Spirits On The Hill brings a rich history to life in the hills of Harrisonburg.

The annual event takes place in historic Harrisonburg Cemetery and features local actors portraying characters long dead. Many of the actors perform parts based on their own ancestors.

Money raised from Spirits On The Hill funds various village events and is sponsored by Harrisonburg Service League.

“Originally, we were raising money to restore and raise some headstones,” said Kabi Boothe, Service League member. The Service League also manages the Harrisonburg Christmas parade, Fort Beauregard Festival and a 5K race in the Spring.

Restoration totaling $7,000 has been performed on various headstones located in the cemetery with many dating back to the 1800s. 

Event patrons are treated at various stops along the route to stories about each person including a story about a “wild girl of Catahoula Parish” told by Brenda Ogden.

Additionally, there is an introduction by Anne Borne; a tale about Lt. Col. R.V. McHale by Bobby McHale; a story about S.E. Terchel and Sophia Terchel by Kelly Huspeth and Jordan Huspeth; Gwen Bradley and Brooke Glenn speak about Mary Disch and Fannie Sargent; the story of Sergeant Smith, a Civil War soldier buried in an unmarked grave, is told by Rev. Jon Lord; and the story of Carrie Hatten Jenkins is told by Daisy Van Buren.

Many of the actors sing and play instruments during their stories along with a band made up of Travis Glenn, Dennis Elliot, John Bruce and Phil Mayo.

“We are currently working on getting the cemetery recognized and listed on the Historic Registrar,” Boothe said.

The event is held annually in November for visitors who are interested in local history and the possibly of spotting the “wild girl of Catahoula Parish.”

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