STONEY NAKODA – It is not everyday you have the chance to visit a real haunted house.
But that is exactly the opportunity Daxter Amos is offering southern Alberta, as he opened his Morley Fright House to the public for the fifth year in a row.
“It never seemed right to live here,” Amos explained sitting around the fire pit outside the abandoned home, located two kilometres south of the Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino.
Setting up for the public the weekend before the Fright House officially opened, Amos sat down with the Outlook explaining how the once family home became the perfect abandoned house to host real horrors.
“There has been a lot of haunted activity – we think it might be on ancient burial grounds,” Amos said.
Telling the story about when the area was first developed, Amos gestured towards the fence explaining how his ancestors found what they thought to be graves when trying to install fence posts.
“Families that live here, don’t live here long,” he said.
The last family that lived in the house were his grandparents in the 1990s before a new house became available for them to live in and the home became completely abandoned, leaving much of the original furniture, knick knacks and potential ghosts.
“Chairs would move on their own, people would hear footsteps in the basement, and there are lots of stories of hearing a little girl whispering in the laundry room,” Amos said.
While gaining attention in recent years – bringing in more than 900 guests last year – the Fright House founder explained hosting a haunted house on the location has been a tradition for more than two decades, initiated by his uncles in the late '90s.
“It used to be a Halloween celebration in the barn where people got together,” he said.
Now Amos and his team work together for months before the official opening in October to ensure every scare is perfect.
“I have a great team to help put it together, we have a script and rehearsal and routine to bring the past experiences to life,” he said.
Not wanting to give too much of the Fright House surprise away, Amos went through the house pointing to objects and furniture telling the tales of the haunted house on Highway 40.
“The last five years have been open to the public and it’s been great to share the experience ... and have a unique attraction targeted to older crowds … the Fright House puts this area back on the map,” he said.
Over the last couple of years, the Fright House team learned how to incorporate the original history of the home while also adding creative ways to trigger people’s phobias.
Last year the theme was witchcraft, the year before was exorcism – this year the haunted house is a Salem’s Hostel theme, loosely inspired by The Lost Boys.
“It’s fun making this stuff – Halloween is my favourite time of the year,” Amos said.
So how does it feel to host an annual haunted house in real haunted house?
Amos said he doesn’t get spooked.
Inviting ghost hunters through the abandoned home several years ago, Amos said hunters explained there are ghosts that come through the home, but they are “friendly ghosts.”
“When it gets dark outside, the house comes to life.”
The Morley Fright House had the opening night at the beginning of the month with tours offered every weekend.
If you are not into being extremely scared, the organizers are hosting a family friendly night on Oct. 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Otherwise the true scares are recommended for ages 11 and up and will be hosted every Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. leading up to Halloween with tickets available online.
For more information visit the Morley Fright House Facebook page.