There’s nothing like a pitch-black poplar bush to make you feel uneasy. Out in the middle of a Prairie pasture, miles from the closest town, it suddenly dawns on you that no matter how loud you scream… no one will hear.
Maybe it’s the vastness of the surrounding fields, or the denseness of the trees, or the utter isolation of the area. Maybe it’s the shadows cast by the moon, or the deafening quiet, or the complete suspension of time.
Whichever star aligns with whatever full moon on the Carry the Kettle Reservation each year, it creates a setting that can only be described as utterly terrifying. And apparently, terrifying is popular these days, as hundreds of visitors travel from miles around to attend the Thomson family’s annual Terror Trail walk and hayride each year.
The Terror Trail concept was initiated about 10 years ago by one of nine daughters of Bill and Cora Thomson. Brenda (nee Thomson) Stevenson decided that she and her husband should scare the daylights out of family members by leading them through a deserted pasture on the Thomson family farm located 100 kms east of Regina, Saskatchewan. The Halloween event was such a hit that it became a family tradition, turning into a public attraction in 2004.
The entire Thomson family gets in on the excitement, planning all year long for the annual Terror Trail event. The family’s matriarch, Cora, is in charge of sewing costumes, and at the age of 80, she still ventures out to the trail to scare unsuspecting victims.
It takes hundreds of hours to cut the two-km-long trail through the bush, and thousands of dollars are spent on props, lighting, sound effects and intricate sets. The overall atmosphere is one of being in the middle of a horror movie, with no director present to call “cut,” unless of course “cut” is referring to a slash from a chainsaw.
Approximately 40 ghosts, goblins and ghouls haunt the Terror Trail, jumping out from behind trees, chasing victims with “chainless” chainsaws and rising up from graves. Due to the immense popularity of the Terror Trail, six to eight nights of scaring are typically booked from 6 p. m. to midnight. The Thomsons charge $10 per visit, with all funds being donated to community causes.
For more information on this year’s Terror Trail, call Cora at (306) 727-4512.
Christalee Froese writes from Montmartre, Saskatchewan