And that’s a wrap on Esther Fest 2023!!!
We want to take a moment to thank everyone who worked so hard to make Esther Fest such a great success this year. Thank you to the Town of Amherst, NS and the Amherst Downtown Business Association for all their support, as well as the many volunteers who attended months of meetings and then worked at the events.
Thank you to the actors, presenters, psychic readers, story tellers etc. who were such an important part of the Festival. Shout out as well to the local people, businesses and organizations who loaned equipment and let us use their spaces, as well as the groups who added their own events to our list of activities.
We were lucky to partner with so many wonderful people! And finally we have to thank all of you who showed up and supported the following events: The Scarecrow Stroll, The Great Amherst Ghost Walk, Campfire Ghost Stories and Witch Dance, Paranormal Conference, Ghost Hunt with Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation, The Great Amherst Halloween Ball, Guilty! The Story of the Great Amherst Mystery – A Staged Reading, SHIVERS – Three Supernatural Tales of Tantramar by Andrew Ennals, The Great Amherst Scarefest, Ghost Hunt with ParaSight, CANU’s Great Amherst Escape Room, Halloween Drag Show at Teazer’s Pub, Scary Movies at the Amherst Theatre, The Lockyer Family Haunted House, Psychic Fair.
We had a blast! Here’s to Esther Fest 2024!
Oh, and Happy Halloween!
Esther Fest – October 17-30, 2023
• Oct 17-30
Celebrate the fall season with a road trip to Amherst for our annual Scarecrow Stroll! Tour our town to see one-of-a-kind scarecrows displayed by participating Amherst shops, restaurants, businesses and community groups, during regular business hours.
Send in your selfies with a Scarecrow for a chance to win prizes at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Great Amherst Ghost Walk
• Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Oct. 17-26 – 6-7 p.m.
Join Charlie Rhindress on a walk through downtown Amherst to hear about the town’s haunted history, including the story of The Great Amherst Mystery.
Free, but registration is required. Limit of 20 per walk
Email: email@example.com or call 902-694-2667
PLEASE NOTE: This event has already filled up and no spaces are available.
Esther Fest Trivia Night
• Presented by Red’s Apron – 85 Victoria St. East, Amherst
• Thursday, Oct. 19 – 6 p.m.
$80 for a team of 4 – includes trivia snacks for the table
Limited number of tables available
Message “Red’s Apron Meals to Go” on Facebook to register
Campfire Ghost Stories and Witch Dance
• Friday, Oct. 20 – 6:15-7:30 – Victoria Square, 60 Victoria St., E., Amherst
Gather ‘round the campfire to hear submitted local ghost stories read aloud by host Charlie Rhindress and feel free to share your own. Bring a ghost story, as well as a chair or a blanket to sit on.
The event will start with a Witch Dance featuring witches from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
The Witch Dance started in Germany in 2016 when the women of the Wolfshäger Hexenbrut (The Wolf Hunter’s Coven) performed a flash mob-styled dance at a Walpurgis celebration. Walpurgis is a German holiday that celebrates fertility, normally accompanied with dancing, food, and drinking every year. It is considered by many to be Germany’s second Halloween.
The Dance was posted and quickly went viral. Since 2016 the Witches Dance Movement has grown and there are now groups all over the World. In October 2022 a group of 19 witches…7 Sea Hags flew in from Easter Passage Nova Scotia, 5 BB’s (border bitches) boogied on over from Amherst, and 7 Sacred Sisters sashayed across the marsh from Tantramar… and together they danced and laughed in the wind at Fort Beausejour. They danced earlier in October in Eastern Passage with almost a hundred witches aif all ages and sizes! We are thrilled to have them at Esther Fest.
• Saturday, Oct. 21 – 1-5 p.m.
• CCUBIC, 5 Ratchford St..
Three presentations from acclaimed authors discussing the Great Amherst Mystery and the paranormal in general, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.
1 p.m. – Esther Cox Beyond The Great Amherst Mystery.
Laurie Glenn Norris, co-author of Haunted Girl, and Charlie Rhindress, writer of the play Guilty! The Story of the Great Amherst Mystery, will shed new light on the life of Esther Cox and the truth behind The Great Amherst Mystery.
2 p.m. – Are Ghosts Extinct? – presented by Darryll Walsh
Darryll Walsh is a respected parapsychologist and writer. He has written three books on folklore and the supernatural in Canada, including the very popular, Ghosts of Nova Scotia. He was the host and narrator of the 13 episode paranormal television series Shadow Hunter and has also researched, written or produced documentaries and television series including, Zombie Mania, Pretty Bloody, Bigfoot’s Reflection, and City of the Dead: Halifax and the Titanic Disaster.
In his presentation, Are Ghosts Extinct, Walsh acknowledges that Nova Scotia is known for its rich history, and many haunted locations, but asks if modern times have changed ghosts? The classical ghost seems to have vanished and is rarely seen in our busy modern world. Whereas once a ghost would appear dramatically, they now seem to only be experienced via a digital readout. Have we lost something poignant and romantic in our digital haste?
3 p.m. – Esther Cox Revisited: A Parapsychological Analysis of the Great Amherst Mystery presented by Elliott Van Dusen.
Elliott Van Dusen is a retired RCMP Corporal with 15 years of service. He currently serves as the Director of Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation and holds multiple educational credentials, including a doctorate in parapsychology. His work in the field of parapsychology has been featured in various media outlets like the Discovery Channel and the History Channel’s series “Repossessed.” Elliott is also an accomplished author, with three published books on topics ranging from hauntings to true paranormal encounters in law enforcement. His expertise combines a unique blend of criminological and parapsychological perspectives.
In this presentation, Van Dusen will explore the case of Esther Cox using scientific inquiry. We invite you to revisit this 19th-century enigma as it undergoes re-evaluation through the lens of modern-day understanding in recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis and the field of parapsychological science.
4 p.m. – Panel discussion with all four guest speakers, including a Q&A
$30 Pass for all four sessions available at Maritime Mosaic, 129 Victoria St., Amherst, (cash or cheque only), or call (902) 441-7641 to purchase with credit card, or buy online HERE
Pending availability tickets may be available for individual presentations at the door on the day of the event for $10 each.
Great Amherst Street Party and Vendor Market
• Saturday, Oct. 21 – 1-4 p.m. – Victoria Square
Live Music, Food, Wagon Rides, Bouncy Castles, a Petting Zoo, a Vendor Market and more!
Ghost Hunt with Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation
• Saturday, Oct. 21 – 6:30-9:30 p.m.
• Cumberland County Museum, 150 Church St., Amherst
Join Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation for an exhilarating ghost hunt on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Limited to just 12 participants, this exclusive event will give you hands-on experience with cutting-edge paranormal investigation equipment. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to become a ghost hunter for the night!
Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation (PPRI) is a registered non-profit organization founded in Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 1997 and now serving both Atlantic Canada and the New England area of the United States. With a mission to conduct ethical and scientific parapsychological investigations, the organization contributes valuable research to the scientific community and offers fact-based educational resources to the public. PPRI comprises a dedicated team of subject matter experts, offering a diverse range of academic and professional insights into the world of the paranormal.
The Great Amherst Halloween Ball
• Saturday, October 21st – 9pm -1am
• Travelodge, 1539 Southampton Rd, Amherst
• Music by everyone’s favourite: DJ Dave
The one Halloween Costume party you don’t want to miss! Grab your friends, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready for a hauntingly good time.
Limited tickets available!
$20 Advance or $25 at the door.
Can be purchased at Maritime Mosaic, 129 Victoria St, Amherst
Must be 19 yrs. of age to attend.
Government ID is checked at the door and may be requested at the bar. Bags may be checked – no outside drinks are allowed
Event includes costume prizes for:
– 1st, 2nd and 3rd best costumes of the evening
– Other chances to win prizes that you won’t want to miss!
**We ask that people drink responsibly and if anyone needs a cab or a ride home to find an event volunteer to help. Discount Room Rates Available
Guilty! The Story of the Great Amherst Mystery
A Staged Reading
• Monday, Oct. 23 – 7-9 p.m.
• CCUBIC, 5 Ratchford St., Amherst
Charlie Rhindress’s hit play, based on a true story, has not been staged locally in over 30 years. Next year we hope to offer a full production, but for this year you can hear the play read aloud by a talented group of local actors. You won’t want to miss this frightening account of the Great Amherst Mystery, a story that has been called “one of the best documented poltergeist cases of all time.”“Rhindress’s storytelling style and use of theatrical conventions (make for a) thought provoking and entertaining evening.” – Dale Fawthrop, Amherst Daily News
“…a polished and compelling staging of local history which the community has rewarded with sold out houses.” – Theatrum, Canada’s National Theatre Magazine
Admission by donation at the door.
Tickets can be reserved by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (902) 441-7641.
SHIVERS, Three Supernatural Tales of Tantramar
by Andrew Ennals
An abandoned fiddle comes to life. Mysterious ghosts haunt a group of university students. And a long-lost legend emerges from the foggy Tantramar Marsh more terrifying than ever.
In Live Bait Theatre’s world premiere of SHIVERS: 3 Tales of Supernatural Tantramar by Andrew Ennals, three of the area’s many spooky stories are brought to the stage. Mixing humour with history and genuine scares, SHIVERS is a local treat just in time for Hallowe’en.
Tickets $25 – Available at Bargain Bennies, 21 Albion St., Amherst (cash or cheque only), or call (902) 441-7641 to purchase with credit card – or buy online HERE
The Great Amherst Scarefest
• Wednesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 26 – 6:30-9:30 p.m.
• Friday, Oct. 27 – 6:30 – 10 p.m.
• Saturday, Oct. 28 – 1-2:30 p.m. (Sensory Friendly)
• Saturday, Oct. 28 3-5:30 p.m. (Family Friendly)
• Sunday, Oct. 29 – 12-5 p.m.
• Monday, Oct. 30 – 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Super Extra Scary Finale)
Back for a 7th spooktacular year! Take a walk through one of the region’s best haunted mazes, if you dare!
50% of all proceeds are donated to local charities
Tickets $5 for teens and adults. $3 for 12 and under. Available at the door.
Ghost Hunt with ParaSight
• Thursday, Oct. 26 – 7-8:30 p.m. and 8:30-10 p.m. – Dayle’s Grand Market
• Friday, Oct. 27 – 7-8:30 p.m. and 8:30-10 p.m. – McIsaac Darragh Chartered Accountants (Basement). These offices are on Princess St., near where Esther’s home stood.
ParaSight is a local group of like minded individuals, with an interest in the paranormal, who have been doing business and residential investigations since 2020. The ParaSight team will explain their ghost hunting tools and techniques, then lead a scary investigation, looking for proof that ghosts really exist.
Each session is limited to 12 participants.
ALL SESSIONS ARE SOLD OUT
CANU’s Great Amherst Escape Room
• Thursday, Oct. 26 – Saturday, Oct. 28 – Afternoons and Evenings
• Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading, 21 Acadia St. 2nd floor, Amherst
CANU Escape? Book your slot now for CANU’s first escape room! You and your team will have 60 minutes to find clues, solve puzzles, and escape the CANU classrooms, which may or may not be haunted by the ghost of Esther Cox!
It is recommended that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult.
Maximum group size is 8
Please note: This event is now full but you can call (902) 661-0153 to be put on a waiting list.
Admission is free, but sign-up is required and time slots are limited!
If you are interested in helping create the escape room or just want to book a time slot to participate contact CANU at 902-661-0153
Halloween Drag Show
• Teazer’s Pub, 10 Gerard Ave., Amherst
• Friday, Oct. 27 – VIP Event – 6:30 p.m. Doors open – 7 p.m. Show starts – 8 p.m.
This 19+ Event features a scary, campy evening of entertainment and a costume contest.
Tickets $20 or $30 for VIP which includes a Meet and Greet and early access
Available by e-transfer (email@example.com) or at Ken’s Grocery Amherst
Scary Movies at the Amherst Theatre
• Amherst Theatre, 47 Church St, Amherst, NS B4H 3A7
• Friday, Oct 27 and Saturday Oct. 28 at 9:15 p.m. – The Rocky Horror Picture Show – $8.99 plus tax
• Saturday, October 28 – 9:30 – The Exorcist (1973) – $5 plus tax
Dress in costume is encouraged for both events and an interactive list of supplies you can bring for Rocky Horror will be posted on the Amherst Theatre Facebook page.
Tickets are available in advance online at amhersttheatre.ca
The Lockyer Family Haunted House
• Saturday, Oct. 28 – 6:30 pm-10 pm
• Sunday, Oct. 29 – 7-9 p.m.
• 168 Church St., Amherst
Come experience a haunted house you are not soon to forget! Designed and run by horror filmmaker Brian Lockyer and family! Walk through the house of fear and fright if you think you can make it all the way!
Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted – 50% of donations will be given to charity.
• Saturday, Oct. 28 – 12-5 p.m.
• Cumberland County Museum, 150 Church St., Amherst
Come out to see what the future has in store for you!
Featuring half a dozen palm and tarot card readers.
Prices and length of readings vary.
Register at the Museum on the day of the event.