Local Historian Leads ‘Spirited’ Walking Tours of West Chester

man with lantern
Image via Bill Rettew, Daily Local News.
Paul Sookiasian.

West Chester’s alleys, streets, and sidewalks hide plenty of interesting stories, and one local historian is determined to tell them all. Bill Rettew, for the Daily Local News, reported on walking tours that cover the sites related to the borough’s often checkered past.

Recently, Paul Sookiasian started leading public haunted history excursions through the borough, starting from the historic courthouse. The tours combine ghost with crime stories and include a good deal of local history.

The tours take place at night, with Sookiasian carrying a lantern to add more authenticity to the event.

The subjects he covers include the courthouse, two prisons, the gallows, and a Revolutionary War hospital.

Tourgoers also learn about the Turk’s Head Tavern — the previous namesake for West Chester that was once located at High and Market streets. They also hear the chilling tale of John Tully, a horse thief who took 29 lashings in 1788 and whose cries were heard even after his death.

The historian decided to start doing the tours to “involve others in what is often solitary self-study.”

Sookiasian elaborated: “I love meeting new people, teaching, and making them love history like I do. I enjoy this kind of stuff after doing historical research for years and years.”

Read more about these unique walking tours in the Daily Local News.

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