The Arcola High Bridge is said to be haunted. Many people claim to have seen the pale Lady in White drifting on the train tracks north of downtown Stillwater. This month, thrill seekers on the Haunted History Trolley Tours will not only see this mournful creature but also meet her — and they’ll hear why she looks so sad.
Ghostly visions and enhanced local history are woven together during the Haunted History Trolley Tours, created by Kerri Kolstad, owner of Wahoo Adventures. This marks the fourth time Kolstad has partnered with The Zephyr Theatre, which provides the spooky talent.
Actress Angela Walberg, the lovely Lily from the Zephyr’s production of “The Secret Garden: In Concert” in 2019, will embody this other ghost. Draped in antique white and accessorized with cobwebs, she’ll hop aboard the trolley during one of its many stops on the haunted tour.
Actor Brian Etienne plans to creep out tour-goers when he clambers aboard the trolley in the guise of Bennett Barker, a grave digger.
Why was he hired to dig up bodies and move them away from ground near Pioneer Park? Learn his story.
Walberg and Etienne join a cast of 14 professional actors picked by Calyssa Hall, The Zephyr Theatre’s executive director, to surprise, entertain — and perhaps scare — trolley riders.
“While there is a script and history behind each character,” Hall said, “we’re asking the actors to improvise and interact with the audience.”
And a captive, up-close audience it will be.
During casting, Hall said she also was looking for “very committed physical actors to play convincing ghosts. I’m hiring people who are willing to crawl into the trolley, or have a stage fight in the aisle, or jump onto the side of the trolley and bang on the windows.”
Hall said she also is hiring a professional makeup artist who will be well versed in creating scars, bruises, wan faces and weeping sores.
Imagine what the makeup artist will do with the ghost of John Jeremy, a fisherman, who will rise from the river dragging chains and a severed hand.
History has it Jeremy was hired by families to retrieve bodies from the St. Croix River. Who were those unlucky drowned victims and how did Jeremy get so good at his job?
Haunted History Trolley tourists will find out. The Lady in White, grave digger Bennett Barker, grisly John Jeremy, and the other creepy characters also will show up to mingle with party-goers at The Zephyr’s Masquerade Ball, which will include a trolley tour and a 21-and-older bash at the theatre Oct. 30. Food, drink, live music, and other entertainment will round out the night.
Haunted History Trolley Tours will be offered Oct. 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, and 29 with boarding at The Zephyr Theatre, 101 Water St. S., Stillwater. Starting times are staggered. Tickets are $45 and are available at mywahooadventures.com/haunted-history-trolley.
The Masquerade ball will be held from 6 p.m. to midnight Oct. 30 at The Zephyr Theatre. Tickets are $75 and are available through Wahoo Adventures at mywahooadventures.com/haunted-history-trolley. (Note: Party-goers will book their trolley tour when they buy ball tickets.)