Chances are you've never thought about exorcism from the ghost's point of view. All it wanted was to silently share your home, look over your shoulder while you're reading, move some things around to help you decorate. And you call a priest to cast it out? You'll regret it — you and the whole town.
That's the scenario the Hudson Players are acting out Oct. 22 on their city's oldest, spookiest streets. Under a full moon, vengeful ghost characters will tell their tales of afterlife banishment on the second annual Ghost Stories Tour.
This year's performance, titled Unreliable Sources, blends actual tales from Hudson's rich 211-year past with the imaginations of the Skywave Writers, a three-person creative writing group.
"We obviously take some literary license and make them better stories," says co-writer Connie Mroczkowski. For instance, the authors say an exorcism really was performed in Hudson not long ago.
"That's based on a reliable source," says co-writer Kathie Franks. "We're modifying it to protect the innocent ghosts."
Skywave Writers dig up old articles from the 19th-century Hudson Enterprise, resurrect village legends and embroider them with morbid glee. From the headline "Cat Kills Woman" and an accidental poisoning at a church luncheon comes Lacey, the ghost who poisoned her mother and sister and was scratched to death by her cat, Crow. Elmer, a ghost based on an actual custodian at Hudson's old grade school, relives a fateful encounter with the fictional Dodgeball Kid, the picked-last, picked-upon boy from everyone's gym class.
"They call him the Dodgeball Kid, but he didn't die from dodgeball," says Gary Maher, the show's producer.
The tour sets out from the Brewster Mansion, an 1853 Gothic Revival home on the town square. Cloaked, lantern-carrying figures guide visitors past century-old homes.
"Last year, fortunately or unfortunately, the weather was terrible," recalls writer Howard Perley.
Guests are lured to the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground. There, amid the weathered tombstones of the long-dead, the Players plan an all-out fright fest, a final confrontation between the still-living and the merciless spirits.
Then the lantern is snuffed, the guide disappears, and the visitors are left to find their own way back to their cars in the dark.
Haunted Prison Experience: Death Row 2010
Creepy actors, shifting floors and blinding fog magnify the horror inside a 124-year-old Ohio State Reformatory once filled with actual lost souls. $15-$17, Thu-Sun, 419-461-0120, hauntedx.com
Haunted Cleveland's Mystery, Mayhem, and Murder Tour
Urban legends you can handle, but how about the inferno of the Collinwood School Fire and the butchery of the Torso Murders? $45, Oct. 1, 8, 27-29, 216-251-0406, hauntedcleveland.net
Bloodview Haunted House
Horror improv group The Legion of Terror stalks this Broadview Heights attraction, which includes the haunted house, Gore House, and Baby Doll Island. $15, Fri-Sun & Oct. 21 & 28, 440-526-9148, bloodview.com
Gravestones, Lanterns and Legends
Join Haunted Stark County author Sherri Brake at the Massillon Cemetery as she tells tales of Victorian mourning customs and Civil War soldier ghosts. $15, Oct. 14 & 28, 330-412-6114, hauntedhistory.net
Boo at the Zoo
With a lineup of magicians, jugglers, the Creepy Crawly Critter Animal Show and free treat bags for kids, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's thrills are strictly adorable. $8, Oct. 21-24 & 28-31, 877-772-5425, clemetzoo.com