Oconaluftee Indian Village
(just up the road from the theatre)
778 Drama Road
Cherokee, North Carolina
It was quite creepy taking a ghost tour of the place where I am currently living, especially driving back to my apartment after the tour and wondering if anything had been stirred up by the guests or the stories that were told. I got back to my room and called one of my best friends. While we were chatting I thought I heard a female voice, but I’ll attribute that to an overactive imagination. At least I hope.
Allow me, for a moment, to shamelessly plug this event that I’m involved with. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I’ve been working at the Oconaluftee Indian Village since the beginning of summer. The village will close for the season on the 20th, but will then reopen a few days later for the Haunted Village. The theatre ghost walk will be taking place ever Saturday night throughout the month of October in addition.
Quickly, the Haunted Village is a haunted tour of the village with staged frights and scares. I’ll be working this once the village closes. Please come check it out!
The ghost walk, however, is not staged and has the possibility of scaring you just as much.
The Mountainside Theatre is an open-air amphitheater built in the late 1940s for the outdoor historical drama, Unto These Hills, which opened July 1, 1950. The show has been running for 62 years and is expected to run for many years more. Renovations over the years have changed the face of the public areas of the theatre, though much of the backstage still exists in its original form. Up the hill from backstage is cast housing, consisting of a number of cabins, two large dormitories and a few other buildings. Cast housing is also included on the tour.
The tour begins at the village box office where you may purchase tickets for the Haunted Village ($10) and the Ghost Walk ($10, though you may pay $18 for a combination ticket). After a quick ride, you’ll gather at the entrance to the very dark amphitheater to begin the tour. The guides are members of the maintenance staff: gentlemen who have experienced much throughout the property. Personally, hearing the stories told by the people who have experienced these things rather than costumed actors, is far more compelling.
The stories at the theatre range from full bodied apparitions to weird sounds and lights in the now boarded up dressing rooms coming on by themselves. While walking past one of the men’s dressing rooms, we noticed that the light was on through the cracks in the door. The door was locked and no one would have had any reason to be the room recently. We were then told that the door to the same dressing had opened by itself twice during tours last year. The door was still locked when the maintenance men went to close it.
|Devoid of people, the Boys' Dorm hallway is creepy enough|
in the daylight. Visitors will traverse this hallway as part of the
2012 Ghost Walk. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights
We moved up the hill towards cast housing. We were told of curtains in one of the cabins that were seen to move quite frequently and the story of one maintenance man encountering a very real bear one night. He was charged by the creature which fully bypassed him and appeared to be being chased by a “ball of fog.” The tour ended with a walk through the long hallway of the Boys’ Dorm. Here, over the years, actors have had a variety of experiences, myself included. We didn't experience anything, but it was creepy nonetheless.
The ghost walk is a fun experience on a cool night in the mountains. Once the Haunted Village opens on October 26th, I’m sure the two experiences will frighteningly complement each other.
The Mountainside Theatre Ghost Walk will continue every Saturday evening throughout October 8-10 PM. The Haunted Village opens on October 26th and will run through Halloween Night. Doors open at 7 PM. The Haunted Village will also feature actor Tony Todd, the Candyman in the thriller of the same name, who will be greeting visitors on Halloween Night.
Proceeds will go to support the Cherokee Historical Association.