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HomeArts/LeisureA review of the 2009 Haunting History Tours at Dunbar Cave

A review of the 2009 Haunting History Tours at Dunbar Cave

DCHHTOnce again Haunting History was a great success. Haunting History just finished its tenth year of performing skits inside the cave and bringing the public in to see them. The dreariness of Friday’s weather did not stop 205 people from coming to go into the cave. Saturday brought 341 people. We had the event earlier in the month than usual because studies by APSU show that the Dunbar Cave bats begin their hibernation right on/around October 31. Two weeks earlier is a safer time to be making noise in the cave.

The Roxy Regional School of the Arts gave us 11 actors to do our three skits in the cave with Brendan Cataldo as their director. The Roxy Theatre also gave us a delightful gatekeeper.

The 2009 Haunting History Tour Actors
The 2009 Haunting History Tour Actors

Swan Lake Golf Course allowed us to use their parking lot for overflow parking.

Volunteers stand ready to serve refreshing drinks
Volunteers stand ready to serve refreshing drinks

Over 40 volunteers poured and stirred complimentary cups of hot chocolate, put up and took down the tiki torches that lined the lake, sold glow necklaces and tickets, took us into the cave to see the skits and manned the parking lot. The volunteers were a happy bunch, their enthusiasm catchy.

Haunting History is a fundraiser by the non-profit group, Friends of Dunbar Cave. Monies raised are used to help preserve and protect the park and educate the public.

  • The Friends Group was able to talk APSU’s Clean Cut Productions into producing an Introductory Film that explains the history of Dunbar Cave.
  • The Friends group filmed interviews of local residents who have stories to tell about the Good Ole Days at Dunbar Cave.
  • The Friends group designed, bought and installed a monitor in the lobby that shows films to the public especially the one made by Clean Cut Productions.
  • The Friends group runs Trees to Trails, Cooling at the Cave and Spring Fling each year. These events are free to the public.
  • The Friends group bought interpretive signage for the park and will continue to do so.
  • The Friends group pushes for an Interpretive Center at Dunbar Cave. They’ve used the money they have raised as an incentive for the State to also support that effort.

The 40+ Haunting History volunteers were an impressive bunch. They came willing to do whatever was needed and also to have a good time. They did both. This event has side benefits, like making everyone fall in love with the cave and the Friends of Dunbar Cave group. Several people became members during the event.

The Skits

The first skit
The first skit

I received a lot of positive feedback about the skits from the public and the volunteers. I was thrilled to overhear a man quote the first skit about bats to his wife and talk about how many mosquitoes bats eat. They both agreed that they should build a bat house to try and attract bats to their property.

The first skit was meant to dispel fears about bats and replace them with true information. At the end of the skit the actors showed the audience that a live bat was hanging on the ceiling. It was with excitement and awe that people looked at it, not with horror and fear.

An Eastern Pipistrel Bat
The second Skit
The second skit

The second skit, Haunting Memories, was created from what certain people had to say about the good ole days at Dunbar Cave. Woman 1 represents Marguerite Rubel and Mary McDaniel. Woman 2 is Rachel Tate and Jacquie Miles. Man 1 is Jimmy Dunn and Ronnie Hunter. Man 2 is Zoot Parker who was known as the best dancer in Clarksville. While talking to the actors I was able to fill them in on who they were representing.

The third skit
The third skit

Skit three, Haunting Questions, is about the Native Americans who made the art on the walls in Dunbar Cave. Information about the topic was gathered on visits to Indian Mound sites, like Pinson Mounds in West Tennessee and from books purchased there.

Many people come out of the event smiling and saying, “Wow, I learned a lot!” They seemed pleasantly surprised by that, maybe because they were older by far than the children doing the skits.

The Roxy actors were great. I watched them rehearse and was totally impressed. Then, of course, they just kept getting better. A week before the event we took them and the director into the cave to see how the “stages” looked. After that we were treated to a bit of a tour by Michael Fulbright who works at the Park. The kids were thrilled and learned a lot about the cave.

One of the many tour groups heading to the cave
One of the many tour groups heading to the cave


The Friends of Dunbar Cave wish to give special thanks to these sponsors:

Some of the many young people who enjoyed their haunting tour of Dunbar Cave
Some of the many young people who enjoyed their haunting tour of Dunbar Cave
  • The Roxy Regional School of the Arts. With a more than busy (as usual) schedule, John McDonald gave us wonderful actors and director.
  • Bill Larson of Clarksville Online gave us free advertisement and negotiated the using of the Swan Lake Golf Course for overflow parking. He also brought the actors and early volunteers a lovely dinner on Saturday and ran activities in the cave during the walk-through and the event. Thanks to Bill also for pictures of the actors.
  • Thanks for the cooking of that Saturday dinner goes out to Mr. and Mrs. William Keen.
  • Thanks to Mr. Jeff Vaughn the City’s Golf Pro and manager of Swan Lake Golf Course for the use of their parking lot.
  • Thanks to Jack and Suva Bastin for all their hard work and help.
  • Thanks to Tennessee Trails making Haunting History their event also.
  • Thanks for donations from Batteries Plus, Lowes, Rural King and Krogers.
  • Thanks for their invaluable help in promoting the event: WJZM 1400 AM Radio, Clarksville Online, the Leaf Chronicle and Clarksville Family Magazine.

Volunteers who helped on this event


  • Scene 1 – Haunting Facts:Becca Winters, Patrick Long, Hallie Sampson, Tim O. Smith
  • Scene 2 – Haunting Memories: Kayla Coleman, Jacob Ritchart, Emily Ritchart, Autumn Crafton, Jaymin Burr
  • Scene 3 – Haunting Questions: Frances Dennis, Christian Boyd

Contributers and Volunteers:

Volunteers Kim Chandler and Blane Clements on Friday night
Volunteers Kim Chandler and Blayne Clements on Friday night

Barbara Wilbur, Jim Hancock, Richard Gildrie, Meredith Gildrie, Jack Bastin, Suva Bastin, John Sneed, David Boen, Randall Boen, Bill Larson, Kitty Madden, Beverly Fisher, Paul Schwab, Merri Hinton, Bob Lyon, Carol Sequra, Kyle Sequra, Christine Pieysk, Kelly LaPlante, Bobby LaPlante, Mike Vogt, Kathy Vogt, Kim Chandler, Blayne Clements, Stephen Walker, J.B., Brooklyn Lyle, Dan Racklin, Marilyn Racklin, Beth Racklin, Jill Eichhorn, Barry Kitterman, Hannah Kitterman, Lee Gray, Gabriel Redel, Bryan Valentin, Kathryn Myracle, Matthew Fowler, Beth Robinson, Faith Robinson, Katherine Kolodzie, Gloria Miliken, Elaine Foust, Carl J. Powell, Mr. and Mrs. William Keen

We wish to give a special thanks to the Dunbar Cave Park Staff! Amy Wallace, Adam Neblett, Robert Wells, Teresa Campbell, Michael Fulbright and Blaine Hargis

Park Interpeter Amy Wallace with some of the many pumpkins carved by Suva Bastin and herself
Park Interpreter Amy Wallace with some of the many pumpkins carved by Suva Bastin and herself

Photo Gallery

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.

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