Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Ghostly Plan Redux

A couple weeks ago I posted a blog about a ghost tour and my thoughts on creating one of my own. Last night I sat down and wrote about the same thing again, but I feel I flushed some things out and added a few humorous details. I don't know, call this the director's cut of that blog.

There's a small town outside of Lancaster Pennsylvania called Strasburg. It's quiet. Quaint. It has a nice Amish population and an ice cream shop on the corner that attracts a fair share of tourists. It's not much different from a lot of other small towns on the East Coast. And, like a lot of small towns on the East Coast with any history behind it, it has a ghost tour.

Every half hour or so a small group of people will converge, led by a woman wearing a long black cape. I understand the mood they're going for but this far away from Halloween it just has a tendency to look silly.

I spoke to a woman who is on the Strasburg city council and apparently many of the ghost stories are just that: stories. Totally made up with no real basis in fact or history.

By the way, they charge 15 dollars a head to go on this Tour of Lies. And people pay it. On some days they have as many as six tours a night. They're making out pretty well if you ask me.

Why couldn't I do that?

Who says I couldn't?

I talked to my friend about this and she told me they do indeed require a license to perform these tours. And the license is only twenty bucks. Even if I did a half-assed job of it, I could make that back in one tour. But I wouldn't do a half-assed job. Not me.

My only other expense would be a cape. Where do you get one of those? I'd need to get a cape, though. Maybe one with sparkles or sequins. I bet Sarah would be willing to Bedazzle the crap out of a cape for me. Really show up those amateurs.

I wouldn't charge 15 bucks a pop, though. I would only charge 10. And I wouldn't feel like I was sacrificing anything because if you want to give me 10 bucks to lie to you and a bunch of your friends for half an hour...I'd totally be down for that. And I can pretty much guarantee you my lies would be way better. Please. That's easy. I'll make up a story right here on the spot:

This mansion was built in 1872, not long after he Civil War, by John and Olivia Worthington. John fought in the Civil War and came back missing an arm. Nevertheless he continued building the house he'd always promised his young bride. One day while he worked on the roof he lost his footing. He tried to steady himself but because he only had one arm he had to let go of the bucket of materials he held in order to save from falling from the roof. Unfortunately Olivia was right below working in her garden and was struck on the head by the materials. She died instantly. Mr. Worthington was so distraught he threw himself from the rooftop where he plummeted to his death, impaling himself on a decorative stick in the yard. To this day if you ever find yourself in the garden at night, you'll see a huge shadow on the roof that leaps off right at you. Of course, the ghostly figment vanishes before it lands but not before you hear the haunted scream of a woman right beside you. And then your lips fall off.

OK, so granted I need to work on the ending. And I'm not really sure why they had a "decorative stick" in the yard, but I just made it up. I bet if I took some time to really think about it I could make it into an awesome story. But my point is I can make up stories and lie about ghosts and accept ten dollars from people to do it.

At first I thought about charging people half of what the other ghost tour people charge, which wold be 7 dollars apiece. But after some consideration I decided to make it an even 10 dollars because I'm not good (or fast) at math. If a family of four wants to go on the tour at 7 dollars each and they pay with a fifty-dollar bill, how much change would I owe them? Maybe you know, but I don't. So yeah. Ten bucks each. Easy. And also that way I never have to worry about running out of one-dollar bills. That would suck.

My ghost tour would also be better because I would include my friends to play crazy characters we meet along the way. Believe me, I know people who would totally be down for playing a creepy man on the corner with a story about the old firehouse or abandoned livery. Not that there's an abandoned livery in downtown Strasburg but believe you me, when I tell the ghost stories one of those old buildings is going to end up being an abandoned livery.

There will also be stories about people dying in fires, secret lovers murdered by over-protective fathers, and at least one death by monkey. That one might be tough to make sound convincing but I'm determined to be the only ghost tour storyteller with a monkey death tale to pass along.

You'd pay ten bucks to hear that, right?

Yes you would.

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