The Woman Behind "Ghosts of Denton" Tours

Shelly Tucker has been telling ghost stories for about 35 years now but it was only five years ago when she started sharing them through the Ghosts of Denton tours.

Tucker said a lot of her stories are based on what residents tell her about their own experiences.

The stories are all subjective, they are as true as a person's imagination will let them believe.

“If it weren’t for ghost stories, I wouldn’t be a storyteller,” Tucker said.

Tucker said she hasn’t had any ghost experiences by herself in Denton, but she has experienced other encounters in other Texas cities. The paranormal experiences Shelly has had in Denton have mostly been when she’s doing the actual ghost tours.

Tucker said the ghosts don’t always appear when you look for them. She said she can feel ghosts around but she doesn’t see them, she only sees results of what has happened because of them (that have no other explanation for happening).

“I definitely believe that there are restless spirits,” Tucker said.

One paranormal experience Tucker said she had was her father speaking to her while she was trying to find a family ring which she misplaced.

She said she heard her father saying “Look for it, baby,” frequently until she found it.

She later called her mom to tell her about it only to find out her sister had also had a similar experience.

Tucker said part of the reason for ghosts in Denton is the history of the city.

“I almost feel like I’m walking the streets with them,” Tucker said.

She said she has never had bad experiences with ghosts or spirits. The weirdest experience she had was after ghost hunting one day.  She said she had the feeling she was walking through spiderwebs and when she went home her cats were hissing at her.

Tucker  said there’s a lot of ghost stories in Denton that are more “slumber party stories” than real stories. She said telling ghost stories can be similar to the telephone game and that we perceive the stories through experiences we’ve had. She added that storytelling is something that helps us be able to deal with our real life.

Shelly advises to not antagonize the ghosts, instead be respectful of them when you go ghost hunting. She said you have to be cautiously skeptical and protect yourself before you go.

“Afterlife is just a part of life,” Tucker said.

Her first experience with a ghost was at a hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

She looked into a mirror and saw a face that wasn’t hers in the reflection. She asked the staff at the hotel about it only to find out someone was murdered there and the ghost was this person.

After experiencing that, she said she wasn’t fearful so much as shocked.

Shelly said ghost stories are her favorite stories to tell.

“It’s one of those things you can’t not do,” Tucker said.  “As long as I can walk around the square, as long as I enjoy it, I’ll continue.”

Header image by Mateo Granados