Spooktacular Halloween party

31 Oct

Duveganites — young and young-of-heart — are cordially invited to tonight’s community Halloween bash at the Dunvegan Recreation Hall, 19053 County Road 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. There’s no admission fee and everyone is welcome to stop in.

Yesterday, Kim Raymond, Anne Forrester-Bertrand, Robert Garner, Louise Quenneville and others lent their time and talents to converting the exterior and interior of the old hall into the perfect setting for ghosts and goblins to gather. I’m told Anne will be introducing some spooky new touches, thanks to the truckload of Halloween decorations she’s amassed over the years. But worry not, kids. There will still be a Halloween tree smack dab in the middle of the hall. For years and years, a costumed horde of Dunvegan kids have danced around the eerie-looking tree to Bobby Pickett’s 1962classic Halloween song:  The Monster Mash.

I’m not sure what the 2018 party holds in store in the way of games and activities, but I have every confidence that it will be chock full of spine-chilling fun. Youngsters will also have a chance to make a simple Halloween craft, sample a smorgasbord of Halloween foods, win a prize for the scariest, funniest and most original costumes and take home a loot bag brimming with Halloween candy.

It’s heartwarming to see this tradition still going strong. In the early 1980s, young parents from the Dunvegan area started the community get-together as a way to give their kids a memorable Halloween experience, without having to travel far and wide. The fact that the event continues to this day is a testament to the dedication of each new generation of DRA volunteers. We owe them — and all the people who donate loot bag candy each year — a huge debt of gratitude.

Campbell barn haunted?

While we’re in an eldritch frame of mind (it’s an old English word for strange… in a way that inspires fear), let’s check and see what transpired at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s second Glengarry Paranormal, Revealings and Revelations at the Museum event this past Saturday evening. Attendance at the second iteration of the paranormal tour was light. However, those who did brave winter’s first blast enjoyed a special treat. An unexpected power outage helped insure that the candlelit museum buildings were even creepier.

Museum volunteerJim Mullin explained to me how the event was organized. “Bytown Paranormal members were scattered throughout the museum buildings as three groups were led from building to building,” Jim told me. “At each stop, participants listened as the paranormal experts explained the science behind their work and shared some of their otherworldly experiences.” The visitors were also given a brief history of of each of the buildings and a list of the bizarre, unexplained occurrences that had been observed there over the past ten years. Suitably primed, the neophyte ghost hunters then tried their hand at paranormal observation.

According to Jim, on the evening of the 13th, one of the groups encountered an “entity of unknown origin.” This took the form of “knocking from behind the walls and footsteps behind and then above.” Obviously, the visitors got their money’s worth that night when the noises emanating from the first and second floors of the Trapper’s Cabin got progressively louder.

Last Saturday evening, however, the spirits remained eerily silent for the majority of the evening. Perhaps they too were shocked by the first taste of winter. Nevertheless, the group that Jim led was able to commune with a spirit in the Trapper’s Cabin, which appears to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. The upshot of their encounter was that the spirit linked to the building is seriously annoyed with the log house being used as Angus MacRae’s trapper’s cabin. I’m unclear as to what use the specter wanted the log structure put instead. In addition to the bone-chilling Trapper’s Cabin conversation, a strange flash of light was witnessed Saturday evening on the staircase landing of the Campbell Barn. I’m told Bytown Paranormal will continue to investigate next season at the museum.

Welcome back, Tilker

Dunvegan East resident, Jim Tilker, returned last Saturday from a ten-day whirlwind trip to Long Beach, California. Jim was there visiting with his daughter Kate and her husband Zack. Almost from the instant he deplaned in LA, Jim was kept hopping with an itinerary that included a re-introduction to sailing on the Pacific Ocean. This time he got to take the helm on a 34-foot (or maybe that was a 43-foot) yacht. “Buried the port rail and hit eight knots, have never sailed a boat big enough to do that speed before,” Jim reported after returning to dry land. He also toured the Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach. And, my personal favourite, he got to dine at In-N-Out Burger. I got addicted to their carnivorous version of the Double-Double when our daughter Ursula lived there for three years. Although, to be fair, it only takes one or two hits of their secret sauce before you’re hooked. Upon his return, Jim told me that Kate and Zack “made it a happy exhausting adventure.” However, he admitted it was “a comfort to be home.”

Pop art horror

It’s interesting that none of us who attended Friday night’s screening of The Shiningat the DRA Hall had seen the film before. When the credits rolled after two hours and forty minutes, all of us agreed that the three shout-out stars were: Jack Nicholsonand his elastic face; five-year-old Danny Lloyd who played his on-screen son; and the largest, most complex formal garden maze I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, Shelley Duvall’s performance was so wooden I worried someone would toss her into one of the resort’s huge walk-in fireplaces.

Not strictly a “horror” film, the scariest part of The Shiningwas the sacrilege the resort’s real owners inflicted during the 1970s when they modernized the interior of the 19thcentury structure. I almost cried to see the desecration the interior design hacks wrought when they installed pop art wall-to-wall carpeting, replaced solid wooden doors with soulless hollow ones and substituted cheap, modern knobsets for the original solid brass doorknobs and locks. Oh, the humanity.

 Don’t bury these treasure

As is no doubt reported elsewhere in this issue, Sunday’s Treasures of Glengarryexhibit put on by the Glengarry County Archives was a huge success. At times the crowds were so thick, one’s only hope of gaining access to the historic document reproductions on display was a willingness to use one’s elbows.

Curated by county archivist Allan MacDonald and an amazing team of volunteers, the exhibition reflected virtually every corner of Glengarry from the stately stone 1817 Fraserfield house to the 1897 Orange Day parade in Dunvegan. In reality, with a total of 74 items, the showcase was far too much to absorb in one visit. Especially given Sunday’s crowds.

That’s why I hope the Glengarry County Archives gives serious consideration to putting the exhibition on-line so people can peruse it at their leisure. I may be mistaken, but the bulk of the work has already been done: selecting the items, digitizing them and researching and writing the descriptions. The logical next step is to share these treasures with the rest of Glengarry, and the world.