As the host of The Night Time Podcast, I spend a lot of my time seeking out the many interesting people, places, and events Atlantic Canada has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised by what I recently stumbled upon.
Over the long weekend (Labour day), I made the customary pilgrimage to Cavendish, Prince Edward Island with my family in tow. As I toured the attractions, everything seemed to radiate a sort of half assed attempt at a tourist trap. Nothing seemed to have the imagination that I remember being thrilled by as a kid visiting these places in the mid-1980s… My memories are especially fond when considering the now defunct Rainbow Valley theme park. For anyone not fortunate enough to have visited, everything in Rainbow Valley appeared to be homemade, well thought out, a bit unrefined, and wonderfully tacky. In fact, the UFO themed gift shop may be partially responsible for my interest in the UFO phenomena.
After running out of things to do in Cavendish, I decided to take the afternoon and road trip to the Twin Shores Campground in nearby Kensington, PEI (to visit the location of the UFO sighting I covered in Episode 12). While on the way I passed by the topic of this blog post. The massive Tudor style home stood out to me initially as a sort of dark paradise on a large lot, unlike anything else on the street. As I looked at the house, I thought to myself "What the hell is that?"… then I saw the sign advertising Haunted Mansion and immediately my afternoon plans changed.
As I pulled into the parking lot I was taken aback by the size of the house, and hopefully the size of the attraction within. I also noticed a separate gated section that contained rides designed for kids. I took this as a hint that the haunted house was likely geared towards young ghouls (more on that later).
On my way across the front lawn, I took a moment to appreciate one of the many statues on the property, this one was especially unpleasant to my toddler son.
Next, as I approached the steps leading to the front door, I heard an upstairs window creek open and was greeted by an animatronic lady, screaming for help.
Upon arriving at the front door of the Haunted mansion, I was greeted by a warning "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" (which wasn't enough to turn me away). Regarding the sign, my son asked "Does that say there are spiders in there?"... it didn't, but there was.
When speaking with the friendly gal who handled admission, I complimented the initial presentation of the site and it's grounds. She then told me "The Haunted Mansion is owned by the same people who owned Rainbow Valley" and I knew then I would be in for a treat.
As I opened the Large wooden door that divides the lobby and the attraction, I was faced with the first room. it was sparsely decorated dark space that contained a TV tuned to snow with a skull sitting atop. My toddler son began shivering in my arms. It was at this point he and Mrs. Boneparty left the attraction to go straight to the rides and playground area outside.
Thus began my first of four solo walk throughs... Well, 3.5 solo walk throughs.
During my first, I encountered a terrified young boy and his equally terrified mom. He was sobbing, and she was yelling at him "if you're so scared why did you want to come in here?", I suppose it was her way of dealing with that. Sadly, the boy (about 8 years old) asked me if I would hold his hand and walk through with him, which his mom seemed completely fine with. I wasn't comfortable holding a random child's hand in a dark room so I agreed to give him the glow stick I had originally brought for my son and walk a bit with him and his mom. (I ended up ditching them in a maze type place in the basement dungeon).
It was during my second walk through I asked the friendly gal who staffed the front desk if I could take pictures inside and she permitted me to do so. With that said, I present to you roughly 50% of the attraction. If you plan to attend, I recommend not watching to save the surprises for when you are there in your flesh. Also, please pardon the shaky camera… I was scared!
In closing, I think this attraction would be perfectly suited for entertaining someone over the age of 6, unless they are especially sensitive. For us older folks, it's not an extreme attraction geared towards us, but it'll definitely give you a fright. If you can enjoy campy fun, you'll love it.
I look forward to visiting the Haunted Mansion again. In fact, next summer Im strongly considering staying in Kensington rather than near by Cavendish. In considering the Haunted Mansion, I believe what it has, that others don't, is the feeling that is was lovingly created by someone who truly aims to excite and entertain. It didn't seem to be some store bought crap ordered from a haunted house incorporated dot com type site. It was genuine, it was 80s, it was unrefined, and it was awesome!
What do they have planned for Halloween? Do they book private parties? If The Night Time Podcast ever makes big money, I promise I will do what I can to host a private party there.