JOPLIN, Mo. — Editor's note: After a version of this story was printed for the Oct. 18 issue of Enjoy, an engagment planned Saturday in Carthage was relocated to Joplin.
Lisa Livingston Martin has told ghost stories in print, during ghost hunts and on reality TV shows.
Next up: Opera. Martin and others with Paranormal Science Labs will pair stories of Joplin's paranormal past with musical performances by members of American Opera Studios, based in Kansas City.
"I think it's a great performance," Martin said. "It combines the arts of singing and dancing with the history and real-life stories. It's performance art involving the audience."
Macabre Haunted History Tours and Musical Apparitions features two days of ghost stories and great singing. Performers will sing at haunted locations in Joplin today and Saturday, meshing haunting music with haunted locations.
"This is such a unique event," said Jennifer Hall, a spokesperson for the studio. "Working with Paranormal Science Labs, there is so much history. We're absolutely intrigued by all the things (Martin) knows about."
Martin has written several books about Joplin ghost stories, including "Civil War Ghosts of Southwest Missouri," "Haunted Joplin" and "Missouri's Wicked Route 66." She said studio director Bill Hall contacted her with the idea after they worked together on "My Ghost Story Caught on Camera."
"They made musical selections based on the locations and history there," Martin said. "What they felt paired well together."
Selections include a variety of pieces from classic opera and modern musicals, Hall said, including Verdi's "O Patria Mia" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from "Les Miserables."
Singers will perform at various locations on each tour.
In Joplin, some of the stops include the parlor of the Schifferdecker Mansion, Olivia Apartments and Scottish Rite Cathedral. From the interesting occupants of the Olivia to the deadly mansion fire, Martin and others will share a number of legends behind actual hauntings.
Each stop will include stories about what made the place haunted, Martin said.
"Some are murder mysteries, some are public executions," Martin said.
The pairing of opera and paranormal stories is also a first for the studio, Hall said. The studio has performed something macabre for the last five years, but never at actual haunts.
"This is the first time for us," Hall said. "The thing that makes it most unique for us is the history of Joplin in general. It makes for an amazing experience musically."
The studio helped Midwest Regional Ballet in April with a production of "Cats." Founded in 1998, the studio features professionals and aspiring performers preparing for careers nationwide. It has performed across the country and around the world.
Paranormal Science Labs has performed scientific-based investigations of paranormal occurrences reported at several places around the region, including stops on the tour. After the Joplin event, team members will conduct what they believe will be the final ghost hunt at the Olivia, based on a change of ownership, Martin said.
Want to go?
The Joplin event will be held on Friday and Saturday starting at the Scottish Rite Temple and includes a trip to Schifferdecker Mansion, Olivia Apartments and other downtown locations.
Tickets for either event are $40, $30 for students. Participants can also go on an actual ghost hunt following the tour for $20.
Details: 417-649-2253, ext. 11.