My Story

I remember my first real Haunted Attraction when I was 16. Scared out of my mind! The old Liberty Theater. An abandoned theater built in the early 1900’s. Solid red brick construction with weathered white Jester faces staring down at me. They seemed to be laughing at my foolishness of being scared. The windows were all broken and the J.C’s had left the old candy trapped in the dusty display cases. The odor of mildew and coldness crept from beneath the heavy crimson drapes that divided the theater. I could feel history all around me as I was pushed deeper into the belly of the beast. I could feel my pulse in my throat- I knew I was going to die…

…after many Haunted Attractions later and growing wiser through the years, I decided that this was who I wanted to be when I grew up. I feel excited when I talk about scaring people. I turn on tunnel vision when I am acting, building, or writing. I am always teaching myself new ways of discovering the world around me. If the topic has anything to do with haunting, scary, or different…my ears usually perk up.

My first experience with scaring the crap out of people was unique. My cousin and I would deck out my upstairs bedroom of my parents 100-year-old house and force my brother and his brother to go through. I know…a bit mean but what else are you supposed to do with little brothers? They always liked dares anyway. We would make dummies out of stuffed t-shirts and wigs. Create our animatronics with a rocking chair and a shoe string. And projected shadows on the wall with a flashlight and action figures. After watching our little victims scream I knew that scaring people was in my blood.

Everyone got smart and stopped going through our haunted bedroom. No matter how much we pleaded. I lost that battle and began to fantasize about being a successful special effects wizard or a top mask maker. I rushed to the grocery school to purchase the next issue of Fangoria Magazine on release day just to be the first one to smell the pages. I dreamed about anything related to horror and the family around it.

Fast forward about 20 years and here I am. I graduated high school, served 5 years in the United States Navy Seabees, and now I am a letter carrier in Missouri. I was reaquainted with my childhood passion when I received the opportunity to act at my first real haunted attraction 6 years ago. It has been a raging fire since. I acted for 3 years at 13 Houses of Horror in Hatton,Missouri. Then my brother and I built and operated BackWoods Terror in Centralia, Missouri for 2 years. Last year I decided that I would not have the time to operate a pro-haunt so I took my creativity and decided to pimp out my garage. That was fun too! I have always liked creating my own props and sets because it gives me a way to support my ‘picking shit up out of the trash’ habit, as my wife calls it. Sometimes I feel like a borderline hoarder…

I will continue to keep posting all my new ideas, thoughts, and useful information on my blog. If anyone is interested in guest posting on my blog or would like for me to contribute to their site- contact me. I am that overly passionate type (or some call it OCD) that is always trying to improve or teach myself something new. As long as I am excited about Haunting then all my posts will be the same way. I do not want to feel like this is a job because I always want to keep this stuff fun.

I want my mission to be about educating you about my view on topics in this small but enormous tribe called the Haunt Community. I want to provide entertainment for the first time home haunters to the veteran mentors like Ben Armstrong. I will include interviews with top leaders, real-time action tips, and creative ideas to keep you on your game. Feel free to offer to guest post, offer ideas, and share current news that other haunters need to know. We are all united because we share a dark passion that a lot of others do not understand. So we tend to feel comfortable around other weird people who like to make scared people wet themselves. This is who we are. This is who I am…

Let me know who you are? Who are you that is reading my blog? If you made it this far then you must find something here that is interesting. If you want to support this post click that Share box. Comment on this post. Sign up to my RSS Feed. Or if you really enjoy my content take a few minutes to subscribe to my blog. I promise NO Spam and NO soliciting. Just my new weekly posts in your inbox.

This is how I feed my passion. How do you keep your haunting passion alive?

Other Website: http://hauntopic 





“The Darkness” Haunted Attraction Sued for Wrongful Death

I live only 110 miles from The Darkness and I created a post last month about it being one of the top haunts I’ve ever attended. Safety is always TOP priority when and even before you enter the doors. Larry Kirchner is a top-notch guy and definitely one of the leaders in the industry. I realize that legal matters are always an issue when owning a Haunted Attraction and even when you own a home haunt. If you get that one person who trips over an extension cord or gets bumped by an actor-they might just get pissed and want to sue you. This present matter is a bit more serious but I know for a fact that The Darkness has all safety information displayed for everyone to see. (This is an actual photo I took of the 10′  disclaimer sign outside the building this October). Here’s the video I made after I got back.

Larry Kirchner is the revolutionary leader behind HauntWorld Magazine, The Haunted House Association, The Darkness, Lemp Brewery, CreepyWorld, Halloween Productions Inc., and more website links than I can keep up with…how does he do it all? He has always opened his doors to experienced actors as well as the new zombie’s who wanted their first taste of blood. He is an innovator in this industry.

Here is the actual article from the St.Louis Post:

ST. LOUIS • Artificial fog and sickly scents pumped into a St. Louis haunted house attraction led to the death of an asthmatic teenager from Belleville, according to claims in a wrongful death suit filed this week.

Brittney Holmes, 15, visited The Darkness, in Soulard, on Halloween 2009 and died on Nov. 12, 2010, after spending a year in a vegetative state, said her father’s attorney, Samuel Wendt.

Brittney’s father, Durand Tyler of Anchorage, Alaska, filed the suit Tuesday in St. Louis Circuit Court against Halloween Productions Inc., which operated the attraction.

Brittney’s mother, Vanessa Neal of Belleville, already had filed a personal injury lawsuit in St. Louis in April. Tyler had known nothing of that suit until after his daughter’s death, and the cases may be consolidated, said Wendt, who practices in Kansas City.

Larry Kirchner, president of Halloween Productions, would not comment Wednesday. His attorney could not be reached.

Kirchner also is president of the Haunted House Association, a trade organization. Its website says, “Haunted houses and attractions are EXTREMELY safe due to tough safety and fire codes they must all now live by.” It continues, “The industry as a whole takes safety seriously and works together to solve common problems.”

Brittney had suffered from asthma since age 4 and was allergic to tree nuts, grass, dust, mildew and peanuts, according to documents in the personal injury suit file. The haunted house had posted several warning signs that people with respiratory problems should not go inside, those records show.

Tyler said Wednesday that his daughter suffered breathing problems in the car on the way home from the visit, and that by the time she reached a hospital, her brain had been deprived of oxygen for at least seven minutes.

His daughter’s medical bills were at least $1 million, and the suit was filed to financially protect his and Neal’s families, he said. “It’s just bad that she’s gone, whether it was from natural causes, we don’t know, but everything right now is stemming from being inside the haunted house,” he said.

VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN > 314-621-5804 | (80) Comments | Posted: Thursday, December 9, 2010 7:15 am

I contacted Larry on Facebook and he replied:

“The girl did NOT have an asthma attack at The Darkness, they already admit that, she had an asthma attack in Illinois. They are trying to say that because of the fog it caused a delayed reaction. Well a blood test was taken on the girl and she is NOT allergic to the fog. So that rules that out. They are also saying that we had no warning signs… well guess what? We had warnings on the tickets, ticket menu, on the website, 10 foot by 10 foot signs on the next to the door, and three more hanging from the ceiling in the que line. We did NOTHING WRONG and it’s an outrage they would blame us for a girl who had asthma and had an asthma attack in ILLINOIS!”-Larry Kirchner
  Simple ways to see what Larry’s up to:

So Haunters, make sure you have your attraction insurance, have a business attorney look over your forms, signs, and disclaimers, and keep up with safety classes at trade shows. Take every precaution to cover your ass and expect anything, but don’t be paranoid about customers out to get you. Most people are respectable and compliant with safety and rules-so get out there and design something! Stay safe Scarelings…