Spirits in October: A southern Halloween tradition

For the month of October Listing Toward Forty is Listing Toward Halloween, featuring a variety of Halloween posts including many by guest authors. This post is by Tony Zelonis.

Why was a guy from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania enjoying lemonade and cookies with the ladies at a United Daughters of the Confederacy meeting in a stately antebellum mansion in Macon, Georgia? Well, I was that guy and I was there to reenact my portrayal of Isaac Hardeman. He was a southern hero who had a prominent role in the development of Macon.

I had performed this role at Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Georgia for “Spirits in October.” These are cemetery tours during the Halloween season, in which actors portray some of the people buried there, both famous and infamous; everyone from a Mother Superior nun to a well known murderer.

It is not a spook show. The actors do their monologues at each grave site with dignity and respect. Many of the personages have relatives on the tours, and most feel honored to have their loved ones spot lighted. The monologues are not complete biographies, but rather depict some interesting highlights of their lives.

Isaac Hardeman was a confederate officer during the “War of Northern Aggression,” as it is known in Georgia. Just before the battle at Gettysburg, Isaac dismounted and put his heavy leather gauntlets in the pockets of his jacket. He had extra woolen padding sewn into the jacket to protect him from the harsh winter cold. Suddenly he was hit in the chest by a bullet from a Yankee rifle and was knocked to the ground. After he came to his senses, he opened his jacket and found that the bullet had gone through the leather gauntlet and the woolen padding and left a bruise on his chest, but did not penetrate the skin. Divine intervention! After that, Isaac taught Sunday school every week for the rest of his life and died in his eighties.

The ladies at the meeting were most gracious and were the very definition of southern hospitality. It is not just superficial politeness, but rather it is to make a guest feel truly welcome and comfortable.

Tony ZelonisTony Zelonis is a retired Pharmacist and lives on 90 wooded acres in middle Georgia with his wife Jaloo and their Boston Terrier, Pepper. He is an actor, playwright, and magician who is also interested in Archaeology. Tony is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians, The Society of Georgia Archaeology, and the Ocmulgee Archaeology Society. Mainly, he enjoys walking in the woods with his dog.

All Halloween posts from this series can be found here.

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