Zach Zimmerman said he was standing at the top of the stairs when he saw the door shut on its own.
He was attending a practice run for History and Mystery: A Paranormal Tour of Dallas, Oregon, on Sept. 24. It’s a new tour coming to Polk County this October.
Zimmerman, of Dallas, said he was standing next to Kent Rasmussen, one of the tour guides, when he urged a spirit supposedly in the building to make its presence known by shutting the door.
“In like three to five seconds, it just steady swung and shut,” Zimmerman said. He thought it must have been the wind at first.
“I just kind of got that eerie feeling,” he continued. “The hair came up on my arms.”
For three nights each week of October, others have the chance to go on the tour to learn about and explore some of Dallas’ most historic — and presumably haunted — downtown locations.
JD Shinn, the Dallas Area Visitors Center and Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, said he and Shelly Jones, the visitor center’s marketing director, came up with the idea when they were brainstorming Halloween ideas.
The goal of this tour is to get people to Dallas, its businesses and tell its story.
“Everybody in town has a ghost story of some sort,” Jones said.
The guided, walking tours will happen twice every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 and 8 p.m. through Nov. 1. They last approximately 90 minutes and begin outside the Polk County Courthouse.
Guides will lead groups to various locations, stopping to talk outside of some and entering others. Guests will receive a loaned flashlight to use during the tour’s investigations.
Jones said they only have access to enter certain locations right now, like the old Jennings Lodge Masonic Hall on the third floor of the building that houses the restaurant Blue Garden. It was the only building downtown that survived the fire of 1888, she said.
The guides will lead the group on paranormal investigations in the buildings they enter, which also includes the Dallas Cinema and area above Latitude One.
There will be plenty of walking and stopping to talk about the history of locations including the Carnegie building, Grandma’s Attic, The Majestic and Dallas Antique Mall.
Some things to keep in mind when attending one of these tours is to wear close-toed shoes, download apps like an EMF meter on your phone in advance and always stay with the group.
If you plan to bring children, know that some of the material could be scary for them.
As of now, the History and Mystery tour of Dallas only runs from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1. But Jones, Shinn and all four guides are open to continuing the tour in some capacity.
Here are some other paranormal tours and history events to check out in October: