

Telling the tales of the rough and ready include episodes with murderers, prostitutes and mysterious fires like those that once plagued the Chinese section of the city.

The subsequent use of salty language and unsavory circumstances, despite a good dose of humor, is the reason only those 21 years or older are allowed on the tour.

“I’ve had parents beg that their children be allowed, but we will not relent. Plus part of the tour occurs in a bar where kids cannot enter,” said Walterscheid.

Haunted tours for the young might be in the future, but on Thursday and Friday they can be entertained at the KidZone Museum while their parents are on the tour. Here Halloween science with Professor Stickeybottom and a dinner of pizza, milk, and vegetables will be on the menu.

With all the Halloween merriment celebrated in Truckee it is small wonder people stick around – forever.

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