Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ghosties and Ghoulies

A week ago, my youngest daughter and I went on a ghost tour in an area of the city that has a reputation dating back to over 100 years ago. Delano was a rootin' tootin' prairie town on the west side of the Arkansas river, across from the larger town of Wichita on the east, where cowboys who'd traveled the Chisholm trail could relax and enjoy the gambling, drinking, and ladies of the evening. Later, Delano became a part of Wichita, but the area has lately become well-known for the tales of ghosts haunting some of the businesses in the area.

We began our tour at Lawrence-Dumont baseball stadium, where ghostly sounds and visions have been the norm for years. I've been to L-D several times in my life, but I never knew about the hauntings. It's probably a good thing. I grew up half a mile from the baseball stadium AND Delano. After hearing the tales of the stadium, we traveled on to visit four buildings open especially for the evening, where owners and employees told stories of strange happenings. Most of the buildings had been built before 1890 and had housed regular businesses on the ground floor, but also included brothels on the upper floor. In fact, according to a brochure provided for the event, the "900 block seems to be the most haunted block in Delano, with reports from residents as well as business owners. Half of the buildings on this block are from 1890 or before."

The next day, I returned to one of the stores with my next oldest daughter Chelsea, who needed to purchase something. I mentioned to the owner that I'd been on the ghost tour the night before, and she asked if I'd visited a specific building. I hadn't, and she insisted that we visit it that day, so we did. We were a little nervous about asking for the story of the happenings during business hours, but the young woman took us to the back where she was helping customers and told us the tale of "Red" Beard, the ghost who haunts the building. Verrrrrrry interesting! And "Red" doesn't keep to that one building. He's been seen in many of the buildings in the area.

If you're interested in the ghosts or history of Delano, be sure to visit the Historic Delano website for more. And for more paranormal information, visit Wichita Paranormal Research Society, a part of TAPS.

Have a Happily Haunted Halloween!

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