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Walks display Koreshan history

The News-Press, USA
Jan. 13, 2004
Andrea Stetson • Tuesday January 13, 2004

Visitors get a glimpse of society, philosophy

Imagine if the ghosts of the past could come back, not to haunt but to educate. Or imagine being transported back in time to catch a glimpse of life about 100 years ago.

Thats the feeling guests got this past weekend during the annual Ghost Walks at the Koreshan State Historic Site.

Volunteers portraying Koreshans took guests through a typical day at the Koreshan Unity at the turn of the century. Each scene was crafted based on information taken from real Koreshan diaries, newspaper articles and letters.

Under the full moon, and then soaking rain, guests walked down shell paths lighted by about 100 luminaries. They made stops at the various Koreshan buildings and gardens to see and hear some living history.

It really does take you back, said Joyce Loch of Estero. I think its fantastic.

At the art hall, Jim Grissinger portrayed Ulysses Grant Morrow as he inducted new Koreshans into the society. He explained the Koreshan philosophy and how they set about proving people live inside the Earth, not on top of it.

At the Founders House, guests met Koresh, played by Jack Kilmartin. In the dim, simple room, visitors saw a typical interaction between the leader of the religious sect and one of its loyal members.

There were scenes in the Planetary Court, home of the seven sisters. Visitors nibbled on hermit cookies at the bakery, visited the Vesta Newcomb Cottage, membership cottage and machine shops. Along the way, they were led by volunteers portraying members of the Koreshan society.

Its a very interesting way to teach history, said Sharon Bailey of Naples.

The Ghost Walks are conducted each January and February during the full moon. Park manager Jon Robinson said theres still room in Februarys walks, but not much.

It will fill up quickly, Robinson said. Natalia Kitt of Estero was glad she got a spot on the January walk.

Isnt this fun, she said as she entered the machine shop and began watching a flywheel in action. Just the insight is wonderful. Its so real.

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