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Ghosts And More Ready For Festival

INDEPENDENCE -- Spooks will be celebrated in downtown Independence this Friday night during the annual Hop and Heritage Festival's Ghost Walk.

It's a time when local residents can tour historical sites and learn about the "otherworldly" inhabitants of the once-bustling river town.

In past years, hundreds of people turned up in front of the new library at dusk to learn more about the eerie legends and tales that surround one of the most significantly historical towns in Oregon.

Why hold the annual ghost walk in late September instead of on Halloween? The ghosts of Independence have become just as much a part of the town's heritage as the old buildings they still inhabit, so the eve of the festival devoted to Independence's heritage is a perfect time for citizens to visit their haunts.

In fact, one of the prominent stops on the tour of ghosts is the old heritage museum. It reopened in the 1970s as a museum after many decades as a church. Built in 1888, it is one of the oldest buildings in town.

There have been numerous reports of invisible choirs singing in the deserted choir loft and strange voices resonating throughout the building.

Some say a picture, taken during the 1978 renovation, even shows a couple of the souls at work.

Also prominent on the Ghost Walk are the Speakeasy Steakhouse and Lenora's Ghost. Both places have allowed overnight stays by members of the Pacific Paranormal Research Society, and according to the reports, both are very haunted. To see pictures and read the reports, visit the investigations page of the Pacific Paranormal Research Society at www.nwpprs.com.

If you love a good ghost story, or if you are just a history buff, the Ghost Walk is family-friendly fun. Even though you won't enter most of the buildings on the tour, people will share their brushes with the downtown supernatural community.

The Ghost Walk tours start at dusk Friday. The "ghost hosts" for the evening are area residents interested in preserving the history and legends of the town.

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