Stately Oaks preparing for moonlight ghost stories

Officials from Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc. are inviting local residents to come to the Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro later this month to hear tales of ghosts and ghouls, and legends of the area's past.

The historical society has gathered an army of a half-dozen local storytellers to participate in its annual "Georgia Folklore by Moonlight" event just before Halloween. Event co-organizer Helen Adkins said the storytellers will mainly tell ghost stories that tie into graveyards and the area's Native American history.

There will be a total of seven storytellers weaving tales on the folklore tour, Adkins said; but she added just over half of them (four storytellers all together) will be telling ghost stories.

"A lot of these stories are things people say are true stories, but they have a definite supernatural feel to them," Adkins said. "The stories are not too scary, though, because we don't want to scare children too much. They are enough 'scary' that you'd get chills, but not so scary that they'd give you nightmares."

The Georgia Folklore by Moonlight event will be held Oct. 22, from 6:30 p.m., to 10 p.m., at Stately Oaks, located at 100 Carriage Lane, in Jonesboro. Adkins said Historical Jonesboro officials are now taking reservations for the event, so people will have a set time for their folklore tour to begin, and therefore not have to sit and wait too long for a tour to begin on the night of the event.

People can reserve a spot on a folklore tour by calling Stately Oaks at (770)473-0197. Adult admission is $7 per person, and children between the ages of 5 and 11 can attend the event for $5 per person. Tours are expected to begin every 20 minutes, according to Adkins.

Historical Jonesboro is trying the folklore event at Halloween for the second year, but the event has a much longer history, according to the historical society's President, Barbara Emert. "We used to do it as an annual [springtime] event for several years," she said. "But, then we didn't do it for while, and we just decided to bring it back last year, and try it out at Halloween."

Adkins said attendees will be able to sit on bales of hay as they wait for their tours to begin, and listen to musical entertainment, or have their fortunes told through a scalp reading by a phrenologist. Light refreshments will be available for purchase as well, she added. Once the tours begin, each group of 15, to 20 attendees will be lead, from one storytelling station, to the next, by a tour guide.

The stations will take guests through the main Stately Oaks house, tenement houses, the Bethel School House, the property's replica Native American Village, and makeshift graveyard.

"It's sort of got the ambiance of sitting around a camp fire, telling ghost stories," Adkins said.