Civil War buffs, Victorian Era enthusiasts and those who enjoy the tingle and gore of the Halloween season are sure to be delighted by the Victorian Wake and Funeral Tour being offered at The Castle.
The fifth annual event will run from 1 to 4 p.m this Saturday and Sunday and again on Oct. 13 and 14.
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War and of the death of Col. Melvin Clarke who built The Castle, a re-enactment of Clarke's military funeral will be the highlight of this year's event. He was a colonel of the 36th Ohio regiment.
Lynne Sturtevant, right, talked with individuals preparing to enter The Castle in Marietta during a past Victorian Wake and Funeral Tour.
"Clarke was killed in a gruesome way on the battlefield," said Lynne Sturtevant, founder of Hidden Marietta, which has been offering the program in cooperation with The Castle for the past five years.
Killed at Antietam, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, Clarke's body was shot through by a 10-pound shell.
"This sets the stage of what was going on in the world at this time," Sturtevant said.
If you go
What: Victorian Wake and Funeral Tour.
Where: The Castle, 418 Fourth St., Marietta.
When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14.
Cost: $13 per person. Reservations requested. Not recommended for children under 10.
For information: 373-4180.
Visitors who come to the Victorian Wake and Funeral Tour will tour the entire house. Each room will be decorated in an historically appropriate way and feature a Civil War nurse, military officer or other Civil War era personage.
The centerpiece of the parlor in The Castle will be Col. Clarke's casket draped with a flag of the 36th Ohio Regiment.
A soldier dressed in military uniform will guard Clarke's body at all times, said Sturtevant.
"They wanted to make sure the body was really dead," she said. "Sometimes the body was just in a coma...and would wake up."
"People were really afraid back then of being buried alive," she said. "The medical field was not that advanced."
One room in The Castle will be manned by a Civil War era nurse who will talk about medicine, amputations and the role of the nurse in the Civil War.
"It's pretty gruesome this year," said Leah Magyary, The Castle's education director. "It's good for people to understand that medicine was very different then than it is now. They didn't understand germs very well and didn't sterilize their equipment between amputations."
Col. Clarke's wife Sophia will be stationed in another room to talk about the proper mourning etiquette for widows of that time.
"The mourning period was very, very strict for women as far as what they could wear," said Sturtevant. "The rules for mourning were well specified and understood by everyone."
Spiritualism will be the topic of discussion in yet another room at The Castle, where a medium and two ladies will be trying to contact a deceased loved one.
"There was a fascination with spiritualism because of so much death (in the Civil War),"Sturtevant said. With inventions like the telephone and telegraph, people thought the mystery of death could be bridged and the dead could perhaps be contacted.
Magyary said she hopes visitors will come to understand the difference between how death was viewed 150 years ago compared to today.
"The majority of the country was in mourning for somebody (killed in the Civil War)," Magyary said. "They had to figure out how to deal with death. ...War wasn't the same before the (Civil War) and it hasn't been the same afterwards."
Victorian funeral costumes are welcomed and encouraged at the event.
"Some people have come in very elaborate Victorian style outfits," Sturtevant said. For people who collect vintage clothing like veils, hats and gloves, the event "gives them the opportunity to get that stuff out."
Between 150 and 175 people attended last year's Victorian Wake and Funeral Tour. The tour takes about 45 minutes and costs $13 per person. The program is not appropriate for young children under 10.
Reservations are encouraged by contacting The Castle at 373-4180.