Spirits Rising at Fort Adams

The haunted house raises money for the homeless.
Photograph by Chris Vaccaro

Spirits Rising at Fort Adams

James Smith isn’t a real zombie. (We promise. It’s just makeup.) In truth, he’s a saint in disguise: Smith is a volunteer actor for Haunts for the Homeless, a charitable organization that uses funds raised during the scaring season for good. The organization’s aptly named haunt, Spirits Rising, opens at Fort Adams’ Fortress of Nightmares in Newport this month. Proceeds support outreach programs and fill-a-backpack projects for people in need. “The Fort enjoys building relationships with the community, especially other local nonprofit organizations,” says Fortress of Nightmares director Dave Prata. “We were happy to provide space to Haunts for the Homeless so they can get their message out about homelessness.” Haunts for the Homeless CEO Jef Benson, an entertainment tech at Mohegan Sun and a skilled artist who airbrushed Smith’s makeup, knows firsthand what it means to need your spirits raised. “I was homeless myself,” Benson says. “I was an addict and I lost everything. In 2006, I got clean, straightened my life out and now I want to give back.” fortressofnightmares.com