Arts & Culture

Five Minutes With: Janet Horton, ghost tour guide

You never know who -- or what -- you'll bump into in downtown Beaufort over the next few weekends.

The Exchange Club of Beaufort is hosting its annual Ghost Tours of the historic district. Guests will be greeted by costumed storytellers recalling some of Beaufort's ghostly past.

Exchange Club member Janet Horton, who's served as a volunteer helper and tour guide for 10 years, explains how haunted Beaufort can get.

Question. What should people expect on the tours?

Answer. I tell people that you'll be entertained. You get a little bit of history. You see the historic area. It is night, but it's well-lit. It's a good night out with your friends.

Q. Is it scary?

A. You can be startled. It's not scary. There are some things that may startle you. One of the tours we were on one time had a ghost join us. There was a Civil War soldier all dressed up who just appeared with us. No one knew who he was. He wasn't with us. He just joined us for part of the walk and then just disappeared. That was about three years ago.

Q. And you haven't seen him since?

A. No.

Q. Maybe that's a good thing.

A. Maybe so.

Q. How did you get involved in the tours?

A. I joined the Exchange Club. I volunteered. You start out as what they call "security" in case someone gets hurt.

Q. Or in case of ghost attack?

A. Yes, we can scare the ghosts off.

Q. What else have you done?

A. I have been a vision in the past. And sometimes the ghosts don't show up, so I can fill in there. We do makeup and dress. We have 15 to 20 teenagers who come, and they're the visions. It's a big operation. We probably have more than 100 people who volunteer for it.

Q. What's your favorite story that gets told?

A. My favorite is probably about Blackbeard's bride. It's where Blackbeard had this woman who he wanted to marry. She was engaged to someone else. He killed her fiance and brought his hand to her to prove he had killed him. Then he took her as his bride.

They're great stories. I can't say they're all stories. But they're stories that have been handed down from residents throughout the years.