Eleven-year-old Blake Robinson sat spellbound as Eric Scites breathed streams of fire into the air, and Jamie Sherwood marveled at the fact that Scites told her exactly what she was thinking during the grand finale of the Spirits of Hallowed Eve Ghost Walk and Illusion Show at the Living History Park on Saturday night.
Sherwood said she and her family were there from Grovetown because she had attended the Colonial Times event the week before and thoroughly enjoyed it.
This time, she brought her husband, her younger sister and teenage son.
“It’s hard to find things for kids to do at Hallo-ween that are not really gross,” she said.
Scites, of the historical entertainment group known as Faire Wynds, surprised some when he said that the beginning of Halloween was a festival for the family.
“They weren’t celebrating spirits or death or whatever – it was mostly a fall-harvest festival. The entertainment portion portrayed the 18th- and 19th-century interest in spiritism and it became a pretty good reason for entertainers to grab a few extra gigs before Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
The ticket-only event began with the ghost walk tours guided by volunteers who were dressed in colonial garb. The tours included five stops that showcased re-enactments or ghost stories of Revo-lutionary War-era happenings.
The illusion show was done by Scites and his wife, Susan, who travel most of the year putting on shows and who “strive to capture the entertainments of those traveling troups who made up the past.”
The All Hallows Eve performance, which was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Annabel Lee, was developed exclusively for the North Augusta event in 2012.
During the show Saturday night, a 12-inch needle was “passed” through Eric’s arm; Susan “floated” in the air; and Eric and Susan used the same type Spirit Cabinet used by the Fox Sisters, the Thurstons and even Harry Houdini.
“We claim no powers,” Scites repeatedly said. “Whether the spirits that walk the night or your own imagination, whatever you chose to believe.”
During the final portion of the event, attendees sat in front of a campfire as Scites first gave interesting historical facts, then led in singing colonial songs and performed more magic.
Event organizer Lynn Thompson said, “I was really pleased with the results. We were sold out for the dinner Friday night and Saturday night’s Ghost Walk and Illusion Show. We received over 50 e-mails Saturday from people wanting to get in and couldn’t.”