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Clarion County Historical Society’s Haunted Museum Event Offers Spooky Family Fun
The Haunted Museum opened on Friday, October 19, and will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 20, Friday, October 26, Saturday, October 27, and, of course, on Halloween night.
The cost is just $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children and includes small treats and a special surprise for each child who attends.
All proceeds benefit the Clarion County Historical Society.
Mary Lea Lucas, executive director and curator of the Clarion County Historical Society, told exploreClarion.com, “Since this is our first time, we didn’t want to overcharge, and wanted it to be affordable.”
According to Lucas, this kind of event is something the historical society has considered for a while, and the Sutton-Ditz Museum made the perfect venue.
“This is our first year, but we’d really like to make it an annual event,” Lucas noted.
The Haunted Museum is an old-fashioned kind of haunted house, with a different theme for each room. The rooms are decked out with everything from drooping cobwebs to a firey witches’ cauldron. The event is family-oriented, with a spooky atmosphere and decadently-dressed society members playing classic roles, but nothing too frightening for younger children.
“There are no chainsaws or blood and guts,” Lucas said.
One thing the event does offer is the incorporation of some artifacts from the society’s collection that people don’t usually get to see, including an antique copper casket with a glass lid and even a real Egyptian embalming kit.
The house itself, built in 1850, really is a perfect setting for a haunted event. According to Lucas, it has its own haunted history, even without the added Halloween bobbles and frills.
Thomas Sutton, the man who built the house, passed away in 1853, just three years after the house was completed. His six-year-old son died the day before he did, and his eight-year-old daughter died just three weeks later.
The historical society has a journal, written by Judge Campbell, who was a close friend of Sutton’s, that contains first-hand accounts of everything from Sutton’s marriage in 1846 to Sutton and his children’s funerals held in the parlor of the house in 1853.
According to Lucas, some of the eerie happenings in the house have been attributed to the spirit of Sutton’s six-year-old son.
“I hope he makes an appearance,” she said.
The historical society has actually had paranormal investigators visit the Sutton-Ditz house on two different occasions. The Rogue Paranormal team from Sharpsville was the most recent to visit several years ago. They stayed and investigated the building overnight, from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., utilizing multiple research tools, including a “spirit box” also sometimes know as a “ghost box.”
Lucas said the investigation validated a lot of experiences that some of the historical society members had at the Sutton-Ditz house and even led to an interesting discovery.
“The spirit box kept saying ‘bear,’ and they were asking ‘teddy bear? brown bear?’ but then it said ‘seam’ and it hit me: we have a bear fur coat in our collection. It has never been exhibited and was in storage. So, I ran and got it and started checking the seams in the coat. Well, there was a hole in the seam of the pocket, so I released the hem and there, in the facing of the coat, was a ring,” Lucas said.
Lucas noted that the ring that was found in the seam of the bear fur coat that night was a silver ring from the same Art Deco period as the coat that may have been lost over eighty years ago.
One thing is for certain, whether you’re looking for classic costumes and family-friendly chills or for a possible opportunity for a run in with an actual ghost, the Sutton-Ditz Museum is the place to go this Halloween season.
The Clarion County Historical Society was organized for the discovery, collection, and preservation of materials pertaining to the history and culture of Clarion County and to encourage the study and appreciation of that history.
Annual membership to the Clarion County Historical Society is available for $20.00 per person, $30.00 per family, or $50.00 per business.
Clarion County Historical Society is open as follows:
- April – December: Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday, Friday & evenings by appointment with one week notice
- January – March: Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Evenings and weekends by appointment
Clarion County Historical Society can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/clarioncountyhistory.
For more information or to donate to the historical society, visit www.clarioncountyhistoricalsociety.org or call 814-226-4450.
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