Visitors will be able to see a unique view of the historic Tanner House Museum in Aurora during candlelight tours starting Friday.
The popular Death Comes Tanner House attraction at the museum will be replaced this year by a program called Tanner House Candlelight Tours, which will be presented by the Aurora Historical Society every Friday and Saturday night in October, starting this Friday.
Visitors will be allowed to explore the house and grounds for an hour during the tour, according to a press release from the Historical Society.
“The one-hour ticketed tour for ages 16 and up will begin with a brief introduction that includes the history of the house and the family that lives in it,” the statement said. “Guests will then be able to explore parts of the house and grounds with information and help from docents stationed throughout the property. The house will be dimly lit to enhance the ambiance of the season. Guests are welcome to bring their own flashlights and other equipment.”
Aurora Historical Society Executive Director John Jaros said the Death Comes to the Tanner House series had sort of run its course and “was a very strong event as we went along, but it was probably time to try something new.”
“Some of our people said, why don’t we do this candlelight tour and see what we can find? I think it’s going to be a little spooky. “It’s very atmospheric,” Jaros said. “People will have the opportunity to go through the one-hour show in small groups of no more than 10 people. People will receive a five to 10-minute introduction in the hall about the history of the house and who lived, died and married there, and then will be left to explore the house .
Jaros said the added feature this year will be that guests “will receive an EMF (electromagnetic field) meter for use that evening, which some people have said indicates paranormal activity.”
“People will be able to explore for themselves and see what they can find. They can bring their cameras and take pictures and flashlights,” he said. “I think the thing that can be so scary is that we’ve never shown the house this dimly lit. For fire safety reasons we won’t be using candles, but we do use battery-operated candles and the ones we use are “We put very low voltage bulbs in the ceiling lights and it really gives a feeling of spooky discovery.”
Jaros said some testing was done a few days before tours opened and “some of us detected activity on the meters.”
“Personally, I haven’t had any ghost experiences in the house, but I know some people who believe they have,” Jaros said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a haunted house or anything like that, but people are always interested in it and ask about it. This is a chance for people to come and discover themselves. “I think the house looks really good in the dim light, which is probably close to what the Tanners had in the gaslight days.”
Tours will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings at 19.00 and 20.00 throughout October. Ticket prices are $29 per person or $49 per couple, with a discount for Aurora Historical Society members.
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online at: aurorahistory.org
Located at the corner of Oak Avenue and Cedar Street in Aurora, the Tanner House Museum was originally the home of William A. Tanner (1815-1892) and his family. It has been owned and operated by the Aurora Historical Society since 1936.
David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.