The victim, Mary Rogers, is at the front and centre of the events during the Poe-themed dinner for Cameryn’s Cause. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Poe-theme murder mystery supports Campbell River cause

Cameryn’s Cause has helped more than 300 families to date through fundraisers like Saturday’s event

UPDATED: With video

The evening was dark, even macabre, enough to leave a pit in your pendulum, as locals filled the Maritime Heritage Centre Saturday night in an Edgar Allan Poe-inspired evening for a cause.

Most on hand were donning black and red formal attire, with a few wearing steampunk-inspired outfits.

The event was the latest fundraiser for Cameryn’s Cause, and the organizers decided to hold a Halloween-themed dinner, put on by Quay West, complete with murder mystery, along with a silent auction.

Cameryn’s Cause supports local families with children facing a life-threatening illness or injury and also helps families with expenses when a child passes away.

This event was a little different than most of their fundraisers, Cameryn’s Cause president Shaylene Harris concedes.

“It’s an Edgar Allan Poe-Victoria theme evening of intrigue,” she said. “People are in period dress.”

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At the start of the event, she said there would be unexpected entertainment for the evening, as the guests would soon find out there was to be a mystery, one that had gone unsolved for more than a century.

“It’ll be a murder mystery unfolding as our guests eat, a little bit different than our normal entertainment,” she said.

She admitted she purposely did not find out who the culprit was in order to take part in the festivities, as guests had to work together to crack the case.

“I think it should be very interesting to see,” she said. “Everybody here will have to help figure out whodunnit.”

As the food came out, so did the actors to interpret some of the events around the 1841 death of Mary Rogers, whose death remains unexplained and also inspired Poe to write “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

Cameryn’s Cause had taken the year off from these kinds of large-scale events in order to focus on supporting their families as well as increasing the group’s profile in the community.

“We found out the more we did that, we actually needed to step up the fundraising because the requests for funding were pouring in,” Harris said. “We had to quickly come up with something just a little bit different than normal.”

The planning started in the summer, and the event ended up selling out quickly.

“The community’s been wonderful and have always been behind us,” she said.

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Harris founded the organization in memory of her daughter Cameryn, and to date has helped over 300 families, as she adds that this year alone they have helped double the normal number of families.

This has included giving more than $35,000 as of the beginning of October.

“The need is definitely there,” she said. “Our families … are finding us, and we need to be able to help these families when they really need it most.”

 

The guests had to help go through the clues of the case of the murder of Mary Rogers. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror