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Salem’s spooky past will come alive

Thursday, October 26, 2017

If You Go

What: Spirits of the Past historical haunted attraction

When: Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 10 p.m. both nights

Where: the Ruth Smucker House, 271 S. Broadway, downtown

Admission: $5

By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

SALEM

The history of Salem includes some spooky, macabre and downright bizarre stories.

There is the girl whose bouffant hairdo became infested with a beehive and she was stung to death, the butcher who was killed by his own knives during a robbery, human sacrifice by a coven of witches, and the legendary Johnny No-Face, a man in the 1950s who was disfigured in an accident and whose story is well-known in the Salem area. Spirits of the Past, a new event put together by Salem Preservation Society, will recreate the sometimes shocking scenes and the people they involved. It will be presented Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 10 p.m. both nights, at the Ruth Smucker House, 271 S. Broadway, downtown. Admission is $5

About 15 scenes will be recreated inside the house, and a few more – including a cemetery – outside. Volunteers will be in each scene to bring it to life, and a guide will walk visitors along the route.

But don’t expect to see any scary monsters; that’s not what this Halloween attraction is all about, said David K. Schwartz, organizer. “There will be no Frankenstein, no vampires,” he said. “These are scary stories of true things that happened in our area. Many of them have been embellished over the years. We will put a little life into this folklore.”

Salem High School students and others will play the characters in each scene, and they will have a few lines to explain what visitors are seeing. Schwartz himself will play the butcher who was killed by his own knives.

He said the attraction is appropriate for families. Proceeds will benefit the Salem Federation of Women’s Clubs’ Ruth Smucker House.

Visitors also will experience the stories of haunted Crybaby Bridge, Pretty Boy Floyd’s demise in the East Liverpool area (Floyd and a replica of his 1930’s car can be seen at the house), Confederate Gen. Morgan’s raid near Salineville during the Civil War, and the funeral scene of some local high-school boys who were killed by a train and still haunt Hope Cemetery.