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Tickets on sale for return of Ghost Tours at Old Burying Ground

Westfield’s Old Burying Ground will host the return of Ghost Tours on Oct. 1 and 2. (MICHAEL BALLWAY/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

WESTFIELD — Tickets for the return of the annual Ghost Tours at the Old Burying Ground are on sale as the Old Burying Ground is given a new addition to help visitors find important grave stones.

Historical Commission Chair Cindy Gaylord said that tickets for the tours can be purchased at the Westfield Athenaeum for $10. The Ghost Tours themselves take place Oct. 1 and 2 beginning at 7 p.m., and usually run about 90 minutes. Attendees of the Ghost Tours will find a recently installed informational sign at the Old Burying Ground with images of a dozen different gravestones throughout the cemetery for prominent historical Westfield residents.

Rick Gaylord portrays a sawmill worker who died in an accident, during a Ghost Tour. The tours raise funds to preserve the historic memorial stones. (Photo by Frederick Gore)

Gaylord said getting the sign installed had been a two-year effort. It was created and installed by Design Workshop in Springfield. It shows the image and location of the graves for deceased residents such as the Rev. Edward Taylor, Hannah Noble, and the Dewey family gravestone.

Standing next to some of those gravestones Oct. 1 and 2 will be living residents of Westfield playing the role of the person whose grave they are standing next to. The Ghost Tours are an interactive historical tour of the Old Burying Ground in which local officials often volunteer to dress up as a certain historical character in Westfield.

The tours did not take place last year due to the pandemic, though they may not have taken place anyway, as members of the Historical Commission had expressed interest in skipping the 2020 tours due how much time they take to organize.

The newly installed sign at the Old Burying Ground shows an image and location of some of the most interesting historical figures of Westfield interred at the cemetery. (PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CINDY GAYLORD)

Gaylord said that Boy Scouts will have an overnight sleepover in the Old Burying Ground Oct. 1 and 2. It will be in part to simply provide the scouts with a fun group outing, but Gaylord joked that they will provide a small level of security for the cemetery, as well. In the early hours the day after the last Ghost Tour in 2019, lighting and audio equipment belonging to Jay Pagliuca was stolen from the burying ground. Pagliuca is heavily involved with the tours each year, and usually provides the visual and audio effects for the event.

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