(Provided by Irene M. Gray, Resource Centre Co-ordinator, Haunted Warehouse Co-ordinator 2001-2004)
Since 1991, a group of fun loving and energetic people have gotten together to create a truly spectacular Halloween event. This event brought in people from all over the Algoma district who wanted to experience something truly unique.
What once started out as a small haunted health centre, grew into a haunted trail, and then into what we now know as the Haunted Warehouse.
The Haunted Warehouse has operated in its current location - the old blue Lajambe building that is located across from Bell's Point and before the Root River bridge in Garden River, for the last two years.
Last year, the Haunted Warehouse brought in a record number of over 1100 visits over a two day period. In addition, well over 600 canned food goods were donated to the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen.
We are on a quest to make this years event more spectacular than ever. First, let me take you on a journey through a darkened labyrinth.
Your friends have invited you to come with them for a special Halloween treat. You arrive at a darkened and seemingly deserted building just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, just minutes from civilization. The trip didn't take long, just down highway 17, (not even 3 minutes past the last city lights), then left onto a gravel road that barely looks maintained, over the tracks, (bumpity bump) then up to the building.
Once out of the car, you look around, your eyes adjusting to the dim lighting and see others with the same adventurous spirit walking into the building. With a sense of relief, you know that this is the place. Walking in, you look around, ghost and goblins surround you, Spiderman walks in holding tight to the hand of his father. Is that Elvis standing in the corner? Wow! you think, everyone has come to experience this phenomenon.
Waiting your turn and chatting with fellow...victims? Creepy music interspersed with screams and howls can be heard coming from behind darkened walls. You try to judge the faces of those who have survived coming from the back of the room. Tear streaks can be seen on pale drawn faces, some laughing in a hysterical manner as they try to catch their breath.
Oh no, you wonder, what have I agreed to? Your turn arrives. Paying the entrance fee, you grab onto your closest friend, anxious to not enter that forbidden doorway alone.
Stepping over the threshold, you are immediately surrounded by darkness as the door swings shut with a loud bang, causing you to jump. Walking cautiously ahead, you wander around corners, your sense of foreboding is heightened as you walk step by step into the unknown.
Over a rickety bridge, you walk, listening to things scurrying around in that barely lit area. What was that! You scream! In the corner moves a giant rat, red glowing eyes staring at you in the darkness, white gleaming teeth snapping as you hurry past.
Next, you emerge into a damp swampy grave yard, your nerves are tingling as your feet tread upon something squishy and moist sounding. "Hey!" There's something behind those headstones... "Oh God, I hope it doesn't jump at me", your mind screams.
Your breath catches as you race on ahead. Around a corner, you stop short! There, stands a jail cell. A jail cell filled with writhing, maggot filled prison corpses. You hurry past fast, keeping out of reach of their grasping skeletal hands. You laugh with your friend, feeling silly, as you know they could not be real. Could they?
Into a corn field you walk, hay bales covered with spider webs. What is that...you draw closer...EEEEEeeekkkkk! There's a dead...something....lying amongst corn stalks. Oh no! Again you find yourself hurrying, not caring to find out what it was.
Ahead you see a school house... "Alright" you think, "safety!" Entering the building, you scream, for there inside, sitting at the blood splattered desks are long dead students. Their bodies animated by ghouls as a domineering, stick wielding instructor invites you to join their lessons.
Running out, you come to a kitchen. "Welcome to W. Itch's Kitchen, fresh offerings made daily!" a sign reads. On the stove a bubbling broth sits, stepping closer to smell, a body part floats to the surface causing you to scream! "Oh no," you wonder, "What is this place... Hell?"
Turning, you stop short... for there in front of you is the opening to that well known place itself!! You take a breath, steeling yourself to enter. One hesitant step, and your inside! The Lord of the underworld greets you, encourages you to stay! "No way," you think, around the corner you rush, only to be freaked out by his minions and scared witless by his lordship as he sneaks up behind you.
Escaping the fiery depths of hell, you wander into a dining room. A seemingly normal couple are sitting down to supper. "Whew," you think, "I must be out of this place by now." Walking closer, you begin to realize that things are just, not quite, right with this scene. Your heart stops as one of the couple's head falls to the floor with a splat! "Yuck," you gasp and hurry past.
Now, you find yourself on the shores of the Carribean, a pirate ship has pulled ashore. You marvel at the shear size of the ship. From the top of the main topmast to the keel, this was one awesome work of art! You could get lost in the shear detail of the ship... if it weren't for the sword bearing ghoulish pirate's who rushed to surround you and tried to make you walk the plank.
With held breath, you finally escape only to find yourself surrounded by demons of all sizes. Demons who knew instinctively how to drag out the last of your gut wrenching screams before finally stumbling out into the lighted hallway of the reception area.
Breathless, with your heart pounding in your chest... you manage a weak laugh. Then laughing with more confidence, you realize that you survived all the thrills and chills that were offered you. That yes! You survived the Haunted Warehouse and find yourself anxious to go through again - with some unsuspecting soul. So that you can enjoy their terrified screams of horror, cause there is just a bit of the macabre in all of us.
Many had the chance to experience last years Haunted Warehouse and I am pretty sure that you had similar feelings to what I just shared with you. For those who would like to find out first hand if you have the guts to walk through, we are starting to organize this years event.
On Friday, October 29th the doors will open to the public at 5:00 pm and will remain open until 9:00 pm, then again on Saturday, October 30th from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm. The first hour of both days will be family hour with the lights on so that little ones (and some older ones?) will not be so terribly frightened as they walk through the warehouse.
This will be the 13th Annual Haunting and is open to anyone and everyone. It is truly an awesome event that is sure bring you shivers and maniacal laughter.
So if you are looking for a fun way to add to your family's Halloween experience, come join us at the Haunted Warehouse.