BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Want to put some “boo” in your Roche de Boeuf day?
Check out the Waterville Historical Society’s River Road campus, where the Spectral Mysteries Investigations team will share the world of ghostly investigation with stories, videos, sound recordings and an opportunity to search for spirits in WHS properties.
Dave Misko and his team will be on hand from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Sargent House for this free event during the Saturday, September 24 Roche de Boeuf Festival. At 3:00 p.m., the WHS will draw raffle tickets to see which 10 festivalgoers will be able to accompany the team on an investigation of all the society’s properties at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $5.00 each.
Created especially for fans of the sold-out Haunted Waterville Tours, the events will highlight what WHS first vice president Julia Wiley and past president Jim Conrad have learned firsthand over the past few years: Some things cannot be explained.
“We’ve had four teams of ghost hunters come through, free of charge. They heard that Waterville was bursting with spectral activity,” Conrad said, noting that several heard from the Sargent children, were welcomed by former resident George Fisher and rebuffed by Mr. Robbins, who particularly dislikes Conrad for his portrayals of Waterville founder John Pray – since Conrad is still alive.
“I’m a very analytical person. I’m skeptical by nature. What I’ve experienced makes me wonder,” Conrad said. “But we’ll leave the audience to judge for themselves.”
As he did with the Haunted Waterville tours, Conrad will speak about historical figures while leading 20 guests at a time on a horse-drawn trolley excursion to the Roche de Boeuf island and the Interurban Bridge.
The island, a limestone outcropping, was the legendary site of Native American gatherings before the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers, and Gen. Anthony Wayne dubbed it “Rush te Boo” in his journals, Conrad said. He’ll share stories of some famous inhabitants and stories of mediums who have seen soldiers dressed in blue and Native Americans walking along what is now South River Road.
The trolley rides begin every half-hour between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and leave from the Robbins House Museum, 114 S. River Rd. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. Ages 0-4 ride free. For those wishing to ensure a spot on the horse-drawn trolley, go to www.watervillehistory.org.
The historical museum complex opens at 9:00 a.m. with the Robbins House and Sargent House museums open all day. Guests can try operating household machines of the past, do some tin punching and look through a flag exhibit.
A military encampment will be set up behind the Sargent House, re-enactors will fire off muskets and cannons on the hour from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. At 11:00 a.m. near the Columbian House, the Springfield High School JROTC drill team will perform.
Lining South River Road will be Wiley’s collection of flags that have flown over U.S. soil and what would become U.S. soil since Christopher Columbus arrived.
“Each flag has an identity and a story,” Wiley said, including the “Come and Take It” flag that a town near the Alamo flew to dare the Spanish to seize their cannon. Other flags include replicas of one at the Battle of Bunker Hill, the 50-star flag designed by an Ohio high school student and the last officially adopted flag to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action.
For information about WHS events during the Roche de Boeuf Festival or throughout the year, visit www.watervillehistory.org.