I had no idea what I was getting myself into strolling through the eerie, dark Zuh Ruhe cemetery on a Thursday night. “The Lost Pleasures of Cedarburg: The Last Resort” bills itself as a “gothic history tour,” a short step away from a ghost tour. Were any ghosts, goblins or spirits going to visit me during this spooky walk through historic Cedarburg? The answer was, in fact, yes – when the ghost of John Hilgen exploded out of his grave in anger, I knew I was in for a chilling night.
The Hilgen Spring Resort of Cedarburg was completely torn down, but remnants and memories came alive during this 90-minute walk. Actors and docents turned an otherwise boring history lesson into an interactive, supernatural walking tour through the dark streets of Cedarburg. Some ghosts, like John Hilgen, were angry with their past, while others told us happy stories of their memories at Hilgen Spring Resort. It is known that ghosts still flush toilets and turn water off and on in the Cedarburg History Museum.
The tour not only taught me about the landscape of Cedarburg, but about the community, too. All of the actors and docents are volunteers. For some, it’s their first year reciting lines. For others, it’s their 15th – as long as the tour has been going on. Actors and docents learn about it through word of mouth. Friends and family become involved, or may even participate in the tour. Shannon Diamond – Chairperson for the Gothic History Tour and Cedarburg Cultural Center Volunteer – says that she and her husband and son love to engage with the crowd as docents and actors.
Tickets for the tour cost $18 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. This chilling, hair-rising event is geared toward ages 12 and up. Buy your tickets now, or a Hilgen Spring Resort ghost may just haunt you until you do!