New book features Huntsville’s haunted past

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Everybody loves a good ghost story. And there are plenty in Huntsville. We found someone who is sharing them in person and in print. We caught up with Jacquelyn Proctor Reeves at the Helion Masonic Lodge on Lincoln Street in downtown Huntsville. “There’s a ghost inside that is really upset about that time capsule being there,” she said while pointing at the original northern wall of the lodge.

Jacque, her husband Robert and their team, host Huntsville Ghost Walk each fall. She’s done her homework when it comes to some of the area’s best-known downtown residents. She says Alabama’s oldest Masonic Lodge is very haunted. “And when we walked in with a medium who sees ghosts, now I don’t see ghosts,” she said with a smile, “I’m just going to tell you that. If I saw them, I’m going to run.”

One night when she was giving a tour, a woman saw a ghost walk through the doorway. “And he was leaning on this column here and listening. And then when he was through listening, he turned around and walked back in,” she recalled.

While she was talking, the front door opened. But it opened by a real person. “Well. I’m glad you told me that,” she said with a smile, “It always makes me nervous when I’m talking to people and they look beyond me like there’s something behind me.”

In this case, it was lodge member Dean Lilja who shared some of the stories people hear on the ghost walks. “How the lights opening, turn on and off, the doors open and close and we see a bunch of various weird things,” he said, “and I haven’t really experienced too much of that, but we hear footsteps that don’t, really can’t be explained sometimes.”

Jacque wrote a book called “When Spirits Walk” about 15 years ago. She’s written another one, “Where Spirits Linger.” “These are stories we tell on the Ghost Walk with more depth,” she told me. There are 18 different stories about Huntsville’s haunted past. “You want to know if the place is haunted, who haunts it and why it’s haunted,” she said, “So we`ve got a lot of the historical background that goes with it.”

She’s researched each one. Some are stories that have been handed down from one generation to the next. “Yes. I talk to, if I can, the descendants of those people” she told us, “people who have known the families who have been in the house.” How haunted is Huntsville’s past? “I’m not sure I know how to answer that,” Jacque told us but, “On a scale of one to ten, maybe, probably an eight.”

And she says ghosts are everywhere. “They’re walking with us right now,” she said as we walked down Williams Avenue, “They’ll listen for a while and then they’ll move on.” When I asked if she thought spirits were walking with us as we talked, she smiled and said, “Absolutely.”

Jacque says she’s been told by those who do talk to the spirits, they like their stories are being told with reverence and dignity. “As kids, we all liked ghost stories and there’s something about being afraid that makes you feel most alive,” she said.

Here’s a link to the Huntsville Ghost Walk website to check out the schedule and ticket prices. You can buy a copy of Jacque’s book at Harrison Brothers Hardware or reach out to her on the Huntsville Ghost Walk Facebook page.

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