KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Historic Rugby is getting ready for a spooky time with its Ghostly Gathering celebration. During the event, visitors will take tours of the town’s historic buildings, hear spooky stories and meet the ‘ghosts’ of Rugby’s earliest residents.
On Saturday, October 21 and Saturday, October 28, the town will be celebrating a Victorian-style Halloween. The event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a chili dinner. At 6:45 p.m., attendees will tour several of Rugby’s historic buildings by the light of oil lamps. In addition to meeting ‘ghosts’, the tours will share information about death and grieving customs of the Victorian era and hear funeral hymns and Appalachian dirges.
“Ghostly Gathering is one of the most popular events that we host at Historic Rugby,” says organizer Cathy Hardaway. “It always sells out, so folks should get their tickets right away.”
The event will finish off with hot cider at the storytelling tent where two local storytellers will share ghost stories.
“There will be two fantastic storytellers this year,” Hardaway said. “On the 21st, we have Beth Ann Kilburn. She grew up in McCreary County, Kentucky and tells stories that she heard from her grandparents. Beth Ann is the real deal. Then on the 28th, we feature a storyteller who is new to Historic Rugby, Bel Stuart,” Hardaway continues. “Bel may be new to Rugby, but she really knows the ghost stories and folk heroes of our region.”
Rugby was founded in 1880 by British author Thomas Hughes during Victoria’s reign. According to the Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, the residents of Rugby began restoring the original design and layout of the community in the 1960s. This led to the creation of the nonprofit Historic Rugby Inc, which works to preserve and protect the site and its story as well as the heritage of the British Isles and Appalachia.