"You counted up yesterday how many there'd be, and you said twelve, so I set the table for twelve," said Pauline.
"Well, I don't see how I made such a blunder," her mother replied. "There are only eleven of us, after all."
"It's a sign somebody's comin'," said Pauline.
Thus, begins the eerie tale of "The Twelfth Guest" by Mary Wilkins Freeman, in which a strange young woman appears suddenly for Christmas dinner, and stays awhile.
This story is one of two that are performed on the "Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides," co-sponsored by Cape May MAC and the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company. The other ghostly story is "Old Applejoy's Ghost" by Frank R. Stockton, in which a jolly spirit convinces his grand-niece to persuade her uncle to celebrate Christmas in the mansion the way in which it used to be celebrated. The stories were adapted for storytelling by ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth.
Listen to these classic American ghost tales, memorized, not read, told in a dark trolley, while the twinkling lights of the beautifully decorated homes and streets are seen through the windows. This popular pastime has been running since 2007.
Most of the "spirited" thirty-minute rides begin and end at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth. Tickets are only $25 for adults and $15 for children, ages 3-12. Performances run on various days from November 19 through December 26.
Like last year, the beautifully costumed storyteller is Susan Tischler who has performed in several ELTC plays including "Sherlock Holmes' Adventure of the Speckled Band" and "Helpful Hints," that she adapted from Mae Savell Croy's "Putnam's Household Handbook." She was selected to perform another of her one-person shows, "Tao of Tisch," at The Women's Theatre Comedy Showcase in Parsippany, NJ in 2019. For several years, she's co-produced "Barry’s Christmas Opry," in which she portrays Minnie Pearl. Proceeds from the "Opry" go to the West Cape May Christmas Parade.
Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling Cape May MAC at 609-884-5404. If tickets are available the day of the trolley ride, they will be sold at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.
Meanwhile on the mainstage at ELTC, it’s "Christmas with Harte and O. Henry" adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth, running Nov. 26 and 27, and Dec. 5, 9, 10, and 11 at 8 p.m., with two matinees on Saturdays, Nov. 27 and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. For information and reservations, call 609-884-5898 or visit eastlynnetheater.org.