The scary season is in full swing and there are still many ways to get into the spirit! Seaside spirits stir up ghostly fun in Victorian Cape May during Halloween Happenings, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), throughout Nov. 3 Halloween-themed tours and events include ghost trolley tours, spooky tours of Cape May’s original haunted house, the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, murder mystery dinners, and much more.
Spooky Fun for Families
The grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., have been taken over by spooky, scary and just plain silly characters for Scarecrow Alley. Enjoy the life-sized scarecrow creations contributed by members of the community, local organizations and MAC staff and vote for your favorites through Nov. 3. Admission to the grounds is free.
Dozens of miniature skeletons, ghosts and spooky characters beckon in a Dept. 56 Halloween Display inside the porch of the Physick House Museum at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. This colorful and spectacular display of Halloween-themed Dept. 56 collectibles, is offered daily through Nov. 3. Free admission.
On All Hallows Eve, Thursday, Oct. 31, there are spooky characters waiting to give treats to all brave youngsters at Cape May’s original haunted house, the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Trick or Treat at the Physick Estate is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is free.
Cape May’s “Original Haunted House” The 1879 Emlen Physick Estate
Phantoms of the Physick Estate: The Curse of H. H. Holmes: In the last years of the 19th century, a demon roamed freely across the streets of Chicago. H. H. Holmes was America’s first serial killer. Now, two new artifacts from this madman have materialized at the Physick Estate, but they bring with them a terrible darkness … Are you brave enough to face it? Come to what some call the “haunted” Physick Estate for this immersive theatrical performance that includes scary images, strobe lights, and other effects. Audience discretion is advised. Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Admission is $20. Friday, Oct. 25 at 7:15 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 1 at 7:15 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Combination Trolley Tour/Phantoms of the Physick Estate House Tour: Take one of Cape May’s most popular tours, the Historic District Trolley Tour, during the Halloween season, and add a spooky twist! After your trolley tour learning about Cape May history and architecture, step off and tour the first floor rooms of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, decorated for the Halloween season! Learn how the Victorians were mad about Spiritualists and Spiritualism, and you might begin to wonder what’s beyond your five senses, as they did. Saturday, Oct. 26 at 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2 at 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Admission is $25 adults; $14 children (ages 3-12).
Behind the Scenes: H.H. Holmes: The Monster Behind the Man: The world over knows the name of Jack the Ripper, the notorious madman who terrorized London in 1888. But on this side of the Atlantic, in the dark streets of Chicago in the 1890s, there lurked another monster, perhaps even more sinister. Dive into the depraved depths of the life of H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, learn of his important connection to Philadelphia, and realize how terrifying it was for Victorians to read about this horrific killer in the news of the day. Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Audience discretion is advised. Admission is $20. Sunday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m.
Phantoms of the Physick Estate: Victorian Spiritualism House Tour: Victorians were fascinated by Spiritualism and the occult. Visit the “haunted” Physick Estate and learn from your guide about this Victorian obsession. You will even hear an electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) that 21st-century technology has captured within these walls, and understand why they are reputed to host more than the living. Appropriate for all ages. Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. $15 adults; $8 children (ages 3-12). Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2 at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Quench your Dark Side
Tales from the Dark Side (of Victorian Life) at Nauti Spirits: A fascination with “the bizarre” was as in-fashion as white linen in the Victorian age, also known as the heyday of the freak show. From the midway to St. Bart’s pathology museum, to the headlines ripped from horror novels, exhumations, hauntings and demonic possessions, hear of the dark ribbon that threads the lacework of Victorian history. Nauti Spirits Distillery, 916 Shunpike Road. $20 (includes a boxed lunch from the Carriage House Café & Tearoom). Thursday, Oct. 24 at noon.
Tombs, Tunes & Tales with Professor Gravesounds & Mary Shelley in the Café: Don’t miss this live (undead!), scary tales and music extravaganza, perfect for Halloween! The ghouls you love and the tunes they love pair up in a spooky celebration of all things that go bump in the night. Carriage House Café & Tearoom, Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. $20 (includes light refreshments.) Friday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.
Tantalizing Trolley Tours
Graveyard, Ghosts & Mansion Combo Tour: Delve into the realm of the dead on this combination trolley and house tour that starts with a trolley ride to historic Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery to see the graves of Dr. Emlen Physick and his family. At the graveyard and on your return to the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, you’ll hear EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) recorded by tour guides and staff at the estate. Your senses might surprise you as you contemplate the evidence of what many say is paranormal activity in the house, and you’ll have the opportunity to talk to staff about their own experiences. Tour is two hours, beginning and ending at the Physick, Estate, 1048 Washington Street. Thursday, Oct. 24, 6 p.m. $40 adults; $35 (children ages 3-12).
Headless photography? Electric corsets? Coffin torpedoes? During the Cape Mayhem & Victorian Oddities Trolley Tour, a 30-minute trolley tours through the gas-lit streets of Cape May, explore some of these strange beliefs, superstitions, oddities, fads, curiosities and mysteries from the end of the 19th century — the Victorian era. Offered Fridays through Nov. 1 and Saturdays through Oct. 26 at various times. Admission is $15 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).
Dare to take an evening tour down the ghostly path that leads to the Cape May Lighthouse during the Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolley Tours. You’ll hear about Craig McManus’ paranormal findings during your journey. Feel the presence of the spirits at the Light. Whether you choose to climb the 199 steps to the top of the lighthouse, or stay below, you’ll surely enjoy these ghostly stories. Offered Saturdays through Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults and $14 for children (ages 3-12).
Board a MAC trolley for a 30-minute evening ride through the haunted streets of Cape May on the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour. The paranormal findings of psychic Craig McManus come alive as your guide translates McManus’ spooky stories. Wednesdays and weekend evenings through Nov. 2 at various times. $15 adults, $8 children (ages 3-12).
Get into the spirit of things on a trolley tour past some of Cape May’s regal Victorian residences, reputed to host more than the living, during the Historic Haunts Combo Tour. Then it’s a guided tour of the historic (some say haunted) 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, where you’ll learn about Victorian spiritualism and modern ghost hunting techniques. Wednesdays through Oct. 30 and Thursday, Oct. 31 at 7:15 p.m. Admission is $25 adults, $15 children (ages 3-12). For those who prefer just the house tour, the Historic Haunts House Tour is available separately on these evenings. Wednesdays through Oct. 30, Thursday, Oct. 31 at 7:45 p.m. Admission is $15 adults, $10 children (ages 3-12).
Murder over a Meal
Murder Mystery Dinner – “Bumped Off & Bottoms Up”: The scene and the table are both set for this year’s mystery, “Bumped Off & Bottoms Up,” written by Jacklyn Fazio. Prohibition has arrived and that means locals and visitors alike gather at Walter O’Leary’s infamous club for refreshments and entertainment. When an evening of fun takes a horrible turn, can you help bring the murderer to justice? Enjoy a four-course dinner at Aleathea’s Restaurant, the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean Street as you interact with the cast of likely suspects and the mystery unfolds around you. Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 1 (800) 275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org. For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508. For information about historic accommodations, contact Cape May Historic Accommodations at www.capemaylodging.com.