Terrifying tales told at Villa After Dark Saturday

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Things are about to get a little spooky. Take a tour, hear scary folklore, collect clues and solve a puzzle at the Villa After Dark event at Prairie du Chien’s Villa Louis Historic Site Saturday night, Oct. 26. (Submitted photo)

By Correne Martin

Follow a lamp-lit pathway through the Villa Louis mansion and other buildings and watch for scary sights along the way. Get vamped up for Halloween by attending Villa After Dark on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Take a self-guided tour through the grounds and be greeted by five aptly-dressed characters from Prairie du Chien’s past. They will be waiting inside five of the historic site’s buildings, including the rarely-opened blockhouse, with terrifying tales to tell. Stories will include folklore like the Loup-Garou (a French-Canadian werewolf legend) and the Wendigo (an Ojibwe legend) as well as true accounts like that of the murders at Fort Crawford, said Wisconsin Historical Society Southwest Sites Interpretation Manager Samantha Matern.

Purchase tickets inside the elevated visitor center, or in advance at villalouis.org. Tours will run at continuous intervals throughout the night, with the last one departing at 8:15 p.m. 

“You will be sent off collecting clues to complete a puzzle,” explained Sarah Hohlfeld, Villa Louis’ guest experience coordinator. “Those who turn in a completed sheet will get an extra prize.”

The first 100 guests will receive a charm at each stop, and a leather bracelet to wear them on. Candy will be given once those items run out. 

All guests are welcome to rest at the end of their journey with a bonfire and s’mores, Matern said.

Be sure to dress appropriately, in costume if so inclined, as there will be outdoor walking. Tours are expected to take between 30 and 45 minutes. 

Villa After Dark is intended for all ages, though minors must be accompanied by an adult. 

“This is different than any other events we’ve ever put on,” Hohlfeld said. “If people are looking for something spooky and new this Halloween, we hope they’ll check out Villa After Dark.”

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