Behind the Scenes of a Ghost Walk

Behind the Scenes of a Ghost Walk

I am obsessed with ghost walks.
The first one I went on was when I was travelling in Edinburgh with my sister over fifteen years ago. I immediately fell in love with the concept of learning about history, hearing some great stories, and going of a tour or a city.

Since then, I have done ghost walks in York, England; St. John’s, Newfoundland; Halifax, Wolfville, Windsor Nova Scotia; and now Liverpool, England.

To complete my passion for ghost walks, I am now involved with Jeremy Novak and Valley Ghost Walks here in the Annapolis Valley.

While a university student, Jeremy took a course in designing and implementing small business plans. Little did he know then how successful that his own plan would be! Having been on historic walks in other towns, he loved what he saw and thought that if others could have such tours run with such success, then why couldn’t Wolfville?

From this, he has built an empire of ghost walks here in the Annapolis Valley. Now in his seventh season, Valley Ghost Walks is a story of great success!

Kentville_2012-31Photo courtesy of Heather Rusthon, Twin Bridges Photography

How did I get involved?

For four years, Jeremy was solely running the ghost walks in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He had hopes of expanding into other towns, but not the time.
As someone who seems to be involved in too much in the community, I was approached by members of the Kentville business development committee to see if we could get a ghost walk in Kentville, much like they had in Wolfville.

I emailed Jeremy to share the idea. He was keen. However, he didn’t have the time to research and write the scripts. I, being a freelance writer, would love to write the scripts, but wasn’t able to do it as a volunteer. Together, we applied for the Cultural Activities Grant through the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage with the help of CentreStage Theatre. We were successful and received enough money to hire me as a research assistant!

The way that Valley Ghost Walks works is that you convene at one point while Jerome the Gravekeeper (Jeremy) gives you a walking tour, while sharing information along the way.


On your walk, you meet various ghosts who come onto the scene to tell you their story.

Kentville_2012-64Photo courtesy of Heather Rusthon, Twin Bridges Photography

The Ghost walk is more like a theatrical historical tour rather than stories all about ghostly apparitions.

I spent the spring of 2012 reading everything I could about Kentville’s history, interviewing people and pouring over documents in the archives at our local museum. Key events and people kept popping up, so those were the ones that I turned into stories and monologues. In fact, we had so much great information that we actually created two ghost walks – one in the downtown core, and one in the town’s cemetery.


Photo courtesy of Heather Rusthon, Twin Bridges Photography

There were stories of pirates, murder, liquor raids, hangings – just to name a few!

Kentville_2012-17Photo courtesy of Heather Rusthon, Twin Bridges Photography

One of my favourite characters that I wrote a monologue for was Archie Pelton. He, along with Dan and Jack MacKay helped build MacKay cars right here in Kentville.


Pelton later became mayor of Kentville. He is a fascinating character. I was telling my sister about some of the ghosts she would see in the walk and she stopped me mid-sentence. Archie Pelton was her husband’s great-grandfather! I had no idea when I wrote the script! Archie’s granddaughters came along on the tour one night, and were happy to meet their “grandfather!”

Running a ghost walk takes a lot of work and dedication. The amount of information that is in Jerome the Gravekeeper’s head will astound you!

Kentville_2012-6Photo courtesy of Heather Rusthon, Twin Bridges Photography

Then, there are the 8+ professional community actors who need to be organized, in place at the right time, and in a costume (thanks to CentreStage Theatre). After seven years, though, it’s all like clockwork.

Since writing the Kentville ghost walks, I have also received the same grant to write a ghost walk for Halls Harbour which focuses on the Legend and Lore of the Fundy Shore full of tales of ghost ships, pirate treasures, shipwrecks and more.

Valley Ghost Walks are now in four towns in the Annapolis Valley: Wolfville, Windsor, Kentville and Halls Harbour. They run all summer and into the fall. A full schedule is here.

If you are looking for something new and fun to do this summer, try out one of these various walks! They are appropriate for kids 10+. There is nothing inappropriate for children in the walks, it’s just that these are history lessons, and not every kid is into history!

The walks happen rain or shine, so grab some walking shoes, a flashlight, some bug spray and your camera! You’ll see me taking tickets in Kentville and Halls Harbour (you’ll never see me acting, though!)


Photo courtesy of Tamar Marshall, Red Birch Media

Make your reservations through the website. You won’t be disappointed!

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