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Special to the Enquirer

Haunted Hartselle hosts Ghost Walk Thursday

By Jennifer L. Williams

For the Enquirer

For those looking for haunted fun this Halloween season, the daring can tour some spooky places in downtown Hartselle and search for spirits with the Southern Ghost Girls.

The third annual Historic Downtown Hartselle Halloween Ghost Walk and Investigation starts at 6 p.m. Oct. 28, as part of the 2021 Paranormal Palooza Tour. The group will meet at Whinny Wisdom on Main Street, where the Southern Ghost Girls will share a little about the history of the buildings they will explore and explain how they will conduct their investigation.

“Hartselle is one of the most haunted historic downtowns in Alabama,” said Lesley Ann Hyde, a Cullman State Farm agent who started the paranormal investigation and historic tours on the side in 2018. “We have found really good evidence the past few times we were in Hartselle.”

Hyde said the group has investigated the old bank, now Forever Kate, and Whinny Wisdom before, “but this is our first time going to the one in the middle (Red Ribbon), which we understand used to be a funeral home. We are really excited to be back.”

Participants can bring their own paranormal investigation equipment or can use the equipment supplied by the Southern Ghost Girls. “We have the same equipment you see on the popular paranormal investigation shows,” she said. “We do research on a building before we go and tell some of that history before we see what we can find with our equipment.”

The Ghost Girls dress in historic costumes to add to the ambiance, but Hyde stresses they do not “do” anything to make the tour more exciting or to trick the participants. “We simply investigate the unknown,” she said, “and let each person take away what they will and let them decide what we discover on each tour.”

Hyde said she’s had a fascination with the paranormal and the unknown from an early age, and she did her own investigating for a while. “I’ve always had that curiosity,” she said. “I went on a few ghost tours when I was younger, and they were not at all what I expected them to be. Let’s just say they were not very professional.”

Hyde said she knew she could do better, and she incorporated her faith-based investigative skills with her tours, which she says are family-friendly. “Our tours are very customer-service oriented,” she says. “We try to make them fun for everyone.”

The first tour Hyde hosted was at the Arlington Antebellum Home in Birmingham in 2018. “I didn’t know what to expect, but we had more than 200 people show up, and we had great feedback.”

Now, the small group of women – including an attorney and a NASA engineer – does ghost walks, investigations and murder mystery dinners all across north and central Alabama.

Hyde said the group tries to include a charitable fundraiser component to each event, mostly for local historical societies or animal shelters. This Thursday, the group is having a community collection drive for Cora’s Critters Animal Rescue, which specializes in cats. Those who bring a cat supply item – cat litter, cleaning supplies, blankets, food, bowls and old towels – to the check-in table will receive a coupon to use at a future event with The Southern Ghost Girls Tour and a special coupon to use at local Hartselle merchants. The Southern Ghost Girls limit the number of people on each tour, to help ensure each guest has a good experience. Tickets are still available for Thursday at $35 each and can be purchased online through Facebook, Eventbrite or on the website.