Click Here To Return To Table Of Contents



The "Magic" of Something From Nothing in Building Your Haunted Attraction:(50 years of doing it, sort of.)

Money! Everybody has some of it, everybody needs more of it, and I've never quite had enough of it. I have always done things pretty much for myself, for the satisfaction , and out of necessity.

I have a family background of people that always had tools in their grip (versus gripping a plow behind a horse, or simply griping onto the chair as it seems to be spinning around in ferocious circles!?) At the ripe old age of three , my parents thought that it would be cute to give little"Jimmy" his own little tool kit of screwdrivers, "cute" until all of the door stops previously screwed into the hardwood floor of the front room were gone and the front door of the house was ready to fall because no screws were left in its hinges! How a three-year-old sitting there "picking" weakly with a small screwdriver could have accomplished this was something nobody could figure out, but I had the" Time", I guess? (Like water dripping on a rock, ..eventually...) So, I guess that I've been "screwy" since birth! My first "Haunted House", at a very young age ,was in my parent's basement("Go down to the basement, and leave our front room alone! And be sure to take your screwdrivers with you!")

I was still trying to buy my present house when a farmer asked me if I would like to tear down a farmhouse he was clearing from his land? I spent alot of time, and had the use of a pick-up truck and I ended up with a fair-sized pile of some really excellent wood. I had to hand-saw alot of it to start it out(floor boards)because the closest electricity was miles away, and I invested alot of time(and dirt in the face) getting out the ceiling 2 by 4's only to discover they were of oak and no nail could penetrate this wood!(but they were long, and thick! Old measurement of a 2 by 4) This is called "sweat equity", I couldn't convince any banker that this "equity" was bankable, but I proved them wrong. I then had some other people give me piles of lumber, all I had to do was load it and take it away! Many saw blades get dull fast trimming away the bad parts of this wood, it's the "dirt" that wears the blade , almost as much as the old cast-iron nail you hit! I went to the Thursday night junk auction they used to have, and I'd wait till the end of the night and sometimes get a whole truckload of "Mystery" boxes for an investment of ten dollars. My house was built in 1870, so I was decorating it in the style called Early-Americana-Kitcsh (meaning old ,odd-ball stuff nobody wants anymore!) Now people see similar collections in local "antique" malls! Once the word got out that I was building props and displays from old junk, people began thinking of me before they pitched anything, it was a good thing I had a big yard at that time. I would come out to meet the morning to find almost anything in my yard, gravity would help them, the parking lot is higher than my yard! Alot of this eventually got thrown away, and this involved some work and expense on my part.

I basically have no residential neighbors to complain about any junk I may have been sorting through in my yard and my business neighbors are all across the parking lot with their backs to me(backs of their buildings, that is.) If I was located along the highway or "Heaven Forbid" in a residential area, this couldn't happen, this is behind the downtown store buildings and zoned commercial, I was told I could even get a liquor license if I wanted one!! (No thanks!) So here I am in the world's poorest location for a tourist business, hidden away in a small town that's located next to nothing and no where, just the place that I would personally expect to find a real haunted house!

Some people have given me Halloween masks that were pretty good! ("Good" enough for someone to steal it right off a mannequin in my front room!) Soon I will be building some 1890 furniture to fill an upstairs bedroom with, I already have some of the component parts, so this will make it alot easier. I have the top to an old Victrola(the hardest part to make with it's swoopy lines, all wood) I have the keyboard for an organ(1963 Hammond)I can easily erect those massive organ pipes from a collection of pvc conduit scraps my neighbor throws out. I have an antique-style headboard created by my previous neighbor, an ornamental blacksmith(this was one rare time the customer didn't pay him in advance, then never paid, so he gave it to me! There are even little skulls in the steel work on it! All of these items when finished ,will do little movement -things(I'm "Haunting", remember!) and to make this happen, I will be building them with hidden steel-welded frameworks to give me attachment points for the pnuematics and hinges. I believe that display items have to built to take a punch(or kick), and if the rowdy customer hurts their hand from punching something? Oh well?

A few years ago at a tavern 30 miles from here, a guy would come in the tavern once a month, go to the restroom and punch a hole in the plaster board wall right above the urinal. They would fix it, he'd be back in a month, and punch a hole in the wall again! The last time he punched the wall, a 2 by 4 header was waiting for his fist that just so happened to have alot of spikes sticking out of it! The "Puncher" sued the Tavern, the judge heard the case and threw it out! "You ain't supposed to be punching people's walls!" Sometimes there is "Justice"!

One very good incidental advantage about building displays from "Junk", is that nobody else's haunted house will be able to have the exact same item in theirs! Items donated to my house have sometimes been recognized by their former owners, the strangest time was when a couple recognized their old toilet! (This toilet looks very much like a whole lot of other toilets, maybe it spoke to them? "Hi Bob, you A-Hole!") Their toilet hangs upside down from my ceiling, you wouldn't think they would recognize it from this angle? I say the toilet is for people who have to throw-up or who drink light beer!

I just got an e-mail from an art teacher who wants to bring here class through my haunted house for the stimulation of my art! The teacher was here last summer and sounds like a new fan. "Fans" seek out things that they really want or want to do, this is how I can be successful with the wold's poorest location! (or at least "poorest" according to the common thinking.)

Well, I've sort of rambled a bit, I hope you found some enjoyment somewhere within.

Click Here To Return To Table Of Contents


Bookmark and Share