Haunts In The Nineties

1991-1992.  PHANTOM OF THE MIDLAND THEATER, Kansas City, Missouri

Set Designer, Construction, Actor

The haunt I helped create in the historic Midland Theater remains one of my favorites. It was certainly the grandest. You know the signs at the front of haunted attractions that warns about not entering if you’re pregnant or have a heart condition? You should heed their warnings.  The first season of The Phantom a man suffered a heart attack within the haunt. And the second year a woman went into labor. The fear of liabilities probably had something to do with the Theater League deciding not to have a third season. I wish I had more pictures of the haunt. I do have a video tape of it all that I’ll see if I can’t get it converted into a format that I can post.

1992.  AVONDALE BAPTIST CHURCH SPOOK HOUSE, Avondale, MO

Designer, Organizer

Another church, of all places, for a haunted house. One of the actors I was working with at The Phantom of the Midland asked if I was interested in setting up a charity Haunted House for children in the basement of the church for one night only. There were six rooms along a hallway that could be used to set up scenes. Again, there could not be any gore and it was to have a family friendly atmosphere. I devised a decaying living room and dining room, mad scientist lab, a witch’s lair, and Phantom’s organ loft. A strange young man set up a vampire’s casket room. He turned out to be my future haunted house collaborator and dear friend, John Kelley.

1993.  DR. DEADLY’S HAUNTED HOSPITAL, Kansas City, MO

Designer, Construction, Supervisor, Actor

Another fellow actor from The Phantom of the Midland contacted me about a friend of theirs planning to open a haunted house in an old abandoned hospital building.  The old stone structure still contained original gurneys and equipment from when it had served patients. It was by far one of the creepiest locations I had ever worked in.

1994.  THE BEAST, Kansas City, MO

Actor

When I showed up to apply for a position at “The Beast,” I already knew what part I was hoping to play. It was midway through the haunt where there is a scene designed to be a section of an London street where “Jack the Ripper” once roamed. I got the part and was shown the costume they had been using for the role. It was a flaming red, satin caped thing that appeared to be a cardinal’s outfit from Monty Python’s “Spanish Inquisition” sketch. Having played Jack before, I already had a more appropriate outfit of my own.

1998.  UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS HAUNTED HOUSE, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Organizer, Designer, Supervisor

After moving to Arkansas and returning to collage to finish a degree, another opportunity arose where I could ply my haunting trade. There was an old dormitory on the edge of campus that was abandoned and slated to be demolished. Recalling the haunt I created at Epperson House at the University of Missouri, I rallied support to make a similar haunted house in the old dormitory. The place was massive and I had plenty of volunteers. We set-up the haunt in two weeks for a four-day run up to Halloween. It’s only a memory now, resting in peace.

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