My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown Offering Victorian Mourning Tours & Halloween Masquerade Ball
As the pendulum swings back and forth on the grandfather clock, time is ticking down to the witching hour of All Hallows Eve, and a month of eerie, scary, and historical ways to celebrate. Strike a match and light your candle as you step back in time with me a couple of hundred years to the Victorian world, which held customs so very different from those we have now. We are about to deep-dive into Victorian mourning, Spiritualism, and ways to have a hands-on historical encounter with the past, right here in the Bluegrass.
Draped in black, Victorian Era in mourning
Many of us have watched the classic, Gone With The Wind and can recall that Scarlett O'Hara spent a great bit of her time in the film in mourning of departed spouses and her dear friend Melanie. Being clothed in black from head to toe was how women outwardly reflected grief and would dress accordingly for up to two years before transitioning back into normal attire. The mourning garments were made from a heavy crepe material of wool or silk and would often contain high amounts of arsenic. Black veils would often be worn in this time as well, and even certain types of jewelry.
Mourning around the home
At the time of death, clocks around the home would be stopped, to both record the time and to avoid bad luck as was the superstition in this era. Mirrors would be covered in cloth so the spirit of the departed wouldn't become trapped in the glass. Oftentimes a black wreath would be placed on the front door of the house, signaling to all that the house was in mourning. Back then, the funeral would take place in the parlor rooms of the deceased's home or a residence of a close relative of the departed. This is why 'parlor rooms' are now called 'living rooms' in modern homes, as the term used to be associated with death.
Post-War spiritualism practices
'Modern spiritualism' rose to prominence in the mid-1800s due to the gift of mediumship that the Fox Sisters possessed. Maggie and Kate Fox became famous in their time and traveled the world, sharing with others their ability to communicate with the departed. For more information on the Fox sisters visit their Facebook page:
Spiritualism gained momentum in the years of the Civil War and in post-war times. An estimated 620,000 men perished in the war, leaving behind loved ones and many widowed wives. So many families that partook in these losses were often left with unanswered questions about their loved one's final moments.
What is Spiritualism you ask? It is a system of belief where others can communicate with the deceased, especially through the help of spiritual mediums. Therefore, family members of those lost to war would seek help to reach beyond the veil of the physical world, to find a sense of closure that one last conversation with the departed might bring.
Weep no more...
If history haunts you in a way that it does to many, calling you back in time to learn more and more of days gone, travel back in time to My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Kentucky. Each year, My Old Kentucky Home opens its doors to visitors to partake in the world of Victorian mourning with its "Weep No More, Bizarre Victorian Mourning and Funerary Customs."
Beginning on October 1st- October 31st tours run from 9 am- 4 pm. A great opportunity to step back in time and enjoy a spooky ambiance of a bygone era. Please visit: visitmyoldkyhome.com.
The Weep No More tour is part of our regular 40-minute guided tour of My Old Kentucky Home. Tours start at 9am with the last tour held at 4pm, everyday. Hear the song, "My Old Kentucky Home" performed by our talented tour guides on every tour!
This tour is offered as part of the daily mansion tour. Tickets are $16 per-person with various discounts for seniors, children, youths, military, groups, and more. My Old Kentucky Home is located at 501 E. Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown, KY 40004.
Shadows of Federal Hill Masquerade Ball
If you are looking for more than a tour, be sure to get your tickets for the Shadows of Federal Hill Masquerade Ball, a Halloween Masquerade Ball, featuring a scare garden, hayride, and the “Shadows of Federal Hill” ghost tour, along with a DJ, appetizers and an open bar of top-shelf selections.