(Read our Denton Live story on Shelly Tucker and her background: 'History and a whole lotta mystery')
The moon is clouded, but it doesn’t rain. It’s a fall breezy night.
Well, sort of. It’s chilly, but it’s also warm.
It’s the kind of unnerving weather in which you’d want to hear stories from beyond the grave.
A group of about 22 people have been accounted for the Ghosts of Denton tour by the storyteller known as the Ghost Lady, Shelly Tucker. Among the group that awaits the tour to begin is Betty Parks, 52, who came with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend for the first time to Denton from Frisco.
“No, I don’t believe in ghosts, so I’m not really afraid of them,” Parks laughs. “I’m intrigued, so I’m not really sure what’s going to happen.”
Parks says she’s never had any experience with paranormal activity, but thinks she’ll be paranoid of ghosts once the tour is over. The group gathers in clusters of family, couples, and friends surrounding the Discover Denton Welcome Center, waiting for everybody to arrive so the tour can start.
Unlike the moody fall weather, downtown Denton is buzzing with live music, the smell of different aromas of food, the human chatter, the shadows of buildings and the flow and sounds of traffic around the square.
Teacher Ruthie Dennis, 22, and her date Christian Linehan, 24, anxiously wait with the group for the tour to begin. Linehan says they were looking for fun date ideas and Ghosts of Denton sounded cool enough to experience. They both wanted to experience the historical side of Denton through the stories.
“I saw Poltergeist … back in the day and that was a pretty scary, so I don’t know if this could live up to that,” Linehan says. “I’m excited, everyone loves to hear a good ghost story.”
The tour begins in the back of the Welcome Center, where Tucker explains safety guidelines since she’ll be walking alongside the group while telling the stories around the Square.
During the tour, Tucker recounts the tales not only of ghosts that linger in Denton, but of people that she knows who have told her their paranormal experiences.
The group gathers as closely as possible to hear her speak in the midst of the traffic hubbub, the live music and the street singers. None of the noise seems to matter to them, they look enraptured in the stories Tucker vividly paints.
They hear stories about feelings of being touched, disappearing items, unexpected whispers and voices, unexplained noises, opening doors, apparitions and negative energy among other eerie tales of ghosts paying Dentonites a visit around the Square.
Oh’s and ah’s and “Oh, my God!” escape from some of the listeners. There is laughter as well. Tucker stops in almost every corner of the square and in stores that have a ghost story behind them, especially in particular spots in which people have had supernatural encounters with spirits.
“I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe in demonic entities for sure,” Linehan says. “She’s a really good storyteller.”
Time seems to fly quickly when hearing a good story after another for about one hour and a half. These stories real or not are a part of what makes Denton unique.
For Megan Black, 34, this is her second time she’s been on the tour. Black invited her sisters-in-laws to experience the tour. She did not hear a single story repeated on her second time around.
“It’s not the heebie-jeebie ghost stuff that gets me, it’s the personal history you get to learn about the town,” Black says.
At the end of the tour, the group gathered for the last time that night to hear Tucker speak. She encourages us to give thanks to the ghosts of Denton for allowing us to hear and be part of the story they tell.
With a chorus of "thank you"s, the group dispersed.