2008-10-17 / Community

Ghost Tour scaring up Simi's past

By Angela Randazzo Special to the Acorn

THE UNDEAD—The ghost of cult leader Krishna Venta returns in this  year's  edition  of  the  Ghost Tour,  which  runs  the  next  two weekends at Strathearn Historical Park. THE UNDEAD—The ghost of cult leader Krishna Venta returns in this year's edition of the Ghost Tour, which runs the next two weekends at Strathearn Historical Park. The spirits of Simi's past have gathered once again for the annual Ghost Tour at Strathearn Historical Park.

The ghosts on the tour, which opened last Friday and will run the next two weekends, represent pioneers and oddball characters who once lived in Simi and its surrounding canyons.

Jan Glasband, producer of the show, has assembled 22 actors to play the colorful, comical and sometimes scary undead.

"Everybody is very energized, committed and excited about performing their characters," Glasband said. "The audience is going to get a big treat."

Audrey Arnold, a Realtor from Simi Valley, plays the longsuffering wife of the fictional Dr. Finis Yoakum. According to Ghost Tour lore, in 1914 Yoakum founded the Pisgah Grande Colony, whose mission was to rehabilitate the outcasts of society

"The crowds are wonderful. Every year we have more people," Arnold said. "It's wonderful to feed off their energy, because they really have a good time."

Tourists walk the park, meeting the ghosts at 13 different locations. The park houses many original structures from Simi's history, bolstering the authenticity of the ghostly tales.

Mary Strathearn and her son Dave greet the tourists at the Strathearn Ranch House, built in 1892.

At the original St. Rose of Lima Church, visitors come face to face with Father Laubacher, the church's leader in the early 1900s.

Dona Angustias de la Guerra, "the belle of the ball," greets guests at the Simi Adobe, a dwelling dating back to 1810.

"It's going to be one of the best shows we've ever done," said Karla Hubbell, president of Simi Valley Historical Society. "We have returning ghosts and new ghosts and lots of history here with humor."

While awaiting the tour, which costs $8 per person, guests can watch a scary movie on an outside screen. After the tour, they can visit the gift shop in the "creepy old barn."

"It's inexpensive; it's historical; it's hysterical," Glasband said. "I'm predicting record-breaking crowds this year because it's the last inexpensive thing you can do with your family on the planet."

The tour is a fundraiser for the Ventura County Cultural Association and the Simi Valley Historical Society. Hours for this weekend, Oct. 17, 18 and 19, and next weekend, Oct. 24, 25 and 26, are: Friday, 7 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 6 to 9 p.m.

Docent-led tours depart every 10 minutes. The tours are about one hour and 15 minutes long.

Strathearn Historical Park is at 137 Strathearn Place, Simi Valley.

For more information and group sales, call (805) 526-6453.

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