The city of Dallas is full of ghosts; it's hard to know where to look or how to find them, because, well, they're ghosts. You can't see them. Duh.
This Halloween season, though, some of them will materialize every night at Reunion Tower to tell a series of spooky tales to guests brave enough to hear them, in series called Haunted Tall Tales that runs every night that until the day before Halloween.
"We wanted to help them do something for Halloween in that space," says Amy Reed, the producer of the Haunted Tall Tales storytelling series. "In our initial visit [to Reunion Tower], the view was overwhelming and beautiful."
The COVID outbreak shut down the restaurants located in Reunion Tower. Reed says they were offered a space for the performance by the owners of the spot that housed the Cloud 9 Cafe, and they thought the Halloween season — coupled with the breathtaking view of the city — would offer the best atmosphere for the event.
Reed and show producer Rue Neumann, who also plays one of the ghosts in the storytelling experience, started researching the ghostly legends around town for their show, which Reed calls "part ghost tour, part storytelling, part theater with just a little bit of traditional Halloween fright thrown in for good measure."
Neumann says the stories are told by the ghosts themselves, such as the infamous "Smiley," known for haunting the old Lawrence Hotel building in downtown Dallas. The building, now a La Quinta Inn & Suite, was once an illegal gambling hotspot in the 1920s and '30s where crime and mayhem were rampant. The legend also claims that a woman staying in room 1009 jumped off the roof and a congressman committed suicide in another room on the same floor in the 1940s, according to the book Haunted Dallas by Rita Cook.
"Supposedly, you can't get into the room and the keycard won't work in the room," Neumann says. "If you ask Smiley nice, the door will magically open, and you'll be able to get inside."
Another legend claims that the popular music venue Sons of Hermann Hall is haunted by the spirits of children and musicians who some say can be heard playing in the building's echoing halls and spaces.
"Guests are brought to the tower and once they enter the elevators, they'll be transported from the living world up to Cloud 9 where they are brought in by special hosts to tell these tales of Dallas through the eyes of those who lived them," Neumann says. "They'll meet various characters who will change out places with their hosts to tell their own stories themselves. Sometimes, its host who continues to tell the story and the subject of the story will come in just to make sure they've got it right. We're in their world. They might just come in and take a seat and listen as well."
"Some are super rambunctious and will bust in and take over the stories themselves," Reed adds.
Even though guests will be required to wear masks and maintain a 6 feet of distance, and showtimes will have limited seating, Neumann says the experience is still "very immersive and very theatrical."
"They're very animated storytellers and there's lot of interactions between the ghosts and the characters in order to tell these stories," Neumann says. "Each of the ghosts has its own personality and they interact with each a lot in order to really make the stories fun."