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Spooky Woodstock Brings Historic Residents To Life

October 25, 2013

in Entertainment,News,Woodstock

(This story was first published in the October 24, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
A vampire skit is performed on the Green during last year's Spooky Woodstock - Rick Russell

Watch the video from last years Spooky Woodstock… click here
By Cassie Horner
Special To The Standard
Lucy Gay Swan was by no means a native Vermonter. She hailed from Suffield, Conn., leaving her minister father to marry another newcomer to Vermont, Benjamin Swan, in 1804.
For 35 years, she lived contentedly on Elm Street in a house at the corner of Elm and Pleasant that still stands in stately beauty. She recalls many things about her husband, a businessman who was Woodstock’s first postmaster, namely his Christianity and good humor. But she also clearly recalls his many acts of charity. In fact, after he died, it was discovered he kept a long row of account books of notes of loans to dozens of people, valued at thousands of dollars and none of it recoverable.
This is only a small teaser about the life of this Woodstock woman whose niece married a Dana and lived in what is now the Woodstock Historical Society house. Lucy Gay Swan will be narrating her story in the River Street Cemetery where she is buried, all part of Spooky Woodstock on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 3 to 8 p.m.
She will be joined by early settler Dr. J.D. Powers, Afro-American Civil War veteran Charles Wentworth, mother of 13 Wealthy Larrabee, and Frank Josselyn of the extended Josselyn family who all lived in Plymouth and Bridgewater but are buried in Woodstock. Guided tours start at the Woodstock Historical Society at 4 p.m. and proceed to the cemetery. Along the way you will hear some stories about other colorful Woodstock residents. Photos or portraits of many of these people will be on display at the historical society and the house museum will be open.
The Village Green is the other center of activity for Spooky Woodstock. It is here that two tales of drama and deep emotion happened in the 1800s. The celebrated story of the vampire heart exhumed and burned there will be enacted by a group of doctors, the grieving mother, the boy in his coffin and a narrator.
The other story is equally evocative, and is told in a skit created and acted by Woodstock Union Middle School American Studies students under the direction of teacher Barbara Drufovka. The students researched in depth the life of Samuel Godfrey whose sad end was his hanging on the Green attended by thousands of spectators in 1818.
Both skits will be enacted every 30 minutes, and are part of the guided tour that includes the cemetery.
The younger set (ages 4-10) will have fun at a Halloween party complete with seasonal craftmaking and Halloween lore, from 3 to 4 p.m. (Reservations required for this children’s activity.)
Back at the historical society, you will have the opportunity to hear about the conjunction of fear of the rampant consumption disease and the belief in its cause: vampirism. Noted author and folklorist Michael Bell will be speaking at 7 p.m. about the vampire panic in New England in the 1800s. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time (suggested) or the night of the event since space is limited.
Come and experience local lore and history in this celebration of Spooky Woodstock!
For more information, and to sign up for the children’s party and buy tickets in advance to the Michael Bell lecture, visit or call (802) 457-1822.

For more Halloween Events… click here.


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