2006-10-07 / News

Colonial Michilimackinac To Host 'Fort Fright' Night Oct. 7

Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City will be transformed into a haunted habitat where werewolves, witches, and other legendary characters roam Saturday, October 7. "Fort Fright" will be a one-night-only event where visitors will first encounter a campfire surrounded by story-telling voyageurs, who set the stage for what will be seen and heard inside the fort walls.

Many of the fort's buildings will be open, and lanterns will light the way from door to door. In three of the houses, costumed interpreters will prepare authentic autumn treats, such as molasses cookies and toffee candy. At the Commanding Officer's House and Guardhouse, a detachment of British soldiers will take turns telling ghoulish ghost stories. In the Southwest Rowhouse, fiddle music will fill the air, while outside, unexplained howls and moans are expected to draw visitors close to the fort's fire pit and a simmering kettle of hot mulled cider.

The majority of activities at "Fort Fright" will be suitable for the whole family, said Steven Brisson, chief curator of Mackinac State Historic Parks and the event coordinator. "But we're also working on a we're also working on a terror- ible haunted house designed to appeal to older children and adults."

The characters that will be seen and talked about throughout the evening are drawn from a book called "Were-Wolves and Will-o-the-Wisps: French Tales of Mackinac Retold," which was authored by Dirk Gringhuis and published by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission in 1974.

"The book describes the best-known legends in French- Canadian folklore," said Mr. Brisson, "Like the man who can change into a wolf, the ghostly light known as 'will o' the wisp,' and the good and bad goblins called lutins."

Many of these legends have spread to other countries and some are believed today, though slightly modified, he said. "For instance, Gringuis' book tells us that black cats, now thought of as bringing bad luck, were originally considered the best of the good lutins."

Colonial Michilimackinac will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission will be $5 for adults, $3 for children (6-17), and $15 for a family.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2006-10-07 digital edition