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Spirited Christchurch walking tour a lesson in history
Reprinted from UC's Chronicle

Maria De Cort- 22/12/2006

The ghosts of Canterbury University's past lurk in the shadows of Christchurch's Arts Centre and if you dare join a recently launched nocturnal walking tour you might just encounter them.

The Ghost Tour was launched in October by the Court Theatre, appropriately on Friday the 13th. Led by Court Jesters, who play the infamous Dr Aloysius Mort, the hour-long tour runs six nights a week.

Those who dare accompany Dr Mort on his night-time journey into the dark recesses of the neo-Gothic buildings are regaled with lessons in the history of the site and spooky stories of the supernatural.

The haunting stories of the Arts Centre's ghostly denizens date back to its former life as home to Canterbury College/Canterbury University College and Christchurch Girls?and Boys?high schools.

Among the scholars and lecturers whose stories feature on the tour and whose ghosts allegedly roam the corridors are Henry, the hapless engineering student who came to an untimely end, and Professor A.W. Bickerton, whose ashes are lodged in the wall of the Great Hall.

The tour begins under the Clock Tower on Worcester Boulevard at the stroke of 8.31pm and the lamplit tour party weaves through buildings such as Rutherford's Den, the observatory, the old lecture theatre, and other areas not usually open to the public such as the Court Theatre props department.

Under cover of darkness even familiar passages take on an eerie feel and from out of a deathly quiet a creaky floorboard, rattling window or the sound of an occasional door slam can cause even the most sceptical punter to jump or shriek.

Not to mention turning a corner to collide with a mannequin in the dark or having a black cat scurry past your legs, which can send those of a nervous disposition over the edge.

For those who dare to go where even staff fear to tread after dark, the tours run from Monday to Saturday and are $15 a head and $45 for a family.

Tickets are available from the Court Theatre Box Office or the I-SITE centre in Cathedral Square. The initial season of Christchurch's Original Ghost Walk will end in early April 2007.

Editor's comment
If you have been on a ghost walk do share your experience with other NZine readers. To do this you would need to be a member of NZine, so if you have not already joined do join now. . It's free and takes only a short time.


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