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Megan Maxwell/Contributed photo
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Megan Maxwell/Contributed photo

GMA's Halloween party attracts the living and dead

By Dave Singleton


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The fourth annual ‘Halloweeni Artini’ is going down at the Greenville Museum of Art on October 30, once again celebrating the season of spooks with artisan cocktails, tasty treats and choreographed zombies from the North Carolina Academy of Dance Arts.

And once again, the event will be attended by both the living and the dead.

The museum resides in a stately old manor at 802 S. Evans St., home to the former undertaker and businessman Edward G. Flanagan. Flanagan, who made quite a name for himself in the wooden box and embalming business, preferred to ply his trade close to home, founding a funeral parlor right across the street (at the sight of the new Boundary apartments). And being dedicated to his craft as he was, the story goes that Mr. Flanagan was also known to bring his work home with him.

The museum’s Executive Director, Charlotte Fitz Daniels said that were always little tell-tale signs of an otherworldly occupation in the old home that dates back to 1901, but a story she heard one day seemed to lend credence to the unexplained noises and myriad mysterious occurrences.

“We had a visitor one day who explained that she visited the home as a child before it came a museum,” Fitz Daniels said. The story went that no one was ever allowed to go down into the basement and the Flanagans made sure that the catacombs underneath the house remained undisturbed — curious business for a man who dealt with the dead on a daily basis.

When the Flanagans passed away and the home went on the market, renovations were planned to update the aging residence. Once workers started to clear out the basement, they found a corpse in one of Flanagan’s signature pine boxes. The stench, they said, was wretched.

After that, it was no surprise that the Greenville Art Museum, which had been housed in a smaller facility closer to downtown, was able to pick up the Classic Revival home for a song — or perhaps “dirge” is the better word.

“The place is definitely haunted,” said Megan Maxwell, Program Director at the museum. “I was leaving one night and heard someone sigh, but of course no one was there. It might not sound like much, but trust me it was very creepy.”

Maxwell added, “One of our weekend attendants walked down the hall and heard a noise. When she came back to see what it was, there was no one there, but she found a blood-soaked tissue on the floor where the noise at come from. Very gross and very creepy.”

There are countless other episodes of things falling, dropping, rattling, walking, shaking the museum. But the good news is that once a party like the Halloweeni Artini comes around, and costumed patrons begin to laugh and sing, the spirits seem to take a break and let the living once again enjoy the old homestead.

“They’re the sweetest ghosts ever,” Fitz Daniels said.

Regardless of whether the spirits join the patrons of the Artini (so named for their collection of martinis on hand), there are always plenty of earthly pleasures to take delight in. And with this year’s event planned to All Hallows’ Eve Eve, the timing is perfect to support your local arts scene while pre-gaming for the main event Saturday night.

Museum Trustee Ashely-Nicole Russell summarizes the event succinctly for those who haven’t had the pleasure of attending event in past years: “The Halloweeni Artini has been a premier 
Halloween event in Greenville for the last three years. Come out and see what Greenville’s cultural epicenter has to offer and don’t miss the exotic martinis and zombie flash mob!”

For more information, visit gmoa.org.


Bless your heart
Bless your heart