With help from some high school theater students, the Strasburg Ghost Walking Tour will take a virtual detour into other area haunts this October.
Sponsored by the Strasburg Heritage Association, the ghost tour trades off years with the Holiday Home Tour, said Tim Taylor, president of the organization.
The ghost tour takes place in even years, he said, normally on the last Saturday in October.
With Halloween falling on that last Saturday this year, he said 2020 would have been primed for an especially fun and spooky night of ghost tours and Trick-or-Treating.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many events online, the organization looked for other ways they might keep the stories alive.
“The app will be different because it’s on-demand,” said Taylor.
Instead of a one-night ghost tour, participants can listen to true stories whether traveling to locations described in each story or enjoying the images and stories from the comfort of their homes.
“It will give a map, and once you walk and get within proximity, the information will just pop up there on your phone,” Taylor said.
Usually, students from the Strasburg High School’s VCCLA club would stay at locations and tell stories to attendees, he said, but the app required more storytelling finesse this year.
Enter the Strasburg High School theater class and their teacher, Sharon White.
“I think it’s kind of a neat thing,” said White.
“I jumped on that opportunity,” she said. “I think my kids were pretty excited to have something to do, too.”
She asked members of the theater class and the National Honor Society, also adding a request for other interested students to the school’s announcements.
Nine juniors and seniors signed up, she said, and they took on the nine ghost stories as well as introductory and final comments.
White, who also teaches English, instructed them on enunciation, inflection and pacing before they recorded their stories.
The app also includes some riddles and a one-question quiz with each story, Taylor said.
“I like to really think that in the future, we could have the kids totally do everything,” he said.
The free app, Strasburg VA Heritage Association Ghost Tour #1, will be available through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which has worked with the organization on a travel app for a roadway marker program.
“That’s how I discovered it,” Taylor said. “It’s free and it’s pretty dang easy. We kind of put it together at the last second.”
For more information, go to izi.travel/en/app.