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Something Strange in Old Town

Colonial Halloween tour offers chronicles of the creepy.

Wellington Watts, president of Alexandria Colonial Tours, said it doesn’t happen often; but, occasionally, "something strange" occurs during his annual Halloween events.

Like that time when a guide was coming back from a tour that left Christ Church cemetery and kept hearing these ominous footsteps behind him. He’d turn around, look behind him, seeing nothing but the night air. As the guide continued walking, the footsteps came back, and followed him all the way down Cameron Street.

"Once in a while, somebody sees something or hears something that they otherwise should not," said Watts.

For over 18 years, a series of ghost and graveyard tours has chronicled the city’s legends and folklore. Now operated by Alexandria Colonial Tours, these hour-long tours leave their patrons off in a colonial graveyard.

At Halloween, Colonial Tours offers four days of spooky tours to "haunted: destinations: visiting rooms where restless spirits allegedly roam; visiting a cemetery; entering one of the most haunted buildings in Old Town; and a trip into Gadsby’s Tavern Museum or the House in the Country to hear the tragic story of the burning bride or the mysterious female stranger.

"Instead of ending in a church cemetery, will go through the cemetery and actually end up in one of the haunted buildings," said Watts.

THE COLONIAL Halloween tours are scheduled to held from Oct. 27-31, from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. The 27th is already sold out, but reservations are still available for the other tours, which run every 15 minutes and leave from the southeast corner of King and Fairfax streets. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for ages 7-12 and free for 6-and-younger. Visit www.alexandriacolonialtours.com for call 703-519-1749 for more information and for reservations.

Watts said for creepy Halloween tours, Alexandria is a near-perfect venue. "The city, in its physical appearance, looks old and historic. When it’s dark, it just lends itself to the spirits of the past," he said.

Even though many of the destinations on the tour are well-trodden by other history tours, Watts said he understands what keeps people coming back.

"People enjoy the unknown. They have a curiosity about the afterlife," he said. "That want to know what’s there, without having to go there first."