House Ghosts

Story by Lois Carol Wheatley

John Hirchak is the ghost guru of Wilmington's historic district. He runs the Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington nightly during the summer months beginning at the intersection of Market and Water streets, and also the occasional Haunted Pub Crawl, a bit of a bar hop to see what spirits might be on tap.

He takes some ridicule from those who pooh-pooh the paranormal and also from those who might call into question certain of his very specific historic assertions, as historians tend to do. But he has a huge following, seen straggling along behind him or one of his tour guides almost every night that weather permits, gazing wherever his finger points at long-ago scenes of murder and mayhem in the old port city. Wilmington was once a violent, crime-infested district filled with sailors, pirates, pickpockets and prostitutes. He claims his hometown is one of the most actively haunted cities in America.

He's also written a book, Ghosts of Old Wilmington, published by Haunted America, an imprint of The History Press, in 2006. If you take any of the tours you'll see whatever ghosts he can pack into an hour or two, but the book covers more than 200 years of faces appearing in windows, smells and sensations having no earthly explanation, ethereal presences that appear and vanish in the places they once lived and died.

It all gives fresh meaning to the notion of visiting one's old "haunts." Here are some of Hirchak's favorite tales of horror and suspense in Wilmington.

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Terms: Wilmington Ghost Stories

Wilmington Ghost Stories

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