If you take part in Scott Colborn’s sold-out "Ghosts of Lincoln" bus tour this month, you may encounter an actual apparition or two.
At least that’s what happened one year to some tour participants.
As Colborn’s story goes, the bus made a quick stop at the state Capitol, where some women darted inside to find a restroom.
Not finding one, they hailed a man they saw in a hallway. But he ignored them ducking into one of the offices.
They made their way into the same office where they found a receptionist, who gave them directions to the restroom. They thanked her, saying she was much nicer than the man who came in before them.
That’s when the receptionist said: “I’m sorry. No one arrived before you, and I’m the only one here.”
The ghost, it appears (pun intended), is fairly well known.
To illustrate this story, Journal Star photographer Eric Gregory went to the Capitol, where a maintenance worker asked him what he was up to. Gregory told him he was looking for a ghost.
“That would be on the first floor,” he told Gregory.
That didn’t surprise Colborn, who often hears from tour participants about new ghosts or ones that have haunted Lincoln for years.
“That’s how I fleshed out the story about the Nebraska Wesleyan ghost,” he said.
You’ll have to take the tour sometime to hear that story, or purchase Alan Boye’s recently reprinted and updated book, “A Guide to the Ghosts of Lincoln,” which Colborn uses to help him organize his tours. He also mentions “Hello From Heaven” by Bill and Judy Guggenheim and Martin Caidin’s “Ghosts of the Air.”
Colborn is a small business owner and former real estate agent who is known in the community for his 30-year-old paranormal radio show he hosts on community station KZUM (89.3 FM). He guesses he’s led pre-Halloween ghost tours for about 15 years.
They’ve become a thing-to-do for Lincoln residents, with the 50-person tours regularly selling out just hours after tickets become available in August. Colborn works with A Novel Idea bookstore and owner Cinnamon Dokken, whose house is part of the tour, in coordinating ticket sales. This year’s event consisted of 12 dates, with the last one set for Oct. 29. The 2½-hour tour costs $15 per person.
“Consistently, when I ask for a show of hands, a majority of the people are first-timers,” Colborn said.
On the first night, that included Lincoln’s Emily Sipp, who brought along her mother, Cindy; 9-year-old daughter, Savannah, and 10-year-old niece, Alex.
“I read about it in the paper,” Sipp said after departing the white bus, which had traveled all over Lincoln, with Colborn up front using a public address system to share his stories. “I’ve always had an interest in this sort of thing.”
As did the girls, with Savannah saying “she loved” the tour and Alex calling it “awesome.” Colborn strives to make the tour family-friendly.
“I don’t do horror,” he said. “That’s not paranormal. I give you the real deal.”
The “Ghosts of Lincoln” bus tour originated with Colborn’s friend and employee, the late Dale Bacon, who first drove people around Lincoln in a van.
“The first year was two dates, I think, and the next year was four dates,” Colborn said. “Dale was the voice, and I was the facilitator and organizer.”
Bacon even added some flair to it, wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat as he told stories.
“He was as much an actor as he was a storyteller,” Colborn said.
Colborn kept the tours going after Bacon’s passing, first hiring somebody to do the telling before, finally, doing it himself. His 20-year-old daughter, Melissa, who began the tours as a 9-year-old, works as his assistant.
In addition to ghost stories, he also tells a few about local UFO and, believe or not, Bigfoot sightings.
He also relates his own experience, which you have to hear sometime. It involves his family and martial arts moves.