Rediscover Historic Vicksburg Via
In the interest of full disclosure, yes, Morgan Gates, my “partner in time” at RHV founded, owns, and operates Haunted Vicksburg Tours and Historic Vicksburg Tours. I am not shamelessly plugging his business, however. His tours really are awesome—would I have him as my blog partner if they were not? Also, his is the only tour business available in Vicksburg, outside of the military park. If others were available, I would write about them as well! That said, let me tell you about my experience on the Haunted Venues Tour I took last week and why I really believe this is another great way to Rediscover Historic Vicksburg!
Meshea Crysup, Founder Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg
Founder Civil War Bloggers, Authors…& More Network
Founder Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg Books
Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable VP
Like all of Morgan’s tours, we started out in the parking lot of the Vicksburg Outlet Mall. It is very easy to find—just head for Cracker Barrel and instead of turning into their parking lot, look to your left and you will see the Historic Vicksburg and Haunted Vicksburg Tours van, and, most likely, Morgan will be standing beside it watching for you! The tour starts at 8 PM, so as instructed, we—I enlisted my friend Kim Steen, Vicksburg Realtor Extraordinaire, to come along—arrived by 7:45. We were joined by a vacationing couple. Rain was moving in, but had not started yet. No matter—while the tour does involve getting out of the van several times, it is a driving tour and does not have to be canceled due to a little rain!
I expected to enjoy the tour, certainly, but I am around Morgan a lot! We are constantly talking about RHV, his business, the books, and other projects we have going, etc. I really did not expect to hear anything that had not already come up in conversation one time or another over the past year of Coffee Klatches and collaboration. Boy was I wrong!
The tour covers four neighborhoods, with a stop in each, plus a drive along the riverfront. While driving to our first area/stop, Morgan discussed a bit of Vicksburg history while also setting the tone for the topic of the evening: Haunted Venues!
Baer House Inn
Kim and I are at Baer House Inn frequently—attending Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable as well as other meetings there and other events, such as the Detective Comedy Dinner Theatre productions. To be honest, neither of us expected anything unusual so we both opted to leave our phones locked in the van. This was a mistake because, like the rest of the world, our smartphones are also or cameras and there is a “photo op” at Baer House that is very cool, and on this particular night, was also “eventful”. As per usual, I am not going to give away the details—I do not want to spoil the tour for you—but it involves a photograph in the house! The inn had a couple of guests that decided to join us for Morgan’s stories. After the very—hmm, I will just say “out of the ordinary photographic experience”, Morgan ended that part of our tour by telling the inn patron who were staying behind to “sleep tight!” RIGHT!!!
Our next stop was on the street with most of the businesses and restaurants in the historic part of Vicksburg—Washington Street. Kim and I are certainly on this street often, however we did NOT leave our cameras behind this time! There is another interesting photo op—outside of the doll museum. Yes, I said DOLL MUSEUM—creepy already, I know! We were all armed with our trusty smartphone cameras this time. Unfortunately, you know how it goes when you are prepared for something—nothing happened, this time, at least not with the photo. What did happen? A local business owner was just stepping onto the sidewalk as we went by. Of course, Morgan knows everyone, so the gentleman stopped to say hello. Since he was there and we were taking a haunted tour, he shared two of his own, most recent, Haunted Vicksburg experiences with us! Freaky!!!
Tourist Alert! I live here, so I should have known better, but I did not prepare for the Mississippi mosquitos! Riverfront, muggy, summer night in Mississippi—you get the picture! Think “Backwoods Off”!
I go to the Riverfront frequently to take pictures, but never at night. Not only is it a different visual experience, but Morgan has a whole other set of stories and facts to share. I informed the group and Morgan that obviously he had been holding out on me. In truth, however, he just knows so much about the area and its history that, as with all of his tours, he switches up what he tells. They are all great stories and you never get exactly the same tour twice!
This part of the tour takes you to an entirely different part of town and much further than one could go on a walking tour. We actually stopped at Cedar Grove, which is one of my favorite B&B’s to eat at. At night, it was beautiful! While we were there, a young man that had been on the tour a few days before showed up. He had a friend with him and he was basically recounting his tour experience with her. He actually came up and showed us all a picture he had taken on yet another night that he had returned to the tour site! Obviously, he was enthralled by what Morgan had shared during the tour! As for the picture he shared—wow! And, as if on cue, a hoot owl joined us, adding to the haunted ambience!
Southern Cultural Heritage Center
Our last stop was also too far from the downtown area to have been reached by a basic walking tour. I have been to this area with Morgan on other tours, but again, he shared stories I had not yet heard! The ambience at night here too is very different than during the day. It is certainly a great area for discussing haunted history!
Just as we were finishing up the tour, the rain moved in—Perfect timing! As for my over-all impression of the tour, it is truly a great way to Rediscover Historic—and Haunted—Vicksburg. I actually enjoyed it even more than the Haunted History Ghost Walk tour. Alternating between walking a bit and driving allows you to cover more of Vicksburg—more Haunted Venues! Like the very popular—and rightly so—walking tour, whether you believe in hauntings or just like history with some unexplained and unusual twists, you will certainly come away agreeing with Morgan’s tour catch phrase, “You never know what is going to happen in Haunted Vicksburg!”