A frightful trip to Fort Henry

A Journal reporter gets the pants scared off them at Fort Fright 

Image supplied by: Supplied by Rosalyn Gambhir
Inside Fort Fright.

In the small town where I grew up, the cool thing to do on Halloween was a haunted hayride at a local farm. 

At age 10, my friend and I begged our parents to let us go. She ended up literally peeing her pants with fear about ten minutes in and we had to go home early.

So, my expectations of Fort Fright were high. If I was going to shell out for a haunted house, I was looking for an experience that was pee-your-pants-even-as-an-adult level of terrifying. 

Fort Fright not only met my lofty expectations, but also exceeded them. 

Historic Fort Henry was originally erected to protect the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard during the war of  

1812. The fort felt particularly spooky in the heavy rain as we approached, and not because I was expecting an American militia to come pouring out of the treesThe nineteenth century garrison was completely transformed into a horrifying modern network of attractions, complete with costumed actors and props and an eerie layer of mist hovered above it all. 

My friend and I started in the haunted house. Costumed actors were placed around every corner in full outfits and stage makeup. They were sometimes hidden among mannequins so it was hard to tell who was real and who wasn’t. 

The actors never broke character for a second. I was surprised at the number of hidden actors; every time we thought we were safe, another one would be waiting around the corner.

As we shuddered and shrieked our way through the tunnels and ditches of the old fort, we marveled at the realistic spookiness of the décor and had the pants scared off us more than I care to admit. Every time we thought we’d made it out, the next portion would begin with a different theme. 

My personal favourite was ‘Happy’s fun house’, a haunted clown area complete with strobe blacklights in a spinning, checkered room that made me feel Alice down the rabbit hole but if something went terrible wrong. 

After stopping for a quick candy apple, we checked out the ‘coffin ride’. 

We entered a room designed like a chapel, with two coffins set up at the altar. We hesitantly climbed inside. As the lid began to close, the claustrophobia of being nailed into a wooden death-box set in. 

The screen on the inside of the coffin lid played a video of being lowered into the grave and buried and the coffin shook, giving the illusion of being dropped six feet under. It was the perfect mix of scary realism and cheesy fun. 

The final part of our evening was a haunted walk through the tunnels of the fort. Storytellers were stationed throughout the limestone passageways, reciting monologues about scary events that happened within the very walls we were currently walking. 

Knowing that the stories were based on real events made it even spookier.Fort Fright is a frightfully wonderful way to spend an autumn evening. The haunted house made an art out of the traditional jump scare, the coffin ride was a well-crafted psychological scare and the storytelling walk was perfect for lovers of the classic horror story. 


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