I discovered Helen Creighton’s book Bluenose Ghosts when I was still in elementary school. I still remember reading it for the first time. Rather than fear, the book filled me with an intense fascination. I loved to picture Mrs. Creighton traveling the province gathering stories from each community. I loved the idea of the oral tradition, of individuals sharing their stories, and of the history of a place staying alive through memory and careful recording. Today I have my own copy, and I often take it with me when we travel, cross referencing her stories to our current location.
These stories and other ghostly tales are bought to life at the 2012 Bluenose Ghost Festival at Alderney Landing. The festival is best known for it’s “Fear the Darkness” haunted house. It was my first time touring the haunted house and I let out my fair share of screams, especially in the 3D room. Both the 3D room and a room called ‘The Vortex’ are new this year.
While the Haunted House is reason in itself to check out the festival, there are lots of other things to do on-site. This year, the Helen Creighton Folklore Society and the Storytellers Circle of Halifax will have a story booth. Members of the two groups will be re-telling Creighton’s Ghost Stories, as well as a few of their own personal haunted tales. Members of the public are encouraged to join in with their own ghost stories.
Other cool features for 2012 is the Haunted Portraits booth where you can pick up “Roller Coaster’ style photos of your walk through the Haunted House, Horror Movie Trailer Screenings, and plays including “The Monster Under the Bed” by Halifax Theatre for Young People and “Houdini”.
If you can’t make it in person to this year’s festival, they have created a new way to get your Bluenose Ghost on online with the Geary Street Cemetery Interactive Media Tour. Go to http://www.alderneylanding.com/departures/ to access an on-line map created by local artists, youth, and community members where you can virtually tour the graveyard and hear stories about George F. Thompson, Catherine Anne, and other ghostly inhabitants. You can also mix physical and virtual by walking the graveyard and scanning barcodes to bring stories up on your phone.
The festival runs October 11 – 13 and October 17-31st. For the full schedule of events, visit http://www.bluenoseghostsfestival.com
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