CHESAPEAKE CITY — Ghost stories that will make you scared of the things that might lurk underneath the water of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, or the spirits haunting a historic house, are returning to Chesapeake City next weekend with The Revisionists: A Haunted Victorian Walk.
The Revisionists are members of a secretive society, started by a British ex-attorney who is invited to Chesapeake City to deal with all the ghosts in town.
“The concepts and the characters tend to be older people who lived in Chesapeake City,” Organizer Greg Shelton said.
The storytellers will lead the audience by lamplight through the town’s historic streets while telling their eerie tales.
Shelton said this year’s walk will feature brand new stories. Shelton considers Chesapeake City a Victorian Town, with the heyday of the canal being in the 1840s.
The number of stories were cut from six to five, to streamline the event so individual tales stand out in the audience’s mind.
“Each story is about 20 or 30 minutes,” Shelton said.
The stories are written by April Lindsey, who also served as the head story writer last year.
“They’re all so dark and strange and just perfect,” Shelton said, when asked about Lindsey’s work.
Shelton said the Chesapeake City government reached out to him to start the event when the annual ghost walk was at risk of disappearing, so he created the Revisionists as a way to keep the Halloween spirit alive in his hometown.
“I have an affinity for not only loving the town but helping it grow and become more culturally relevant,” Shelton. “Getting new people and commerce down there is important to me.”
Shelton chose to focus on the Victorian era, centered around the reign of the British monarch Queen Victoria in the 19th century, because he believes it is the golden age of the ghost story, with writers like Edgar Allan Poe and M.R. James.
“The writers of that time designed the frame work of the ghost story that we still use today,” Shelton said.
Shelton said an aspect of the era that made it the ideal culture for stories about spirits walking among the living was how illnesses and conflicts like the Civil War caused many deaths, while at the same time the industrial revolution caused the economy to grow rapidly.
“At that time they were trying to deal with what to do with people when they pass away. How to handle a funeral, a lot of funerals were in people’s homes at that time,” Shelton said. “A lot of charlatans were taking advantage of people because so many people were dying of cholera and other diseases so they were talked people into seeing them and seances were devised, ouija boards were devised.”
Shelton said Chesapeake City is a Victorian town, since the C&D canal was completed in 1829.
In the stories, oftentimes the ghosts who the Revisionists are telling the audience about, interrupt the story to correct the record and state their case. The stories often take place in Chesapeake City, with “The Verdant Hannah Lund,” focusing on a woman who lived at the Blue Max Inn, who begins to suffer from hallucinations after painting her house Paris Green.
The Revisionists: A Haunted Victorian Walk, takes place on Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, and 30. Each $25 ticket includes a $10 gift card that can be used at three restaurants, The Chesapeake Inn, Klondike Kate’s, and La Casa Pasta. The minimum age for entry is 13 and above. For tickets and more information go to https://app.gopassage.com/events/the-revisionists.