The Third Ghost at Artists Book House

A murder of crows on the main staircase of Harley Clarke’s mansion. Credit: Gay Riseborough

Artists Book House (ABH) opened its third Halloween show, “A House, Haunted,” at Harley Clarke’s mansion on October 1. Note that it is not called “A Haunted House”. That’s because this isn’t your typical haunted house experience, with sounds of chainsaws, screams, and people jumping up and down to scare you.

This haunted house is meant to be “cheerful, fun, and engaging all season long.” it’s a halloween destination, like Zoo Lights and the Botanical Gardens,” said Jamie Thome, an Evanston-based artist and writer and ABH board member. October 1 was the “soft launch”, with other “A haunted house” live events on the ABH website at the same time.

Halloween is fast becoming Americans’ favorite holiday for decorations, second only to Christmas, according to national surveys. It’s a not-too-serious holiday, giving kids, and even adults, a chance to dress up in imaginative costumes, engage in silly games, and practice mischievous behavior. A tradition and an opportunity to tell spooky stories.

The house at 2603 Sheridan Road will be open from 11 am to 4 pm every Saturday and Sunday in October. There is no entrance fee, although donations are welcome. Visitors can tour the designated areas (excluding the basement) for a self-guided tour of the facilities and vignettes throughout the house. There may be projections and soft sound effects in some rooms.

The owner of the gift shop at the Artists Book House? Credit: Gay Riseborough

A pop-up gift shop is now open, with books by founder Audrey Niffenegger and other funky offerings. The windows will be decorated by artists and backlit, making for a fun evening stroll.

Spiritualism was very popular in the 19th century: the belief that the spirits of the dead can communicate with the living, especially through a human medium in a session. In the house this Halloween is an interactive “Spirit Cabinet,” complete with spirit “trumpets” by artist Margot McMahon and artist/writer Ken Gerleve.

See also  Should you wait to see if house prices fall before you buy?

Gerleve, who is ABH’s board treasurer, has created another interactive installation, “The Wheel of Misfortune,” with artist Linda Scholly. It’s based on a story he wrote, available on the ABH website.

Evanston artists Jamie Thome and Vanessa Filly are doing a “secret” closet installation together. Vignettes are seen throughout the mansion, especially on the second and third floors. Melissa Jay Craig has a whole room. There’s even an animated wallpaper.