Fort Fright at Fort Henry
Fort Fright Re-visited
by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
"It Was "Another" Dark and Stormy Night!"
It was "another" dark and stormy night and the whole family climbed into the car for the long and "frightening" trip to Kingston and Fort Fright (aka Fort Henry). Actually, two souls were missing! Ainsley and Eddy's "cute" daughter (my "cute" granddaughter), who was too young to be subjected to ghosts and goblins and "Scoop, Fraidy-cat" Judi, who said that she had other things to do!
This time Eddy and I were prepared! We knew (or thought we did) what we all we were for! We knew where all the "skeletons" were "buried"! As we started down the ramp to the Lower Fort, where all the "Howling" was taking place, ready to enter and be "frightened", we were directed from entering the Fort to turning left into the moat the surrounded the Lower Fort. Who knew?! The moat had been transformed into a "Halloween" masterpiece! The whole moat was full of "scary" objects and people. Skeleton, coffins and more lined the walls. "Soldier ghosts" tried their best frighten all the visitors. They loved to "ghoulishly" run after "screaming tween girls" who had come especially to be "scared"! At the back of the moat, a "very dark" labyrinth greeted us! After we winding our way through the darkness, we came to a brightly lite area where "dead" Fort soldiers were "climbing up the walls"! In actuality, the images were an ingenious "3D" projection that had been produced to entertained and "scare" Fort Fright visitors! It worked! From there we followed the perimeter of the moat until we came back to the Lower Fort's entrance. This time we were allowed the "enter". We followed the crowd. Here a lot of what Eddy and I had experience before was similar. That is, until we came to the "squeezing tunnel"! Someone ahead of us described the experience as a "baby" squeezing through a mother's "birth canal" (yuk, too graphic!). However, not remembering the experience myself, I can't tell you for sure if this is how it really felt! Needless to say it was "scary", but exciting! Another interesting room, offered visitors the opportunity to fire "laser" guns at "creepy" monsters. The room was full of eager "monster slayers"! We then traveled to almost the last room to be explored. Inside we entered a "Funeral Parlour" and were greeted by its "undertaker". He offered to allow us to be "buried alive"! Questioningly, we all looked at one another. Eddy, however, pulled out a 5 dollar bill and immediately said that he would! The "undertaker" immediately took Eddy's money and told him to "climb" into the coffin. Here Eddy folded his arms and closed his eyes! The "undertaker" closed the lid and stepped away. Shortly after the coffin began to "shake and roll"! Minutes passed and finally that ghoulish "undertaker" opened the lid. Eddy's eyes "fluttered" and opened! He climbed out, none the "worst for wear" from being "buried alive". As we left the "Parlour" another "victim" came forward, ready to be "buried alive"! Outside we all gathered around Eddy, eager to hear his story! Inside, he pulled out his "tablet". He had videoed the whole experience, As he replayed his ordeal, we watched in fascination! What a brave soul!? Make sure that become a "victim" of the "undertaker" the next time you visit Fort Fright, you'll "love" being "buried alive"! According to Eddy, it was a "death defying" experience!
The whole family had a great time at Fort Fright. After the visit, we all walked to the new "Visitor Centre and Store". The two boys purchased souvenir goods. Eddy and Ainsley bought "Fort Fright" T-shirts. As for me, I bought nothing, but had a great time!
by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
"It Was A dark and Stormy Night..."
“It was a dark and stormy night and two grown men left the safety of their homes and traveled over 100 kilometres just to get the “Fright of their Lives!”. When they arrived at their final destination, they were greeted by men without heads. They traveled traversed through dark hallways, accompanied by the shrieks of the “undead” as each encountered dreadful surprise after dreadful surprise! It was the month of October and historic Fort Henry had been transformed into the ghoulish nightmare called Fort Fright!”
I’m not sure if it was really raining or not but it was dark and I was with my son-in-law Eddy. As we drove to Kingston we talked with anticipation about what we would find at “Fort Fright”, Fort Henry’s October event. Some time earlier the Fort's special events manager, Wil Baird, had told me that they always put a lot of time, effort and money into transforming Fort Henry into a spectacular but freighting place to visit. I had heard that they had received money to help with their special effects and had hired a special effects firm to turn their visions into a reality. It was something I really wanted to see and experience! Once we had reached the Fort and had parked our car, we followed others down the long pathway that led to the Forts entrance. Once inside we were met with moans and screams!
The Ghosts of the Fort Walking Tour...
As we walked through the front entrance of the Fort we noticed a sign board saying "Ghosts of the Fort Walking Tour". We asked one of the guides what the tour was all about< She told us that a tour guide would take a group around Fort Henry and tell them stories about some of the Ghosts that inhabited the Fort! It sounded very interesting, so Eddy and I asked if we could tag along. We could and we did. The tour is conducted by The Haunted Walk of Kingston Tours (Website). They not only conduct tours at the Fort but also around Kingston. This is a great company with very knowledgeable tour guides. If you ever feel the urge to learn more about Kingston and its Ghosts, this is the company to contact! We all gathered as a group and the guide told us what we would hear and experience. Even as a confirmed skeptic, the stories really made me reconsider some of my earlier thoughts. I know a couple of times the hair on the back of my neck raised! “Was it real … or not?” With the tour completed, it was time to explore Fort Fright.
Into the Night of Fright!
Into the Night of Fright
Eddy and I walked from the Upper Fort, across the bridge and down into the Lower Fort, Fort Fright! Everything was dark and eerie. A sign with an arrow showed us the way. We followed others as they made their way through the darkness. We entered rooms that had Ghosts jump out at us. We took the trip stoically, but all around us young girls screamed in fright and delight! As we walked along we were greeted by many "living dead" each trying to out do the other. The costumes and make-up were superb! Each room and corridor we entered had something new to scare us. We wandered around the perimeter of the Fort, exploring rooms and tunneled hallways. One such tunnel took us into the depths of the Fort. The tunnel was damp and twisted and turned. We went up stairs and downs stairs. We entered small rooms and then back into the tunnel. Our trip seemed to take forever, but, of course, we weren't long at all. Back outside and into the fresh air, ghosts and goblins ruled the grounds, one minute very still and the next jumping out to an unexpecting victim. All-in-all it was just great fun. Eddy and I enjoyed the experience immensely. So much so that he wished he lived closer so that he could be one of the "living dead"!
On our way home we both sat quietly thinking of what we had seen at Fort Fright. Every once in a while one of us would chuckle at something we has seen or experienced. Well done Fort Henry!