Kids in Kenora can look forward to the return of the Mather-Walls Halloween Haunt later this month, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the Lake of the Woods Historical Society, Bonnie Gutknecht, says St. Thomas Aquinas High School students will be preparing the historic Keewatin home for the annual haunted house later this month.

“It’s Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. It’s $5 for each person, and we’d like to thank the T.A. Drama Department for helping us out!”

It’s recommended that children be accompanied by an adult. Entertainment for the faint of heart will take place in the outdoor gazebo.

The Halloween Haunt serves as one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Lake of the Woods Historical Society, and has been running for well over a decade now.

The Mather-Walls house was built in 1889 by owner of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company, John Mather. It was one of three identical houses – but the other two have undergone significant changes.

John Walls, a foreman at the mill, purchased the home in 1906 from the Mathers'. Edna Walls was the last person to live in the house before it was purchased by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1975. It was reopened in 1985 and is now operated by the Lake of the Woods Historical Society.

The house is said to be haunted by many former employees and volunteers. Some say that three spirits live within the home – John Mather, a small child, and a woman in a Victorian dress. Many have reported strange knocks, bumps and footsteps – as well as a potentially haunted piano.

The home was featured on an episode of Creepy Canada in 2014 and an episode of Dark History in 2015. The heritage society invited psychics and paranormal investigators to the home in 2009 and 2015, and a senior member of the church has performed an exorcism within its walls.

As well, a few Beaver Brae Secondary School students were asked to leave the premises after bringing a Ouija board up to the second floor, after 2013’s Halloween Haunt… Sorry about that! – Ryan.