Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hutch Haunts was Great

Saturday night I attended Hutch Haunts, a partnership of the Kansas Underground Salt Museum (KUSM) and the Hutchinson Theatre Guild. They were kind enough to invite me so I could write about the evening. It was a very full, and very fun, evening.

We started at KUSM with a welcome from Director Linda Schmitt, and heard an overview of the findings of paranormal investigators from Kansas City and Hutchinson. In a nutshell, they found no activity at Armstrong's Antiques or Fire Station Number 1, but found much activity at the Reno County Museum. They pointed out it didn't mean there was nothing there, just that nothing happened when they investigated.

Our next stop was Eastside Cemetery, where the theatre guild was doing its fourth annual presentation of "Talking Tombstones."

It was a perfect fall evening activity.

We then convened at the Reno County Museum and began a tour of the downtown spots the investigators went to. Our group finished at the museum, but we got a bit of history about it from a vantage point across the street at Memorial Hall as we started our tour.

Next we toured Armstrong's Antiques.

I'm afraid this ghostly flag flapping in the breeze was the most mysterious thing I photographed all night. And that wasn't too mysterious.

Next on our tour was Fire Station Number 1, which has been occupied 365 days a year since the early 20th century. At one time it housed the police station, too, and they showed us the two cell jail, which was interesting.

They even played a song for us, sung by Nancy Sinatra, written by someone who spent some time in the non-climate-controlled jail. It was called, "It's Cold in the Hutchinson Jail."

One of my favorite parts of the night was hearing a ghost story from Firefighter Casanova.

I could have listened to him talk about his experience for a long time. It was a highlight of the evening. Our timing was very good, too, because just as we were leaving an alarm went off and the firetruck was on its way to an emergency.

Our tour group wrapped up at the museum. I didn't know anything about ghost hunting, but apparently the approach is to go into any investigation trying to explain away anything that has been reported as unusual.

The ghost hunters shared their findings at each place, including some photographs they took the night they were investigating.

The blue room below was one of the "hot spots" in the museum. My photo, unfortunately, has nothing unusual about it. It's just a blue room.

We then went back to KUSM for a special underground tour through non-public areas. It was too dark for me to get photos during that tour, but suffice it to say that it was amazing.

Myron Marcotte, who oversees the mining operation, led us on a hike through the underground area, and shared some stories with us about miners who've died. I really, really enjoyed his tales of Lloyd Lightner.

Everytime I'm down in the salt mine I want to explore more and more. I've written about it before. We're so very fortunate to have it and the Cosmosphere in town - two world-class attractions right here.

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