In-person ghost tours return to Old Fort Erie

Old Fort Erie has a few tales to share about its run-ins with American troops during the War of 1812 and the Fenians who decided to raid the fort in 1866.

And through Niagara Parks, the historical battlefield is reviving its popular Friday Night Frights Ghost Tour to share these tales in person with visitors.

Travis Hill, site manager of Old Fort Erie, was excited for the return of their popular tour that consists of history related to the fort and the soldiers that lost their lives on site.

Information is gathered through journals, firsthand accounts and research. Visitors may even hear about the Snake Hill archaeology dig that uncovered the bodies of American soldiers who were repatriated back to their home country.

There are a few ghost stories to share as well, which will be shared by experienced staff, garbed in period costumes, including British soldiers, militiamen, American soldiers and Indigenous warriors.

Photo courtesy Niagara Parks
Old Fort Erie was the location of some bloody battles during the War of 1812. The historic site will host ghost tours for the first time since the pandemic on Aug. 27 and Sept. 3.

“Obviously doing things in the evening that are ghost-related often translates very well to the public,” the 39-year-old said, with a laugh. “I think people are pretty eager to get out and doing something that is outside of what they’ve been going through for the past 18 months.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to suspend their reality a little for the next 30 or 40 minutes while giving them a tour.”

Hill admitted he was unsure if there will be further tours after Sept. 3. Old Fort Erie may not be open by the end of October.

Regardless, tour attendees will be privy to old war stories, as well as Indigenous traditions relating to orbs.

“We talk about orbs in the guard room, and how they’re associated with Indigenous culture,” Hill said. “When you do see one, depending on the colour, it could be harmful or it could be peaceful. It will be elaborated on a little bit more on the tour.”

Staff have followed all proper COVID-19 protocols and have ensured a safe environment for visitors while on tour. The tours are entirely outdoors.

“Due to COVID, we’re not going to be accommodating walk-ins where we typically have before,” Hill admitted.

Friday Night Frights ghost tours depart from the welcome centre at 7:30, 7:45, 8:00 and 8:15 p.m., with a total of 20 guests each time. Tours sold out on Aug. 26.

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