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
quite had enough of it.
I have always done things pretty much for myself, for the
and out of necessity.
I have a family background of people that always had tools in their
(versus gripping a plow behind a horse, or simply griping onto the
it seems to be spinning around in ferocious circles!?)
At the ripe old age of three , my parents thought that it would be
give little"Jimmy" his own little tool kit of screwdrivers, "cute"
of the door stops previously screwed into the hardwood floor of the
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
out, but I had the" Time", I guess? (Like water dripping on a rock,
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
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
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
the face) getting out the ceiling 2 by 4's only to discover they were
and no nail could penetrate this wood!(but they were long, and thick!
measurement of a 2 by 4)
This is called "sweat equity", I couldn't convince any banker that
"equity" was bankable, but I proved them wrong.
I then had some other people give me piles of lumber, all I had to do
load it and take it away!
Many saw blades get dull fast trimming away the bad parts of this
it's the "dirt" that wears the blade , almost as much as the old
nail you hit!
I went to the Thursday night junk auction they used to have, and I'd
till the end of the night and sometimes get a whole truckload of
boxes for an investment of ten dollars. My house was built in 1870, so
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
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
find almost anything in my yard, gravity would help them, the parking
higher than my yard!
Alot of this eventually got thrown away, and this involved some work
expense on my part.
I basically have no residential neighbors to complain about any junk I
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,
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
zoned commercial, I was told I could even get a liquor license if I
one!! (No thanks!)
So here I am in the world's poorest location for a tourist business,
away in a small town that's located next to nothing and no where, just
place that I would personally expect to find a real haunted house!
Some people have given me Halloween masks that were pretty 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
with, I already have some of the component parts, so this will make it
I have the top to an old Victrola(the hardest part to make with it's
lines, all wood)
I have the keyboard for an organ(1963 Hammond)I can easily erect
massive organ pipes from a collection of pvc conduit scraps my neighbor
I have an antique-style headboard created by my previous neighbor, an
ornamental blacksmith(this was one rare time the customer didn't pay
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
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),
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
tavern once a month, go to the restroom and punch a hole in the
wall right above the urinal.
They would fix it, he'd be back in a month, and punch a hole in the
The last time he punched the wall, a 2 by 4 header was waiting for his
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
"You ain't supposed to be punching people's walls!" Sometimes there is
One very good incidental advantage about building displays from
that nobody else's haunted house will be able to have the exact same
Items donated to my house have sometimes been recognized by their
owners, the strangest time was when a couple recognized their old
(This toilet looks very much like a whole lot of other toilets, maybe
spoke to them? "Hi Bob, you A-Hole!")
Their toilet hangs upside down from my ceiling, you wouldn't think
would recognize it from this angle?
I say the toilet is for people who have to throw-up or who drink light
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
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
poorest location! (or at least "poorest" according to the common
Well, I've sort of rambled a bit, I hope you found some enjoyment
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