cropsey file photo

Featured characters in the 2016 Ghost Walk stand in front of the Nell Cropsey house on Riverside Avenue. For a second straight year, organizers have canceled Ghost Walk because of COVID-19 concerns.

Residents looking forward to this year’s Elizabeth City Ghost Walk will have to wait till next year to learn more about the unsolved death of Nell Cropsey.

For a second straight year, the Elizabeth City Historic Neighborhood Association has had to cancel its popular Ghost Walk because of COVID-19, said ECHNA member Marjorie Berry.

“COVID is big question mark for us with the (case) numbers rising,” said Berry, who is known for writing the scripts for each year’s cast of ghosts, who are played by local volunteers. This year’s Ghost Walk had been scheduled for the final weekend in October.

Because of the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 and rising case numbers, the association decided early to cancel Ghost Walk.

“We have to do things ahead of time” such as purchase promotional materials and have tickets made, Berry said. Those could have led to a significant loss of revenue if the association had to cancel at the last second, she said.

“We just decided to scrap it and start fresh next year,” she said.


Each year the walk includes stops at homes of popular figures throughout Elizabeth City’s history, where their “ghosts” give presentations.

This year’s Ghost Walk theme was the mysterious death of Nell Cropsey, a 19-year-old girl who disappeared from her family’s front porch on the late evening of Nov. 20, 1901. This year’s event was supposed to feature a stop at the Cropsey House on Riverside Avenue, with a porch-side visit from the “ghosts” of Cropsey’s parents.

Cropsey’s unsolved death remains a mystery, one of which has been featured in several books and on the Travel Channel. Berry said Nell Cropsey will be the focus of next year’s Ghost Walk.

This year’s walk would have marked the 25th anniversary of the event, as well as Berry’s 17th year being involved in organizing it. Until last year, the association had never had to cancel Ghost Walk. This year also marks 120 years since Cropsey’s death.

Museum of the Albemarle will host a Nell Cropsey exhibit starting Oct. 1, Berry said. The exhibit was to coincide with the Ghost Walk.