Take a spooky tour of Historic Burgaw Cemetery at Ghost Walk of Pender’s Past on October 21 and 22.
Join former town leaders, local icons and self-proclaimed historian Miss Mattie Bloodworth for the popular Ghost Walk of Pender’s Past on October 21 and 22.
The guided tour is staffed by volunteers — high school through adult — dressed as popular characters from yesteryear who share stories as visitors make their way through the cemetery. The award-winning event is in its fifth year, pausing only for Hurricane Florence in 2018 and COVID in 2020 when the production was turned into a drive-in movie. This year’s ghost tour offers a different spin by incorporating stories from real places that people can visit after the walk.
“It’s different from a lot of traditional ghost walks,” says Pender County Tourism Assistant Stephanie Key. “All the vignettes have an element of truth to them. We pool our stories from actual historic events that have happened in Pender County, and everything is tied to a tangible location.”
Visitors will hear tales from Moores Creek National Battlefield, Poplar Grove Plantation, the beaches of Topsail Island, the Gullah-Geechee people and more.
Pender County Historical Society, Historical Society of Topsail Island, Pender County Tourism, Pender County Parks and Recreation, Pender County Library, Pender Arts Council and Moores Creek National Battlefield come together to make the walk a huge success. Those same organizations also share proceeds from the popular event.
Susan Ferber is going on her fourth year of playing local true-life character and ghost host Mattie Bloodworth.
“I researched Mattie at the Pender County Historical Museum to get a feel for her,” Ferber says. “Mattie had a strong personality.”
Bloodworth, who never married, was seen as an eccentric. She was a news reporter and photographer, worked as a traveling salesman for Grove’s Chill Tonic and marched for Women’s Suffrage in 1920. Like Ferber, Bloodworth was passionate about the area’s history.
“We both enjoy sharing information and encouraging young people to take an interest in the arts and current events,” Ferber says.
No matter what people thought of her, Bloodworth got things done.
“She was instrumental in getting the Pender County Courthouse and grounds built and landscaped and was often seen yelling at people to ‘get off the grass,’” Ferber says.
Ferber sums up what makes the popular event one of the favorites of the year: “All the stories are about real people. The stories are entertaining as well as interactive and honor the past and the people who built this area of North Carolina.”
Want to go?
Ghost Walk of Pender’s Past
October 21 and 22
Historic Burgaw Cemetery, 200 E. Wallace Street
Tours last approximately an hour and half and start at 6 p.m. with the last tour at 8:30 p.m. There are 16 tours each night, and the event is expected to sell out.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 5 to 17. Children ages 4 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. Guests should dress according to the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
For more information and to order tickets click here.