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Click here to 'see and hear Annie Wiggins talk about  Haunted Galena... (you will need Windows Media Player to view this)

Seeing is believing...Annie Wiggins (Wendy Heiken) on the streets of Galena.
Do you believe in ghosts? You will after a visit with Galena's Annie Wiggins

by Daniel Hines
America's Seniors /

"You turn your head for just a moment...and you sense someone living their life of 1850, 1890 or at the turn of the century...that’s what makes Galena such a ‘haunted community’."

With those words, Annie Wiggins explains her answer to just why Galena is such a wonderful haunted community.

Actually, Annie Wiggins is the creation of Wendy Heiken, who, with her husband, Bill,  owns and operates the beautiful Annie Wiggins bed and breeakfast, housed in a mid-1850’s house located only a short walk from the bustling downtown Galena community.

Perhaps it was this proximity that led Wendy to develop one of the most unique and interesting parts of a Galena visit--her ‘walking tour of haunted Galena’--that starts at Annie Wiggins B&B and concludes, where else, but in the historic cemetery located near the town’s tourist anchor of the home of General and later President U.S. Grant.

Wendy does a wonderful job as Annie. She dresses appropriately in a beautiful black mourning dress. She explains the rituals of death observances at the time of Galena’s founding and boom years in a warm, personal manner. She makes death and the possibility of ghosts seem not something to be feared, but a presence of early Galena life that has much to say to today’s visitors.

The walking tour includes stops along the way to the cemetery, where ‘Annie’ tells stories of the history of Galena through the eyes of her mid- and late 19th century friends. All of the stories are true, but Wendy's concept of personalizing them by relating them through the eyes of people of the era is nothing short of brilliant.

It adds a touch that removes much of what many people believe is dry and a recitation of facts. It reminds us that even as the subjects of Annie Wiggins’ stories once were living people who have left their marks, we too shall be the ghosts for future generations.

Wendy came to Galena via Seattle and Idaho. While time prevented her from telling the full story of her reasons for choosing Galena, it is apparent that she is in love with the community.

The inspiration for Annie Wiggins came when tourism officials were developing a Halloween promotion.

"I gave it a lot of thought," she says. "I didn’t want to just do a ‘haunted house’, so I came up with the idea of looking at Galena through the eyes of those people whose heritage we’re celebrating. "

That’s how Annie Wiggins was born.

We asked if she were a ghost. "That’s for you to decide," she answers with a sly, but warm smile. It will also be for the growing number of visitors to the Annie Wiggins ghost tours to answer.

And, as one watches the black dressed, black-veiled Annie walking the streets of Galena, we truly are transported to a moment where, if we look up at just the right time, one can see the ghosts of Galena.



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