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People visit Athens from all over, in part because it is a historic town. Many are drawn to the structures that predate the Civil War or were built in the years following the war. Some might even know part of the personal history of Athens’ founding families.

However, not all of the community’s history lies on the surface.

Perhaps you've seen that unexplainable form in the corner of your eye while visiting one of our historic homes or shopping downtown? Or maybe you heard footsteps behind you, only to find you were alone in the room? Or you passed through a cold spot that chilled you to the bone despite the 90-degree heat? Did your pictures at the Fiddlers' Convention include odd shapes hovering over the stage?

Maybe the answers to these occurrences lay in the tales of some of our oldest residents — the ones of ether or unrest.

One of the most anticipated and grand traditions of October, Haunt Walks marries the more well-known history of the community with its darker, once-secret history of hauntings and tales of the unexplained. The guided, one- to two-hour tours sponsored by the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association wander through the historic districts, recounting 13 specific tales of the unexplained.

The thrill of the unknown is in the night air, and everyone is listening, hanging on every last word. Many participants come for the education and see the tours as a way to get to know more about Athens,” said Teresa Todd, director of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association. “What is a better way to learn about your town than to walk with your personal tour guide at dark as they set the scene where you are immersed in the characters and their past lives?”

The walks occur twice nightly, at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., each Tuesday and Thursday during October. Tales are spun by local guides Billy Ward, Shane Black, Garth Lovvorn, Will Weir and Jamie Gilbert.

Tickets are on sale now and available during the presale period only. Cost is $10 per person for ages 12 and up. Each tour is limited to 15 people, and masks are required. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Tickets may be purchased by cash or check at the Athens-Limestone Visitors Center at 100 N. Beaty St. in Athens from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Call the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association at 256-232-5411 for more information.

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