THINGS THAT GO BUMP Well, it’s October. The chill is in the air, finally. The leaves are beginning to make their magical transformation from humid greens to cooler reds and yellows. And there may just be a ghost or two milling about, anticipating Halloween. If you missed the ghost tour this past weekend in the Annesdale-Snowden district, you’ve got one more chance to catch up on some local lore as it pertains to the things that go bump in the night. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this coming Saturday, the 19th, Elmwood cemetery will be hosting a walking tour of its own, complete with costumed tour guides representing some of the more interesting inhabitants of Memphis’ oldest continually operating home for the dead. Conducted as part of the institution’s 150th anniversary, the day will include tours conducted by ten costumed guides, the presence of 30 additional "characters" who will be milling about the park, an exhibit replicating a 19th century battlefield hospital, as well as music by the Stax Academy Street Corner Harmonies and the Steamboat Strummers. Oh, and refreshments. Whew. Sounds like it will be quite a day, and it only costs $5, with children 11 and under free! Of the 70,000 people resting in the confines of Elmwood, you’ll have a chance to meet some of its more colorful souls, including Ma Rainey II, Frank Latham, and Mrs. Grace Toof, namesake of Graceland. You’ll also see the final resting place of some of the city’s Confederate generals, a few madams, and just about every type of person in between. I’ve driven through Elmwood several times, led by a curiosity that some might call morbid. Though it may sound a bit strange, I found it to be completely awe inspiring. Especially noteworthy were the unmarked graves of the city’s yellow fever victims, the lavish Victorian monuments, and the overall aesthetic of the place, beautifully landscaped and inspired, even if a bit chilling. This should be a very interesting event for both Memphians and tourists alike. We live in a city with a rich and vibrant history, both tragic and marvelous, and it serves us well to remain aware of it. Throw some music and food in the mix, and this will probably be the most entertaining day of the year to check out our local treasure trove of days past. If you need more information, call Elmwood directly at 901-774-3212. And bring a sweater--you may just get a chill.


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