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Witches Den back for another year of scary surprises in Pictou

Beverly Underwood greets an old acquaintance inside the Witches Den.
Beverly Underwood greets an old acquaintance inside the Witches Den. - Kevin Adshade
PICTOU, N.S. —

The old brick building has been there for around 175 years, next to the Stella Maris church in Pictou.

It survived all those years, even when cold, howling winds blew off of the Pictou harbour on dark and stormy nights.

“This used to be where the priest lived, called the glebe house,” says Beverly Underwood.

“Now, it is where the witches come every Halloween, and they’re accompanied sometimes by other spooky creatures. This is The Witches Den.”

In the top floor of the glebe house is a space that is currently being rented out, while on the main floor, there is common area, with a kitchen, a living room and other space. The Star of the Sea Society, of which Underwood is a member, purchased this building several years ago.

“We’ve been fixing it up ever since we got it. Really, it was ready to be torn down,” says Underwood.

“We have lunches and we have card parties – we’re open to all suggestions.”

Beware the creatures of the night.
Beware the creatures of the night.

Inside the main floor, it is bright and welcoming but beneath it, in the dark, dank basement, is where the black magic takes place – where every Halloween, witches, goblins, skeletons and other scary critters gather for a frighteningly good time.

A few years ago, Underwood’s daughter Trina Joudrie thought it would be a perfect place to decorate for Halloween, and use it as a fundraiser for Star of the Sea Society.

“She’s changed it to some degree, so that it’s not the same every year.”

On this day, Underwood led a visitor through the dimly-lit and musty corridors in the basement, where every turn brings another scary surprise. Every clock in the rooms is ready to strike midnight, further conveying a sense of doom.

At one point, Underwood sits down at an old church organ near a room called the Raven’s Den and strikes a few notes, further adding to the other-worldly ambience.

You don’t have to be a kid to have your imagination run wild, taking you along with it.

In fact, she explains, sometimes the adults get spine-tingling thrills – perhaps more so than the youngsters.

“They enjoy it sometimes more than the kids,” she says with a laugh.

“They do more screeching and hollering than the kids do.”

The Witches Den will be held Oct. 24-26 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and on Oct. 26, from noon until 1 p.m. The latter session “is more for the faint of heart,” says Underwood.

Admission is $5 per person and visitors will be able to visit Kackle’s Kitchen for some treats – if they dare.

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