WINNSBORO — About 10 years ago Winnsboro Woman’s Club member Lisa Cathcart attended a ghost walk near Beaufort and on her way home began thinking of the legends and homes in Winnsboro.
Turns out there were lots of rumors about local houses. As she did research she realized that as the houses changed hands, new owners reported the same kinds of abnormal, paranormal activity. She teamed up with staff at the Fairfield County Museum to get the details and the rest is history.
Last year the Olde Winnsboro Ghost and Lantern Tour featured people in period dress with tastings at houses of vintage recipes and there will be new wrinkles this year.
There are new and improved ghost stories this year, including one involving Sheriff Hood who was murdered on the steps of the county courthouse.
“Thanks to the Pine Tree Players there will be characters from the War Between the States,” she said.
And Club 145 has had some rumblings of the paranormal, so it is included on this year’s route.
Guides have lanterns and the walks can be completed in an hour and a half of leisurely strolling.
The walks promote not only the paranormal side of the town but its history.
Guides Andi Phipps (ghost tales) and Cathcart (history) have their own emphases and say that participants request them by name depending on their interests.
“The best part for me is the research,” Cathcart said. “I love to do that and Winnsboro is such as historical area.”
She talks to homeowners and to the museum to learn of new haunted happenings that helps keep the tour fresh each year.
Cathcart said one of the fun parts for her as guide is the impromptu sightings that happen on the tours like one year when Andi saw candlelight flicker on in a house that they knew was empty for the weekend. When the owner was contacted he told them there were no candles in the home and there was no evidence of a break-in.
One year at Mt. Zion school participants told her they saw a little girl at a window on the third floor. Once a ghost hunters group out of Chester came to the museum and the old tavern and said they picked up voices on recordings, etc.
Avid ghost hunters took pictures and bright orbs were seen over the top of graves of Confederate soldiers.
Cathcart said she grew up in an old house on a plantation site and when she was a little girl observed paranormal activity. She also mentioned how children had seen ghosts in one of the houses where they grew up.
Tickets are $12. Refreshments are provided. To purchase tickets, call Vanity Stylon at 803-635-2922 after 5 p.m. and on weekends can call Songbird Manor at 803-635-6963. People can email Cathcart for reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket sales raise money for the Woman’s Club scholarships that are presented yearly to local high school seniors.