Address: 3481 Kingstown Rd.
City: West Kingston
They say the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston is haunted. Anyone who’s been there alone after dark immediately agrees. But this October, South County Rhode Island’s famous vampire, Mercy Brown, will host groups travelling through a blood-suffused Courthouse transformed into a lair of the “walking dead.”
Vampires will abound, things go bump in the night, and warm blood chill the soul . . . everywhere. Don’t get lost in the twists and turns of the midnight maze or bitten by the rabid undead. If a wall reconfigures and leaps to life, it’s time to move on. But if the flashlight gives out, well . . . have faith.
“I thought it would be a perfect event for us,” said Executive and Artistic Director Richard Ericson. “The Courthouse needs very little help to be scary, but we’ll take it over the top.”
Legendary consumptive Mercy Brown, interred in nearby Exeter, will tell stories of the legendary vampires of South County; guests will then be led through the subterranean passages of the Victorian building, stopping once again the bury the undead Mercy before proceeding to the Sange winery and then upstairs through Dracula’s castle.
The Haunted Courthouse was designed by 17-year-old New Yorker Asher Young, who’s turned a vacant Manhattan apartment into a haunted house every Halloween since he was eight. “With the help of my father, my first project had a surprise descending ceiling, and that was only the beginning,” Asher recalls. Every year since, he’s created different and more complex haunted experiences with driving rain, atmospheric lighting, howling wind and dark forests, all critical backdrops to scary theatrical stories. “Hundreds of children, teenagers, and adults have come through every year,” he says.
The Haunted Courthouse begins Sat. Oct. 6 and will be open to the public Tues. – Sun. 6-9 p.m. through Halloween. Groups of up to 10 will be admitted every 15-minutes on the quarter hour. Admission is $10 per person. The Courthouse is located at 3481 Kingstown Rd., West Kingston. For more information, call 401-782-1018 or visit www.courthousearts.org.