Public Broomstick Adventure

The Public Broomstick Adventure will scare the pants off of you — or at least make you giggle a lot. For three hours, Discover Houston Tours founder Sandra Lord will lead a hike around centuries-old, spirit-filled cemeteries, hanging trees and restaurants.

“The stops include the Spaghetti Warehouse — the most haunted site in downtown Houston,” says Lord. There’s a visit to Jeff Davis Hospital. That’s easy to figure, with all the people who died in the hospital over the years, right? Should be plenty of ghosts there. “It’s even more than that,” says Lord. “That hospital is built on the city’s second cemetery. It’s literally built on graves.”

Other stops include Founders Memorial Park, Houston’s first cemetery and resting place of city founder John Kirby Allen. “There are thousands of bodies buried there,” says Lord. There are also stops at Tranquility Park and the federal courthouse. “The story goes that when the guards…put their hand out to touch the door knob, they can feel something brushing against their hand.”

Lord also includes a visit to the Hanging Oak, a 400-year-old tree that stands at the site of two jails and was used to hang the condemned. “The story I tell is about a little girl whose father was the sheriff. We usually pick unsuspecting people out of the crowd and have one of them be the sheriff, one be the little girl, one be her mother who, of course, prepared the last meal for the condemned, and then have one be the condemned person. We do a little impromptu performance, which is usually pretty hysterical,” Lord laughs. Getting serious again, she adds, “We also demonstrate the correct technique for a happy hanging — if your neck snaps back fast, you’re going to die quickly. If it doesn’t snap back, you’re going to choke to death. Not the preferred way to go.”

Snap to it with the Public Broomstick Adventure today at 7 p.m. Meet at the Longhorn Cafe, 509 Louisiana. For information, call 713-222-9255 or visit www.discoverhoustontours.com. $30 to $35.
Fri., March 21, 7-10 p.m.; Sat., March 22, 7-10 p.m., 2008

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