By CHERIL VERNON
The group, Haunted Little Town Walking Tours, will offer “Christmas Ghost Hunts” at the old Anderson County Jail in Palestine starting this Friday.
The group offered tours in October prior to Halloween, but this event is planned to be a little different — offering ghost-hunting tools for attendees to use and allowing more time for exploring.
“We are opening this weekend and will continue through Dec. 29 on every Friday and Saturday,” Haunted Little Town Walking Tours event coordinator Jeremy Janz said. “We will be open from 6 to 10 p.m., and on every hour, we will be cycling in a new tour group. We will split them in four groups and give them different ghost-hunting tools to use.”
Those participating in tours will have the chance to do EVPs, use black lights, digital photo, video, an EMF detector (measures electromagnetic fields) and view pre-recorded video surveillance of ‘ghost’ monitoring at the jail.
“They will be doing a ghost hunt with an EMF detector this time where they will be finding letters to identify Christmas spirits they are trying to find,” Janz said of the scavenger-hunt-type search.
The jail was recently investigated by the Sonshine Paranormal Investigators of Fort Worth, but results are still pending.
“I know for sure — because I was there and heard them myself — that we got some good EVPs during the investigation,” Janz said.
According to historical information provided, the oldest structure known at the current jail site was a log cabin owned by a widow named Ann White whom took care of the widowed Dr. E.J. DeBard. The next home was owned by Jasper Starr, newspaper editor of “The Wonder.” Nearby was the Lonestar Saloon next door. In the 1880s, a jail was built in the location with a clock tower donated by Palestine pioneer George Wright. In the 1930s, the current three-story Art Deco jail was built. The jail closed in 1988, but was used for another decade as a juvenile detention center and later for storage. The county sold the historic structure in July to Tyler resident Michael Collins, who has allowed the Haunted Little Town Walking Tours group to continue the tours.
“For a $15 flat rate, we are providing all the tools they are going to need, give them a chance to explore this historic old county jail in a controlled environment and offer a possibly rewarding experience of finding or identifying something interesting,” Janz said. “We got a lot of positive feedback from our other tours. We had a lot of people who shared stories of family members who worked at the jail. Whether it was nostalgic or history or just people having fun doing the ‘ghost hunting,’ people really seemed to enjoy going through the jail.”
The “Christmas Ghost Hunts” will be more family-friendly than the Halloween tours.
“For the ‘Christmas Ghost Hunts,’ children can come in and have a great time without worrying about making a mistake,” Janz said. “We want children to be able to enjoy the experience as well.”
The “Christmas Ghost Hunts” will be offered at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday from now through Dec. 29. The old jail is located near the Anderson County Courthouse Square. For more details and tickets for the “Christmas Ghost Hunts,” call Janz at 951-552-3578, visit www.hauntedlittletown.com or visit the Haunted Little Town on Facebook. Reservations in advance are encouraged.
PCT Cross Promotion
As a cross promotion with the Palestine Community Theatre (whose production of “A Christmas Carol” production opens Dec. 7 at the Texas Theater) those participating in the “Christmas Ghost Hunts” on the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the old jail will have the opportunity to use ghost hunting tools to find the following ghosts: Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, Janz said.
Documentary in Works
This holiday season, the public is invited to be a part of Haunted Little Town’s documentary film and paranormal investigations.
“Haunted Little Town was created to showcase the magical history and abundant paranormal activity of Palestine, Texas. Paranormal investigations are a critical element of this inspiring story,” Janz said. “Please contact us to share your story, experiences and schedule an investigation.”
For more information, call Janz at 951-552-3578.