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It was just 20 years ago his week

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  • Ghost write 13
    started a topic It was just 20 years ago his week

    It was just 20 years ago his week

    It was just twenty years ago come this Tuesday when the first headline appeared in the Telegram & Gazette newspaper. The caption read, "Showdown at Spooky World" it was the 16th of October, 1998. Throughout the days that remained in that month, another fifteen headlines, complete with accompanying stories would be printed in five separate newspapers which were all linked to the New England region. While most of those headlines were concise, a few clever ones would emerge from time to time, such as; "Town, park in halloween fright fight" or "Haunted house a ghost town." Though whether serious or satirical those headlines and their stories would outline the plight of "America's Horror Theme Park." Who's subsequent outcome makes this Tuesday the 20 year anniversary for what was the beginning of the end for the one time utopia of Halloween!





    What transpired during the days of October 1998, could only be described as surreal, town officials, sometimes discrete, sometimes with flanking fanfare would descend onto the grounds in a way that always seemed intrusive if not even a bit meddlesome. These bureaucrats had placed restrictions on the park that would require five out of its seven attractions to remain closed throughout the season, creating a feeling among the staff and guests alike that was a mix of confusion, dismay and disgruntlement. While the overall aura that seemed to loom across the grounds made it feel as if the property itself knew its eventual fate. The parks attempt to compromise was quickly curtailed by officials, leaving the park with limited options, one of which was to open what it could, while adding additional stage shows and actors to its Monster midway, or offer full refunds prior to entry, to anyone who had a pre-paid ticket and changed their minds.





    The only other option available was to head into court in the hopes that the injunction could be lifted by a magistrate! The proprietor of the park put out a request to the staff and cast members, asking all to attend the hearing in a show of solidarity and support. Unfortunately those proceedings didn't go as hoped, so on October 31st 1998 it would all come to an end. The roars of the chainsaws, the screams of the frightened and the smells of fried dough would waft no more through the crisp autumn night air over the grounds of what once was the old dairy farm that grew into the ultimate destination for hoards of Halloween fiends and fans. The place that once featured some of the most well recognized celebrities that were related to the horror genre, has sat dormant over these past twenty years, succumbing to time and neglect, as nature has reclaimed the hayride trail that I walked a thousand times. Today the hallowed grounds can be occasionally seen on a YouTube video posted by a trespassing urban explorer who will never know it or could begin to imagine its wonderment as I once had!





    The effect that the "Original Spooky World in Berlin Mass." had on the haunted attraction industry can't be denied, in so many ways it became the benchmark for haunts to follow. While it was once said that Spooky World Berlin was the poster child for carny hokum, I hope it will be remembered for more than that! Though not without its flaws, Spooky World Berlin seemed to be the embodiment of Halloween, and because of that, as well as for the yearly delight it regularly brought to the masses, I felt it was only right to acknowledge its last night in Berlin, which was twenty years ago this October 31st. Like every night prior, I followed that last wagon, dismissing my actors along the way as soon as the ride was out of sight, never knowing that it would be the very last ride on that trail for every one of us! So to all of you haunters, both indoors and out, who keep the haunting traditions alive, I say to you, Happy Halloween and I hope your season is one that is safe and successful and may your haunt be remembered decades from now, as fondly as I remember this one!

  • drfrightner
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  • drfrightner
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    I can't agree with you more... no haunted house has had a bigger impact on me than Spookyworld. I wish I had a huge plot of land so I could build my very own Spookyworld.

    Maybe someday!

    Larry

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