Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
When 22 Sumner Place was built in 1840, it was known as the quarters of the arsenal commander. Later it was converted to house two families — one upstairs and one downstairs.
When the upstairs family went out of town, they asked the downstairs family to keep an eye on the place.
One spring evening, while the wife was outside tending the garden and the husband was inside watching television, they were startled by the sound of the toilet flushing upstairs. However, when the husband went up to investigate, there was no one to be found. This continued for the rest of the weekend. Precisely every six hours, the downstairs couple would hear the upstairs toilet flush.
When the upstairs family returned from vacation, the downstairs family told them about what happened to which the upstairs neighbor responded, “Whenever you go away, your toilet flushes, too.”
This is one of many ghost stories in the Friends of the Frontier Army Museum vault that have been passed down over the years.
More ghost stories from historical to modern can be heard during the FFAM’s annual Haunted Tour beginning at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23-24 at the old U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. Tourgroups leave every 15 minutes with the last tour leaving at 8:30 p.m.
“We wanted to give something to the community,” said Jessica Piccione, Haunted Tour chairperson. “We’ve all been hunkered down in our homes for seven-plus months, and we wanted something that the community could get out and actually do. This is a good chance for that because this is an outdoor thing, and so we really, really wanted this to happen.
“(I think it’s so popular) because of all the rich history. You don’t see rich history like this a lot on bases,” Piccione said. “It’s really unique, especially since this was part of the West and Custer was here and all that kind of stuff. Plus, it’s something fun to do at Halloween.”
Each of the eight tour stops — the old USDB, the old Patton Junior High, 610 Scott Ave., No. 1 Scott Ave., 611 Scott Ave., Main Parade, 2 Sumner Place, and 12/14 Sumner Place — will last about 15 minutes, Piccione said.
“The storytellers wanted more time to talk, which is kind of cool,” Piccione said. “We wanted to give them more time to … tell their stories.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the tours are only open to Department of Defense ID cardholders and their immediate family with a limit of 20 patrons per tour. Cost is $20 per person and patrons must be age 10 or older. No strollers are allowed. Face coverings are required.
“Given the numerous restrictions imposed by Garrison for this tour due to COVID-19…we are asking that no small children attend this year,” Piccione said.
For tickets or more information, visit https://ffamhauntedtour.ticketspice.com/friends-of-the-frontier-army-museum-haunted-tour-2020 or the FFAM Facebook page.