Downtown Vancouver gets downright creepy in October, as historical walking tours and a presentation at the Kiggins Theatre highlight this city’s darkest, weirdest corners.
For example, there’s the second-floor hallway above today’s McKenzie’s Treasures, a vintage shop on West Ninth Street. Previous ground-floor tenants reported bloodcurdling screams, running footsteps and motion lights triggered overhead in that empty hallway — or so Brad Richardson, executive director of the Clark County Historical Museum, has been told.
Richardson said he relishes the way we never get too sophisticated or skeptical to fear the unknown.
“We used to have werewolves or ghosts in the deep, dark forest, but that unknown portion of the world has shrunk,” he said. “The modern folklore we are collecting now, that’s today’s ghost in the forest.”
After a year when fear of a virus curtailed such outings, the Clark County Historical Museum is happy to get back to scaring folks with good old neighborhood ghosts. At 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October, museum guides will lead groups of no more than 25 walkers up and down Main Street, and into the neighborhoods beyond, while sharing lurid legends, terrible tales and historical horrors.
Much of their material will be drawn from “Darkness Next Door,” a compilation of spooky local stories researched and written by Vancouver historian Pat Jollota.
The route is about a mile, with frequent stops along the way, and takes about 90 minutes. Registration and tickets are required via cchmuseum.org/haunted-walking-tours. Tickets for non-members are $18 per person. Everybody over age 6 needs a ticket.
Tours proceed rain or shine, so bring a flashlight. Halloween costumes are encouraged — and so are face masks. All attendees are required to follow state and local COVID-19 guidelines in effect at the time. Call 360-993-5679 for more information.
What’s in the barracks?
Vancouver’s Army Barracks hosted thousands of soldiers and service members, spouses and children, prisoners and civilians who left a profound mark on the land and buildings across nearly two centuries of activity.
Stories swirl about the darker aspects of military life at the barracks. Local historian and author Jeff Davis, a Vancouver native who served at the site, shares them in his popular “Spirit Tales of the Vancouver Barracks” tours, through the end of Halloween season. General admission tickets for the Spirit Tales tours are $18.
Tours are 8 p.m. Saturdays and noon Sundays. Beginning Oct. 15, Friday night tours also start at 8 p.m.
Visit www.ghostsandcritters.com/ghost walks.html or contact Jeff Davis at email@example.com or 253-223-0125 for complete information.
If you don’t feel like walking through horrible local history, take a seat at the Kiggins Theatre on Oct. 21 as the same historical experts — Jollota, Richardson and Davis — gather in person to swap scary local stories.
The final 2021 session of History on Tap at the Kiggins is called “Campfire Tales: Monster from the Couve Lagoon.” The evening will also include audience games like One History and a Lie, and Clark County Trivia.
Admission is $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Visit kigginstheatre.com/movies/history-on-tap. Proof of vaccination and masks are required. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.
“We’re excited to be back,” Richardson said. “In celebration of our return to the Kiggins stage, we’re packing in even more stories of ghosts and intrigue as we explore what lies in the dark corners of the county’s past.”