Costumed actors portray “spirits” in the dimly lit rooms of the Lanier Mansion during the seventh annual Night Spirits program held on Friday, Oct. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site.
“Each ‘spirit’ will tell a true, shocking tale related to their life, or death. None of these stories have been told in previous programs,” explained Lanier Program Manager Anne Fairchild. “The incidents recounted by the spirits this year are: The Beheading of Rossington Elms by Dan Bixler, Explosion at the Alleghany Arsenal by Kathy Ayers, The Nurse Who Haunts Madison’s Civil War Hospital by Shonica Hartless, The Drowning of Little Georgie Smith by JoAnne Spiller and the Bizarre Death of Robert R. Rea by Bob Hartsaw.” This year’s program is dedicated to the memory of Virginia (Ginger) Jorgensen, author of Ghosts of Madison Indiana, who passed away in 2012.
The ghostly scripts were written by Wayne Sanford, an author and historian from Indianapolis, who has conducted extensive research on Madison’s history. Sanford has written scripts and coordinated night tours for Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis for more than 20 years.
“Wayne’s scripts dramatically — but accurately — describe these macabre events from our past,” said Fairchild. “Also, our volunteer actors do a tremendous job bringing his scripts to life.” Guests will start at the Lanier/Madison Visitor Center, located just west of the historic home at 601 West First Street. The first tour group will leave the Visitor’s Center at 7 p.m. with additional groups departing in 15-minute intervals thereafter. The final tour group will depart at 9 p.m. Light refreshments will be served in the mansion’s eerie basement at the end of each tour.
Admission is $10 per person. Reservations are strongly suggested. For reservations call 812.273.0556 and select your time of departure.