Jonesville’s historic Grosvenor House Museum is hosting a night of haunted Halloween readings and local lore featuring everything from the work of artists such as Edgar Allen Poe to those by local volunteers beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28. Doughnuts and apple cider will be provided afterward.
The Halloween reading is the next in a series of events the museum hosts over the course of the year, from Jonesville’s Riverfest to the museum’s own Victorian Christmas.
This is the second year the manor has held this Halloween celebration. According to Hillsdale College assistant Physics professor and museum volunteer Paul Hosmer, about 70 people, a mix of local residents and college students, attended last year’s event. Latecomers stood as the 60 seats set out were filled.
This year, the museum staff has planned for extra seats to handle the crowd, museum board vice president Dick Morgan said.
Last year, Hosmer presented his own ghost story, constructed around President William Harrison’s removal of Hillsdale County’s local Indian population in 1840. Hosmer will be crafting a similar tale for Friday.
“I’ve enjoyed writing these original ghost stories,” Hosmer said. “I’m really interested in local history so I try to work in real, local history into the ghost stories so you also get a fun ghost story but also learn a little bit about local history.”
To craft his ghost stories, Hosmer digs through old county records and histories and builds his work off what he finds, mixing an entertaining narrative with some local trivia.
“There were several county histories in the late 1800s that were put out, so basically I’ve just gone off of biographies and histories in those,” Hosmer said. “So both my stories, last year and this year, are set in the 1840s so those stories are in the county histories of the 1870s and 1890s and 1903.”
Other Hillsdale College professors and local residents will be presenting from a series of suspenseful and scary poetry and short stories such as Poe’s “The Raven,” presented by associate professor of English Dutton Kearney.
Morgan won’t measure the success of the event by counting the number of heads who show up. Rather, he values positive feedback from those who decide to attend the event.
“We already had a lot of interest from the public. That in itself is rewarding,” Morgan said. “But really, good feedback from those who come would be a successful night.”