Capital District residents in search of a scare can find plenty of options

Tours in Schenectady highlight buildings and locales where ghosts are said to linger. The haunted museum at the state museum is bigger and better than ever, and The Liberty Ridge corn maze once again has horrors lurking in the stalks.

The area apparently is a natural fit for people who like frights. Maureen Gebert, who leads some of the ghost tours in Schenectady's Stockade district, said people on the tour commonly share stories of houses and buildings in the city that they've heard are haunted.

But it takes more than that for a location to be included in the tour.

We research all our stories, she said. "We don't just take any story people give us."

Gebert, for example, spoke to a man who recently saw a ghost at the Van Dyck restaurant, she said. The eatery was reportedly once a brothel, and one of the employees hung herself there. Now, she frequently shows up to haunt the building, Gebert said.

Gebert is part of the Schenectady Heritage Area, and she is joined in giving the tours by an array of volunteers, including several drama students at Schenectady County Community College. The guides are free to wear costumes and to adopt personalities for the tours -- "I tell them to be themselves and tell the story they want to tell," Gebert said.

The Stockade tours are held each Friday in October, leaving every 30 minutes from Clinton's Ditch, 112 S. College St. The price is $10 and reservations are necessary, as groups are capped at 30 to ensure everyone can hear. Reservations can be made by calling Clinton's Ditch at 346-8376.

Gebert said that while the experience is educational, touching on a lot of the history of the Stockade, younger children enjoy it because "there's enough ghoulish stories to keep them interested."

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