Do ghosts wander through downtown Washington?

Published 7:04 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008

By Staff
Schmitt recalls eerie encounter
Lifestyles &Features Editor
When there’s talk of ghosts and unexplained happenings, don’t expect Ryan Schmitt of Washington to scoff at such stories.
That’s because he claims to have seen a ghost when he was a youngster.
Schmitt’s story is included in this weekend’s Washington Haunts ghost tour, a fundraiser to help Downtown Washington on the Waterfront in its mission to promote and celebrate the area. The hour-long tour will be offered Friday and Saturday nights.
As he recalls, Schmitt was 8 or 9 years old at the time and was helping out at his family’s store, then located further east along Main Street from its present location. The building, once home to Cox’s shoe store, is presently being remodeled and will open as a pizza restaurant, according to Schmitt.
Schmitt paused and indicated a vintage photograph of people from the early 1900s.
That wasn’t the only eerie incident that occurred at the Schmitt business. Schmitt’s father, Rodney Schmitt, was working on a clock mechanism and left it sitting out overnight.
While Schmitt is the only family member to have seen the ghost, his father has admitted to “feeling a cold chill” when in the upstairs office.
The Schmitt family moved the business to its present location in 1990, and for a time it appeared the ghost may have moved with them.
Schmitt, a musician, also had an unusual experience while playing the piano in the apartment located over the shop.
Schmitt’s mother, Ruth, playfully said she may have encountered a ghost.
Ryan Schmitt said he’s convinced there is something to ghosts and a co-mingling, so to speak, of two different worlds.
The Washington Haunts ghost tour will be held nightly at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30. The cost is $10 in advance for adults (be sure to make reservations no later than 5 p.m. Thursday); children 12 and under go for $5 and babies are free. Advance reservations may be made by calling the Washington visitors center at (252) 948-9415. Adult tickets purchased after Thursday are $15. The tour leaves from the visitors center, located at 138 South Market Street, and participants are advised to meet there 10 minutes prior to the start of the tour. Tickets can be purchased with cash or personal checks; no credit cards are accepted.