Fort Riley, Kansas

 

News

Ghost tours to include 11 stops

By Mary C. White | K-STATE PUBLIC RELATIONS STUDENT | October 27, 2017

MANHATTAN, Kan. — On Oct. 29, Fort Riley opens its gates for the 21st annual Ghost Tours. The event is family friendly and free to the public. Tours will begin at 4 p.m. and release every 20 minutes follow­ing until 7 p.m.

     In 2016, about 1,600 people attended the event and organizers are hoping to exceed 2,000 this year. Although the event is free, a donation of $5 per person will put you first in line for the next tour.

     The tours, organized by the Historical and Archeological Society of Fort Riley, will make 11 stops. The route is about a mile long and goes around the Historic Main Post, taking around one hour to complete. Tour groups do not enter any houses and it is stroller friendly.

     According to Tricia Verschage, this year’s ghostess and member of HASFR, residents of the homes will tell ghost stories at each stop on the tour. There will be no intention to scare, but there may be some people dressed in historic garb.

     Verschage lived on Fort Riley’s post for 22 years of her husband’s 29 years of active duty and has been involved with HASFR since their return to post in 2007.

     “My favorite (part about being the ghostess) is when I open up my email, and there is a new story,” Verschage said. “Fort Riley’s history is a large part of the ghost tours.”

     There are books of ghostly encounters available for purchase at the event. For Verschage, these books have become pleasure reading and can be found on her nightstand. She said she became the ghostess because she likes to hang out with ghosts. Verschage believes there are spirits everywhere, and you must keep an open mind to encounter them.

     As a part of HASFR, Verschage gives private group tours year round. These tours are available for a donation of $40, which goes toward the HASFR scholarship fund.

     “I enjoy sharing (the residents’) stories,” she said.

     Some of the stories include hearing horses charging and stopping in front of the Custer House, or seeing them, but never both. Another story includes seeing a faceless doll rocking in a chair by itself and a bedspread being messed up after countless times of making it.

     The Ghost Tours also welcome volunteers from Fort Riley and the surrounding community. They have 13 tour guides and Junction City Junior Reserve Officer Training Core members also volunteer to be a part of the night. They serve as crossing guards on streets and follow each tour group with a lantern so no one is left behind.