There are two go-to places for great scary stories: a campfire and the library. Those will combine for one spooky event coming up later this month.
The Haunted Library Tour returns to the Beale Memorial Library on Oct. 23 and 24 with the theme "Spooky Stories to Tell in the Library." The downtown branch will transform into Camp Always for three tours each night.
"The haunted tour is going to be an immersive theatrical experience," said Ariel Dyer, library associate at Beale. "The theme is urban legend and it takes place in a summer camp that may or may not have connections to a cult."
"Spooky Stories to Tell in the Library" takes inspiration from "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," that collection of scary stories and creepier illustrations that recently spawned a film of the same name. The event also takes the tried and true horror setting of the summer camp, the backdrop for many a scary movie and, most recently, the current season of FX's "American Horror Story."
Dyer worked on the treatment of the tour with her friend Kristen Falls while Ryanne Smith, who also works at Beale, wrote the script. In it, camp counselor Taylor will lead the group through the campgrounds to earn a Survival Badge.
"The script is really funny," Dyer said. "There's actually a lot of humor."
Stories will be about local urban legends or supernatural experiences the local storytellers have faced. Most readers will be there both nights but local historian Ken Hooper and Tony Lee of KNZR will each be there one night only.
The tour will conclude with the camp's own legend and possible cult connections.
While the tour might not be as terrifying as haunts like Scare Valley, Dyer said it will certainly be creepy and chilling, especially for anyone who might have a fear of cults.
"This is a fictional cult but it is a cult that is using campers as victims," she warned, adding that if someone is disturbed by cults it could be distressing. "We're not trying to gross you out and we're not trying to upset anyone. That's not our goal."
Besides, a certain eeriness is built right into the venue, Dyer said: "I've found that people just being at the library in the dark is enough."
This is the third year the library has held a haunted tour, with an Edgar Allen Poe-themed debut and a "Frankenstein" inspired follow-up last year.
This year will be the library's biggest yet, with set pieces to more fully transform the space. Donated artificial Christmas trees (which the organizers could still use more of) will become the camp's surrounding forest, and a sign is being made for Camp Always.
Though admission for the tour is free, space is limited to 30 people per tour. Last year's tours booked up shortly after tickets became available. Dyer advised anyone interested in going to follow the tour's event page on Facebook, where there will be an announcement as soon as tickets are available on Oct. 9.
"We will be posting to let people know the exact time (they go live)," she said. "Last year they were gone in 15 minutes."
Once they get over the fear of not getting tickets to the tour, guests can expect a spooky good time.
"People should go if they enjoy being scared. There's nothing like being scared collectively, in response to something fun."