Chesapeake Ghost Walks – Tour Business Launched
Author of Haunted Eastern Shore spins off a new company – Largest regional ghost walks in America
MARION STATION, MD (March 1, 2014) – Mindie Burgoyne, author of Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake (The History Press, 2009) has just launched a new business – Chesapeake Ghost Walks which is reported to be the largest cluster of regional ghost walks in America. During 2013, Burgoyne started crafting ghost walks in small towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. They were overwhelmingly popular. By the end of the year she had created ghost walks in 12 historic towns and 3 bus tours that covered the more rural areas on the Eastern Shore. In total she conducted over 40 tours that attracted over 1000 guests. All but 4 tours were sold out and only three were cancelled due to weather.
The towns featured on the walks are Easton, Cambridge, St. Michaels, Denton, Salisbury, Princess Anne, Crisfield, Marion Station, Pocomoke, Snow Hill, Berlin and Ocean City. Each walk averages about 9 stops and 12 ghost stories. All but Ocean City includes a graveyard or cemetery (there are no cemeteries in Ocean City). The bus tours covered Somerset, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester Counties. When totaled the tours cover 160 sites and 16 graveyards all in the Mid and Lower Shore. Regional destinations such as Napa Valley, the Hamptons, Down East Maine, Chicagoland, Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Outer Banks NC, Cape Cod may have a ghost walk or two, but none of them have 12 that are rooted in a common heritage that markets the region as a whole.
Burgoyne believes the ghost walks which are heavy in historical information are all related and promote the Eastern Shore as one destination. “There’s no problem in getting visitors to the Atlantic beaches, but most people who visit often have no idea about the fabulous small towns that are along the way. There are stories in those towns, and the characters link one town to another” states Burgoyne. “For example, the most haunted house in Easton is Foxley Hall once owned – and believed to be haunted by – Colonel Oswald Tilghman. Plim Plaza in Ocean City is believed to be haunted by Rosalie Shreve Tilghman who built the Plinhimmon Hotel where the Plim Plaza now stands. Rosalie and Oswald were brother and sister, descendents of Tench Tilghman. They were brought up on the Plinhimmon estate in Oxford. There’s a lot of that … related ghosts. The Snow Hill stories are linked to Pocomoke, and Pocomoke links to Crisfield which links to Princess Anne.”
When asked how she found the stories, Burgoyne refers to the Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University. In the 1970s a professor who taught folklore sent her students out to collect stories. This went on for years and all of those stories are housed in the Nabb Center. Burgoyne says that the Nabb stories were the foundation of her story collecting. In addition she has a vast library – over 100 books on Maryland and the Eastern Shore, and she has visited libraries and searched vertical files in every Eastern Shore county plus has reviewed land records, genealogy databases and other on-line sources. The most interesting of all her resources in the personal interviews she has conducted which number in the hundreds.
Burgoyne and her husband Dan have formed a tour company and contracted 5 local people to be guides for the more than 130 tours scheduled in 2014. A new website has been launched www.ChesapeakeGhostWalks.com that shows the date, time, meeting location and description of all the ghost tours for 2014, plus a blog where Burgoyne can write about ghosts, hautings, new stories and anything else of interest to her readers. Guests can purchase their tickets on line and simply show up. The walks are priced at $15 for adults and $9 for kids (8-12).
When asked if she had a favorite ghost walk Burgoyne responds, “Probably Ocean City. It took me longest to do that one, but the stories are all romantic … about vacations, hoteliers, sea captains, carousels, guest houses. It’s so amazing to see how much mysterious history lives inside all of that concrete, asphalt, sand and boardwalk. Those stories are some of the best I’ve ever found.”
Those interested in attending a walk can find out complete information at the Chesapeake Ghost Walks website http://chesapeakeghostwalks.com