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Mike Bizub
03-10-2007, 12:02 PM
Does anyone have any info on the history of haunted houses? I searched the web and did not come up with much.. If you could tell me what are the longest running events in your part of the country and are they private or charity such as jaycees? Thanks for any help, Mike

Raycliff Manor
03-10-2007, 12:39 PM
You might contact http://www.dafe.org/ to see if they can help you out.

Kel

Barry
03-10-2007, 01:24 PM
Mike,

Awhile back I started to do some research on this with the intent of writing an article about it. The earliest I could find an example of what we would now call a haunted attraction was in Cincinnati around 1973 (I think) that was run by the Jaycees. The following year there was a presentation at the Jaycees national meeting on doing a haunted attraction as a fundraiser. It was after this that the charity haunt scene exploded.

My original intent for the article was what lead up to this and, in my opinion, there were a number of factors going back to the mirror mazes that have been around a long time, the "fun houses" from the early 1900's and, of course, the dark rides. Other factors could include the growth of television and horror shows, the horrow movies of the mid-70's, and more obscure things like the age of the baby-boom generation at that time.

I wish I had more time to look into this. Maybe down the road...

Jim Warfield
03-10-2007, 03:53 PM
The ancient Greeks (not "Geeks") had their maze in the dark with monsters awaiting you, Minitour, Medusa.
Most old european citys have extensive underground works full of scary passageways and hazards, man-made and natural.
For haunted houses to be extremely popular the population has to feel very safe and secure enough to enjoy the pretend fear. Many people from third-world countrys cannot relax enought to trully enjoy the activities as compared to the average USA citizen, this factor was a setback for improved attendence after 9-11, in my opinion.

Greg Chrise
03-10-2007, 08:58 PM
I made an attempt at an article here.

http://journals.aol.com/ghaunt1313/Vampire_Safari/entries/2007/01/26/haunted-attraction-history/1871

brad
03-11-2007, 12:30 AM
As far as haunts in the area... Dallas has quite a fe places. Verdun Manor is at about 20 years running now, and also Cutting Edge in Fort Worth is sitting at about 18 years running, or somewhere around there.

Gravely
03-11-2007, 01:57 AM
Do a search either on google or on myspace, for Baron Von Wolfenstein

He's the guy from cinncinnati that did the haunts way back. On all his blurbs he says he started the haunted attraction industry.

He goes to a lot of horror conventions. shouldn't be too tough to track down.
he seems nice and doesn't mind chatting.

here's his myspace address
MySpace URL:

http://www.myspace.com/baron_timotheus

hope that helps

Gravely
03-11-2007, 01:57 AM
Do a search either on google or on myspace, for Baron Von Wolfenstein

He's the guy from cinncinnati that did the haunts way back. On all his blurbs he says he started the haunted attraction industry.

He goes to a lot of horror conventions. shouldn't be too tough to track down.
he seems nice and doesn't mind chatting.

here's his myspace address
MySpace URL:

http://www.myspace.com/baron_timotheus

hope that helps

Barry
03-11-2007, 06:30 AM
Yes, he is the one that I was reading about. I think there was a radio station involved in that first haunt as well. Anyway, I tried to contact him when I was researching but never got a reply. It would be fun to get some info.

Funny Bones
03-11-2007, 06:58 AM
Mutilation Mansion in Madison Heights Michigan started in 1966 by the Madison Heights Jaycees, i was a member for years until it closed last year, it was the oldest running haunt in Michigan

Jim Warfield
03-11-2007, 09:41 AM
One of my "First-est, Bestest Fans" a Doctor, told me that the national JC's copied a charity haunt, maybe in San Antonio, using most of their ideas, putting them into a handbook, then nationally distributed.
It was a church-haunt, it had a perminent structure resembling an actual castle with towers, hunchbacks, live animals, an electric chair, he thought it was open pretty much year-round, they put on a good show suitable for all ages, specialising in throwing the actual scares at the adults in the group, sparing the children, but setting things up to look like the child was the one about to get zapped in the chair but all the adult's chairs buzzed instead!

Kevin Dells
03-11-2007, 07:45 PM
I was going to say what Barry said, it had to originate from the side show acts and Dark rides of the turn of the century.

If you google Dark Rdies a lot of really cool things come up, you could read for days about some of the re building projects alone of the Dark Rides.

Jim Warfield
03-11-2007, 10:15 PM
During a short time in the 1890's on Chicago's south side you could have a house tour of Herman Mudget's "Murder Mansion".
Herman was being held for multiple murders at the time, I don't know who exactly was pocketing the 25 cents admission fees?
That building was purposely built to be a prison-torture chamber-execution factory, maybe as many as 90 people died there at the hands of Herman.
The building was three stories high, had secret passages,gas chambers, mazes, a slide from the second floor to the basement acid vat (he sold skeletons to local colleges, they never asked any questions?)
So maybe the modern "Haunted House" had it's start right there, right then.
It was multi-storied, nobody ever found their way "out" (except as an exhibit) and nobody seems to be able to find it now?
The neighbors torched it, a US post office has been there ever since.

ISCAREU
03-11-2007, 11:19 PM
One of the longest running haunted houses has to be the Hudson Haunted house, located in Hudson Ohio just 40 minutes south of Cleveland.
going into there 35 season! Still ran by the Hudson Jaycees!

Mike Bizub
03-12-2007, 10:05 PM
This is all great stuff. Thanks again! Mike