Georgia is one of the top ten states for so-called heritage tourism. Historic homes, battle sites, and even final resting places draw thousands of visitors every year. This is the time of year when many cemeteries bring back the dead to raise money for preservation.
A group of 20 people walks quietly through Macon’s Riverside cemetery at dusk. They stop along the way as costumed actors share histories of the departed. ‘Nina Hart’ stands on the steps of the mausoleum where she’s interred.
“I was the first woman to be licensed as a mortician in the State of Georgia.”
During Halloween tours like this one are going on across Georgia in cities like Macon, Savannah, and Covington. Suzanne Doonan is with the Historic Riverside Cemetery Foundation in Macon. She says the Spirits in October tour helps them share history and raise money for the cemetery built in 1887.
“It was at a time when the idea of death in our country was that it was a part of life and that families would come to the cemetery and bring their children and have picnics and clean and landscape ancestral graves. They didn’t have a creepy idea about death.”
Doonan says money raised will help restoration efforts at the cemetery. Plans are also on tap for a walking trail.