Primary

Graveyard Shift: Costumed Actors to Portray Historic Longmeadow Figures

LONGMEADOW, MA – Historic figures from the town’s past will rise from the dead for a pair of special events on Saturday, Oct. 13 when the Longmeadow Historical Society and Longmeadow Cemetery Association host the annual “Ghosts in the Graveyard” family and evening events inside the Longmeadow Cemetery, located at 34 Williams St.

No, it isn’t the zombie apocalypse or the end of times, but rather a unique experience where costumed actors share their stories of the residents who are laid to rest in the Longmeadow Cemetery.

While in the past the event was free and open to the public, this year tickets are required and may be purchased at www.eventbrite.com. Once purchased, you will be placed on a check-in list and admitted by staff at the event.

The biggest change to this year’s “Ghosts” event is that instead on one large nighttime event it will be broken up into two separate events – one appropriate for families and younger kids that will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. ($10 per family), and a nighttime event recommended for people ages 14 and older that will take place from 6-8 p.m. ($10 per person).

“We wanted to make the event a little bit more organized and make it a better experience for everyone, so that’s why we decided to separate it out this year,” said Melissa Cybulski, an actor and organizer of the event. “When you mix young kids and the general public, it’s harder to tailor the stories for both of them. Now we’ll have two separate events with three separate touring times for each event to control group sizes and get things more organized.”

Cybulski said proceeds from the event will help fund future exhibits so that the Longmeadow Historical Society can “preserve and share the stories of Longmeadow’s past for future generations.”

“It’s really a fun event,” she said. “It’s fall and it’s almost Halloween, and there’s a plethora of great stories about the people in the cemetery that nobody knows about.”

Cybulski will portray Sarah W. Storrs (1832-1907) during the family event while William Tognieri will portray Edmund Radasch Jr. (1895-1973) at both events. Longmeadow High School student Madeline Choiniere-Barr will portray Flavia Bliss (1805-1818), who dies at age 13 of “the dropsy.” Williams Middle School student Nicholas Christoforakis will portray a young Rev. Stephen Williams, who tells the story of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield and his captivity, precursors to his adulthood as Longmeadow’s first minister. Other costumed actors include Jamie Cass as William Sheldon (1788-1871); Nancy Hayes as Mary Ann Booth (1843-1922); Michael Bailin as Col. Gideon Burt (1743-1825); Dennis Picard as Capt. David Burt (1733-1822); Nicole Choiniere as Eleanor Rumrill (1744-1777); and Andrea Taupier as Sarah W. Storrs (1765-1846, nighttime event).

Cybulski said: “We get so wrapped up with the day-to-day business of our lives that it’s nice to pause and hear about the joys and struggles of individuals who literally walked the same streets and looked out at the same sunsets as we do today, but as far back as 200 years ago.”

Tickets for both events must be purchased in advance, and tour group sizes will be limited to 20 people.

The rain date for the events is Sunday, Oct. 14.

For questions or more information, contact the Longmeadow Historical Society at 413-567-3600 or LongmeadowHS@gmail.com. Be sure to check out the “Ghosts in the Graveyard” event page on Facebook as well.

– Article by Jeff Hanouille, Longmeadow News Editor. He may be reached at PressReleases@TheLongmeadowNews.com.