Welcome One and All!

For all you Halloween Fanatics....this will be a review and links site of the Best Haunted Houses in the country that my wife Lisa and I have had the pleasure - or displeasure - of gracing....

I've been a *huge* Halloween and horror fan since I can remember...I dunno...it just brings the kid in me out...by the end of September, our place is suitably adorned and we await each weekend with anticipation of which haunts to hit next....

We've been blessed enough to be able to travel quite a bit around the country and see some wonderful attractions and the cities they lurk in...and we're hoping to pass on the fun we've had on to anyone willing to listen in....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Akron, Ohio's HAUNTED SCHOOL AND LAB - 41 years and running....the Legend to see in 2014


The Haunted School and Lab have been a perennial favorite of my wife and mine....this year (2014) marks their 41rst season in haunting with truly unique visions and experiences across the board...

Since 2008, we've put in many an appearance, marveling at this four-decade-plus wonder in the haunt industry, marveled and admired from all four corners of the Tomb of Halloween Greats...

BTW, did I neglect to mention they opened for business this past September 26th....????

Fridays & Saturdays:

Combo tickets for admission to both the Schoolhouse and Laboratory are $26 per person. That's $3 less than the last several years...
Admission is $17 per person for just one haunted house on Fridays/Saturdays...

Thursdays & Sundays:

Combo tickets for admission to both the Schoolhouse and Laboratory are $22 per person. That's $4 less than the last several years!
Admission is $13 per person for just one of the haunted houses on Thursdays and Sundays.

They also have a merchandise counter with all-new T-shirts for 2014 -- represented below - including a throwback design. Plus, they also sells Midnight Syndicate CDs, among other Halloween-themed items.


I spoke at length on the brilliance of the place in HAUNTCAST #39, and Ryan Haidet, long time employee and media director, did a lengthy interview in HAUNTCAST #41, but, when all is said and done, this is truly one of my all time favorites, not to missed.

They pride themselves on being inside permanent structures. This allows to fine-tune the attraction throughout the year without having to tear down and start from scratch, producing AMAZING results, which include one-of-a-kind experiences, including TWO 10-foot tall Tesla coils and the amazing catwalk above the four-story wind tunnel.

*THIS* is what happens when dedicated home haunters pool thier resources, beleive in what they are doing, stick together and  give the best they have to offer - this place is original from the ground up.
....what's that you say?

...you don't believe me?

Then, scroll on, Gentle Reader, and let the testimonies speak for themselves....


Truly legendary.

For more than four decades, Akron’s autumn air has been swarmed with screams gushing from millions of people brave enough to trek through our seven floors of terror.

It all started in 1974 when the Haunted Schoolhouse first creaked open its doors atop Triplett Blvd. Housed inside the former Thomastown Elementary School, which was built in 1921, the Haunted Schoolhouse quickly became an Akron tradition and transformed the haunting industry forever.

Remnants of the original school building remain intact throughout the attraction’s dark passageways, including the principal’s office and camouflaged  chalkboards.

With three floors of intense fright, the Haunted Schoolhouse’s detailed scenes have frequently been compared to Hollywood movie sets. Some of our highlights include walking through a cobweb-coated Dracula's castle scene, a dirt-covered cemetery hillside, an incredible tilting room, a storm-torn attic and our wickedly twisted dungeon. And don't let your feelings get hurt by our potty-mouthed skeleton who hurls insults from his perch on a Schoolhouse toilet.

Not enough? In 1981, the neighboring four-story Guggenheim Airship Institute was quickly inhabited by gobs of ghastly ghouls for the dastardly debut of the Haunted Laboratory.

Before our creepy creatures began lurking around every corner of this historic building, it was once home to real scientists who tested the spectrum of aeronautics. The structure features the world’s first vertical wind tunnel, which our guests experience by walking around the top of its perimeter with a see-through floor. Vertigo? The first parachute ever made in the United States was made in this building. The base of the Laboratory also features the only 10-sided structure in the state of Ohio. This dodecagon is used in a small portion of the haunted attraction while primarily serving as storage space for props, walls, wood and more.

The Laboratory currently features two 10-foot tall Tesla coils -- one inside the attraction, the other on the roof of the building -- which zap 1.5 million volts of electricity into the night sky. It also showcases a slew of experiments gone awry with one of the best vortex tunnels you will ever experience.

While our ghosts only inhabit the building for six weeks each year, many believe the buildings -- especially the Laboratory -- are actually haunted. Employees, visiting psychics and paranormal investigators have experienced many strange things that sent shivers down their spines. Most of these creepy occurrences have taken place on the Laboratory's third floor around the lurid library.
The motivation for both haunted houses sparked in the brain of Donald Johns and his wife, Cindy, after they first visited Scream in the Dark -- a haunted house in downtown Akron, which operated for six seasons after opening in 1969. The Schoolhouse debuted a few years later during Scream in the Dark's farewell season.

Although Don passed away in May 2013, his spirit lives on at both haunted attractions. Flowers from his funeral have been strategically placed in some of his favorite scenes. His popular lines of "Oh geez" and "That'll be good" often echo through the dark hallways of both haunted houses by longtime employees. He truly changed the flavor of Halloween forever.

Because of Don and Cindy's imaginative innovations in the haunted house industry, national media has ranked the Haunted Schoolhouse and Haunted Laboratory among the scariest in the nation. Actor and Halloween enthusiast, Daniel Roebuck, visited several times in the past saying, "These are two of the best haunted houses in the country." In 2013 the Haunted Schoolhouse was named the #1 attraction by CityBlood.com.

2014 marks the 41st season for the Haunted Schoolhouse and the 34th season for the Haunted Laboratory.

Do you dare to be scared?

The Haunted Schoolhouse is a three-story brick building in the former Thomastown Elementary School at 1280 Triplett Boulevard in Akron, OH. The School Building was purchased from the Akron Board of Education in September of 1974 and has been scaring the yell out of its many visitors ever since. We have artists and set designers who work year round to create exciting new sets every year, as well as add a fresh polish to existing scenes. Touring the  schoolhouse has been likend to visiting a detailed hollywood movie set. Your trip through our attraction will include a visit to a home of witches, giants, dragons and gargoyles. You'll also travel through cemeteries, Dracula's castle and Dr. Frankenstein's Laboratory, as well as the evil king's dungeon of terror.
When visiting both of our Haunted attractions you will experience 7 FLOORS OF COMBINED TERROR. During the Halloween season we employ 50 actors at the schoolhouse in addition to adult supervisors, staff members and Akron City Police who observe and patrol our show. We offer 10 acres of free parking. Tickets are purchased in our large indoor waiting area and a concession counter is provided with a seating area for parents waiting for their children to tour the attraction.

The doors of the Haunted Laboratory at 1300 Triplett Bouevard in Akron, OH creaked open in 1981, but the building's history began on June 26, 1932 when it was operated by The University of Akron as the Guggenheim Air Institute. Since the university had no aeronautical experts, the Institute operated under the supervision of German Scientist, Dr. Karl Von Karman. Many of the buildings unique features at the Institutes are showcased in our show. Your tour at the Haunted Laboratory encompasses four stories of spine tingling scenes. You will walk onto a catwalk wile lasers shoot up through the four story vertical wind tunnel. You will be able to view one of a kind, state-of-the-art Tesla Coils, spinning black holes and an array of intricate sets.
When touring both of our Halloween productions we offer 7 FLOORS OF COMBINED TERROR.  We have 10 acres of free parking next door at our Haunted Schoolhouse.  We employ 50 actors as well as adult supervisors, staff members and Akron City Police who observe and patrol our show.

Philosophy: The staff and management of the Haunted Schoolhouse and the Haunted Laboratory strive yearly to achieve the highest level as professionals in what are two of the country's most outstanding Halloween productions.
Our philosophy has always been to use our sets as diversions for the actors. We have spent a great deal of time, money and most importantly, our experience in the business since 1974 to add to your experience. All of those years set us apart from our competition and give us a polish that is rare in our industry. Our goal is to provide a safe, professional and entertaining show. We do not believe it is necessary for our actors to touch the public to achieve the goal of scaring anyone. For this reason we have a very strict do not touch the monsters and the monsters will not touch you policy.

Parental Guidelines: 
We do not recommend our show for children under the age of seven. Please understand that the show may be too intense for children who cannot discern fantasy from the reality of what appears to be happening. You certainly know your own child better than anyone so we suggest you bring young children at your own discretion. We do reserve the right to ask you to exit with your children if you child becomes too frightened to finish the show. Our actors have been instructed not to pursue a child who is not dealing well with the experience. If we have asked you to leave with your child, you have the option of being escorted down. If you choose to continue on and see the rest of the show, you will be taken back to the point where you had to exit the show. We do not offer refunds for anyone who cannot make it through our show after entering the show.

"RATING: 9+, The Haunted School House is one of the most elaborately decorated Haunted Houses in the country!  Refreshingly different and containing many authentic sets and structures uniquely encompassing three floors of this facility! You’ve got to see this one for yourselves!  It's the second longest consecutively running attraction in the country! 

RATING - 9, Offering 4 separate floors of scares, The Haunted Laboratory is quite an eye catcher.  As is the case with The Schoolhouse, each and every scene exhibits such intricate detailing that words alone can’t do them justice.  The combo ticket is definitely the way to go because there's just so much to see, and enjoy in both attractions."



"The Haunted Schoolhouse in Akron, Ohio is celebrating its 40th year of scaring customers of all ages and creating Halloween memories that will last a lifetime. Earlier this year owner Don Johns unexpectedly passed away. He will never be forgotten and his legacy will live on through The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory.

The Haunted Schoolhouse is an attraction that has stood the test of time. It has 3 stories of terror and features some of the most detailed sets you’ll lay your eyes on. It’s like stepping foot onto the set of a classic horror movie or watching a stunning Broadway play.

Nearly everything at The Haunted Schoolhouse is hand crafted. You’re not going to see a store bought animatronic or your usual bloody corpse. The artists at The Haunted Schoolhouse have spent hours perfecting scenes and adding just the right amount of detail.

A room that was introduced years ago is the storm attic. A tree has crashed through the ceiling of an attic full of dusty old furniture, antiques, trunks and ghouls who live in the darkness. A demon hides inside the hole of a tree and he’s waiting to escape. Will you muster up enough courage to enter the storm attic?

One of the most hair raising scenes inside The Haunted Schoolhouse is the country cabin. This seamlessly normal room collapses in front of your eyes and moves back and forth like a teeter totter. It took months to build this startling scene and it has definitely paid off. The country cabin is one of the most innovative rooms inside The Haunted Schoolhouse.

The Haunted Schoolhouse incorporates beautiful lighting into its various scenes. The most stunning scene is Dracula’s Castle. It features stone walls, gargoyles, a hanging chandelier, a warm fireplace and spooky props. The blue and red lighting is gorgeous and you’ll be drooling over the beautiful eye candy.
What would a schoolhouse be without a classroom? New for the 2013 season is a haunted classroom. You’ll meet The Haunted Schoolhouse’s Headmaster. Don’t be tardy or you might end up with your head on a platter. The classroom has church pews which makes it even more sinister.

The Haunted Schoolhouse features some great effects like the endless hallway found in the sewer. The large sandworm that rises from murky water in the dungeon is also quite eye catching. The Haunted Schoolhouse has one of a kind props such as a living breathing giant, realistic life like characters and much more.

The bedroom with a hidden monster has been replaced with a scene that was used many years ago. You’ll meet Igor who comes out of hiding to say hello. The Haunted Schoolhouse is 20 minutes long and there wasn’t a moment where we weren’t entertained in some way. We laughed at the talking skeleton inside the bathroom and we appreciated how dedicated the actors were in almost every scene. Many are hidden inside the sets. Some are so still that they start to resemble props.

If you’re a fan of haunted houses, then you have to visit The Haunted Schoolhouse in Akron, Ohio. It’s one of the best haunts in the United States and it’s an example of a classic haunted house that gets better with age. After you’re finished with The Haunted Schoolhouse, you’ll enter The Haunted Laboratory.  The Haunted Laboratory opened in 1981 and celebrates its 32nd year of giving people nightmares. It was once the Guggenheim Air Institute.

A massive Tesla Coil sits atop The Haunted Laboratory. When the weather is just right, it can be seen lighting up the night sky. It’s loud, scary and close to 2 million volts of electricity. The Haunted Laboratory features its own 3-D section. You’ll see alien pods, evil experiments and alien beings that look like they belong in Area 51. Its 3-D art is brought to life when you put your 3-D Glasses on.

The Haunted Laboratory will make you jump. Its 4 story wind tunnel is breathtaking and it looks like there’s been a massive earthquake. Enter a spinning vortex tunnel while the theme from the Twilight Zone plays in the background. The actors are great and some want to attack you.

A ghoul is ready to drop barrels on unsuspecting victims and a crazy doctor cuts into the mouth of his patient inside the hospital/morgue. The Haunted Laboratory uses real hospital and morgue equipment. This might explain why the place feels haunted.

A haunted library pays tribute to Don Johns with a portrait in the background. The Haunted Laboratory features not one, but two massive Tesla Coils. The second Tesla coil is identical to the one on top of the roof, but you’re inches away from it. It’s an amazing sight and one of the best props we’ve ever seen. It’s electrifying to say the least.

The Haunted Laboratory is the polar opposite of The Haunted Schoolhouse. The Haunted Schoolhouse features classic horror scenes and The Haunted Laboratory is a journey through Science Fiction. The outside portion of The Haunted Laboratory has been eliminated and you’ll no longer enter a school bus or walk past the large storage building. The Haunted Laboratory is the only place in Ohio that features a 10 sided building (aka Decagon).

The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory are two of the best attractions you’ll ever experience."



"The Ghosthunter
Dr. Wilhelm Fritz Von Groddeck (1898 – 19??) was an early twentieth century parapsychologist, although later in life, he preferred to be known as a “forensic parapathologist”; a term he defined as “one who investigates paranormal manifestations and phenomena associated with the remnants or vestiges of beings no longer living.”  In other words, a Ghosthunter.
Dr. Von Groddeck might have passed through the annals of history unnoticed, except for the mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance from Akron, Ohio in 1968.  Before his disappearance however, Dr. Von Groddeck was best known for his sporadic publication of dense manuscripts most notably De Occultus Influxu (1939) and Methods and Principles of Phantasmia (1942).

The Beginnings of a Hunter
He was born in Bergen-Bergen, Germany, the only son of a wealthy physician and heir to the family fortune.  During his lifetime Von Groddeck would squander much of his wealth on his deep fascination with all things paranormal; including the purchase of a fantastic device known as a “Dynamistograph,” which is supposedly allowed the user to communicate with the dead.

Von Groddeck’s growing obsession with the paranormal eventually led him to leave his staff psychiatrist position at the Bergen-Bergen Sanitarium in 1932 and travel to the United States to study the already dwindling Spiritualism movement.  After WWII broke out in 1939, Von Groddeck applied for citizenship.  For the next thirty years he sought  out haunted houses and other locations with purported supernatural manifestations.

It was Von Groddeck’s preoccupation as a Ghosthunter that may have led to his disappearance.  In 1964, he traveled to Cleveland to study the reported haunting of legendary “Tiedemann Castle” on Millionaire’s Row (then owned by the German Socialist Party), and stayed in Ohio to document other famous hauntings in the region.  In 1968 at the ripe old age of 70, he went to Akron, intrigued by rumors about the now defunct Guggenheim Airship Institute Building.

While in Ohio, Von Groddeck had rented a set of rooms at Mrs. Pembrose’s Boarding House in Cleveland.  On October 23, 1964 Von Groddeck told Mrs. Pembrose that he would be gone for a week on a trip to Akron.  She never saw him again.  After a month with no word from Von Groddeck, Mrs. Pembrose sold all of is personal effects in order to pay Groddeck’s outstanding bill.
In late November, Mrs. Pembrose received a telephone call from Von Groddeck’s lawyer, Saul Bernstein,  Having had no contact from his client in over month, Bernstein was concerned.  When Mrs. Pembrose described Von Groddeck’s abrupt disappearance, Bernstein asked her to call the police.
Eventually, both the Cleveland and Akron police were contacted.  Because Mrs. Pembrose had sold Von Groddeck’s possessions, they had very little evidence to go on.  The Akron police discovered that Von Groddeck had stayed for a week at a local bed and breakfast called the Sweetbriar Inn.  He had paid for the week in full, then checked out at the end of his stay.  That was the last time anyone had seen him.

Having reached a dead end, the police concluded their investigation and simply listed Von Groddeck as another missing person.

The Akron Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory
In 1974, Don and Cindy Williams bought the Guggenheim Airship Institute Building, along with an old schoolhouse on an adjacent property.  Renamed the The Akron Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory, the buildings were converted into a “Haunted House” – a haunted attraction with elaborate sets and costumed actors that attracts thousands of enthusiasms every fall.
The very buildings that Von Groddeck had traveled to Akron to visit in 1968 in search of paranormal and supernatural phenomenon, now had become a venue dedicated to frightening its visitors every Halloween.

A New Clue
In 2001, the disappearance of Dr. Wilhelm Von Groddeck was almost forgotten.  Then a new clue was found in the old Guggenheim building, now known as the Laboratory.
In the Laboratory the sets are decorated with numerous props, some handcrafted by the AHSH&L staff, some purchased from flea-markets and garage sales, others donated by friends of the proprietors.  Among the props was a large steamer trunk with the initials “W.F.G.” on the lid.
In August 2001, an employee of the AHSH&L was planning to use the trunk in a new set he was building.  He started to cut a hole in the trunk, and discovered it had a false bottom.  Peeling back the lining, the employee discovered a packet of papers, letters, faded photographs and a leather-bound journal.  The items were very old and deteriorating, and the journal had a number of pages missing.  The employee took the items to his employers.
The journal and the rest of the items found in the trunk had belonged to Dr. Von Groddeck.  The fragmentary journal entries, although written in a confusing smattering of German and English, outlined Von Groddeck’s activities in the days leading up to his disappearance.

The Trunk
After the “Von Groddeck Papers” were discovered, the question of hose the AHSH&L had acquired the steamer trunk arose.  After the proprietors questioned the employees and themselves, it was realized that no one knew where the trunk had come from.  No one could remember purchasing the trunk, or whether it had been donated by a former employee.
Since then, the trunk has developed a mystique of its own. Employees have come to work only to find that the trunk has moved from its location sometime in the night.  Sometimes the trunk will be locked, although the keys have been missing as long as anyone could remember.  A couple of times, the trunk has been left in the Schoolhouse overnight, only to be found in the Laboratory the next morning.  The trunk has even disappeared for days at a time only to reappear in one of the rooms in the Laboratory.  Whether this is an elaborate hoax by an employee, or a supernatural phenomenon has yet to be discovered.


AKRON -- 40 years and still screaming.

Since its doors first creaked open in 1974, millions of people have braved the three floors of fright inside Akron's Haunted Schoolhouse.

But the monsters aren't only spending the 2013 Halloween season celebrating their 40-year milestone, they are also remembering the life of the man who started it all.

Don Johns, the owner and creator of the Schoolhouse and neighboring Haunted Laboratory, passed away after a brief illness in May.

Although he is gone, his spirit lives on throughout the haunted attractions.

The current staff has scattered symbols of his memory throughout both haunted houses. 

Flowers from his funeral are discretely placed in some of his favorite scenes.

His portrait hangs in a creepy library scene at the Laboratory.

His well-known saying, "Oh, geez" still echoes through the dark hallways every night by his longtime employees.

Keeping the tradition alive, his wife Cindy Johns is proud to dedicate this season in his honor.
The Haunted Schoolhouse is just one of three haunted attractions in the United States that have been open for 40 years -- and it's the only one to do so consecutively using the same building.
It features three floors of classic frights including a slew of new scares for 2013.

Before it became an annual autumn event, the Haunted Schoolhouse was actually a school building -- the Thomastown Elementary School, which was constructed in 1921.

In 1981, the four-story Guggenheim Airship Institute went up for sale, which the Johns family immediately purchased and transformed into the Haunted Laboratory.

The Haunted Laboratory puts scream seekers face-to-face with experiments that have gone terribly wrong. There's a twisted tunnel that will leave your head spinning, eye-popping 3-D effects and a pair of 10-foot tall Tesla coils that each zap the sky with 1.5 million volts of electricity.

The Schoolhouse and Laboratory have been haunting the top of the hill at 1300 Triplett Blvd. ever since.

Throughout recent years, the Schoolhouse and Laboratory have earned national recognition with several awards from AOL, Fangoria Magazine, HauntWorld Magazine and CityBlood.com. Most recently, HauntWorld  named  the attractions as two of America's most influential haunted attractions in the industry."



Oni and I visited the Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab in Akron Ohio on October 27, 2012 as media guests. Right off I can tell you that this haunted attraction is legit classic old school, which is awesome.
Some history: This attraction has been running since the seventies, so they’ve had some time to get things down and set. The schoolhouse and the lab attractions are situated in adjacent buildings, both real former schoolhouses and labs, so this lends them an immediate air of reality, which they run with (and man is there a lot of running going on!)
When you pull up to the schoolhouse it really seems like you are going into an elementary school. The first few areas where you buy tickets and wait in line look very innocuous, like a real school session could be going on later. The location is used for rentals during the rest of the year—the haunt is on the floors above.

From your first look you’d be lead to believe that this was going to be some cheap “throw some stuff on the walls and say boo” kind of place, but that quickly leaves your mind when you enter the real queue area—the stairs leading up. This building, and the lab, have multiple floors of doom, and your first understanding of your situation is when you see the years of graffiti on the walls—with the listings of how many times some people have been to this haunt.

They keep this area looking rough on purpose, so it has that “holy crap, this school has been abandoned” feeling. When you enter your first room of the haunt you see that they’ve placed padding on sections of the wall, that’s for you—yes, people must have been hurting themselves running away from the scares!

The set up of the haunt set pieces is old school—with barriers preventing you from actually entering the scenes. In many ways you are doing a walking dark ride and viewing the scenes as you go. This is a very old school styling. In most modern haunts you go through the scene—but there’s a reason they have kept it old school here. These guys literally bust out of every possible angle and run like maniacs at you, stopping right as they smack into those barriers! We saw one scare actor who blew an entire group away by running so fast he whipped past 8 people before they had time to react and they all practically jumped out of their skins. The energy here is amazing.
The sets themselves were impressive, with all kinds of electrical set ups (remember, they had a lab to pull from) and school related set pieces. They had the metal shop, wood shop, nurses office, and other places you’d expect—all filled with the most fierce scare actors I’ve seen in awhile. These guys were really going for it.
After going through many floors of this action you get released and are now on to the haunted lab next door.

On normal nights they have a tesla coil on the roof of this building shooting lighting—on our night it was too wet to do that—but I’m sure it’s a spectacular view. You can also hear from outside that there is a humongous one inside that goes off periodically.

Just like the schoolhouse, you immediately realize the age of the building you are entering by the look of the stairwells. And you walk up a lot of them in this haunt. (if you have problems climbing stairs you might want to skip these BTW) When you reach the top and enter the haunt your first thought is “wow, that’s a neat miniature/depth effect they have to make it look like you’re looking straight down 5 stories”. Wrong. It is 5 stories, and you are on a metal walkway staring into an abyss.
After this dramatic entrance and view you are taken through many floors of alien invasions, lab rooms, and other scare locations. This haunt, like the schoolhouse, has plenty of space, and they use it well. They have multi-level set pieces and many vistas to view, and they are all great. The darkness of the place really sets you up for the next scare—they really control the walkways and other areas to make each new area pop up in a dramatic fashion out of the darkness.

These haunts kicked a ton of ass and hold up as well as any new haunt we’ve visited. While it’s very old school in design—some things stand the test of time and work.
We were able to speak to the owners for a brief period after we went through the attractions, and it was obvious that running this haunt was a labor of love. If you are in the Ohio area (or even aren’t but like road trips) you really need to check these haunts out, it’s definitely worth the trip and the scares.

Many thanks to Ryan Haidet and the School and Lab staff for all their assistance in putting this together, and for giving my wife Lisa and I a splendid guided tour this past April - our undying (undead?) thanks, folks!

(April 2014)

...and to bring things up to speed, here's a few looks into Opening Weekend -

 ....awaiting fresh victims...

 The monsters are prepared....take note of the wife & I in the mirror...oops!...

"I've heard so many great things about this place and was ecstatic to finally get to experience it for myself. I live a good 4 hours from Akron, but I thoroughly enjoyed my trip through the Haunted School & Lab.

Even though their sets are detailed immaculately, it still has a very "old-school" haunted house vibe, which I love. Some of the high-tech haunts nowadays go so over the top that it just doesn't feel authentic anymore. The Haunted School & Lab nails that authenticity. Old school haunted housing at it's finest!

I particularly enjoyed the tilting room. I've never seen that done anywhere else. Very cool! The tesla coil in the haunted lab needs to be experienced. That thing is flat out enormous & awesome."

 The Infamous Hall of Fame

Some warm up techniques from the Mistress of the Manor....

From 2013

The Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab is a priceless gem among haunted attractions. We believe that it is the currently longest continuously running haunted attraction in the US, marking it’s 40th season this year. When we visited it last year we were so struck by it that we gave it our “National Treasure” award.
The Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab has stood the test of time so far, and we hope it continues for a very long time into the future. All of the best things about it, it’s “old school” style married to “in your face” scares still makes it a haunt that can’t be missed.
While there wasn’t a huge amount of changes this year from last year (I’ll explain that in a second), we felt like they had managed to tighten up a really great experience into an even more brutal and great time.
There are 2 separate buildings with 2 different focuses (the Schoolhouse and the Lab),and both take up the insides of real former Schoolhouse and Lab. This lends and authenticity that only Eastern State Penitentiary and other haunts of this sort can provide. As you can imagine the schoolhouse goes though every area of a high school you’d expect (and some you wouldn’t), while the Lab has every type of evil experiment, aliens, and any and all kinds of scientific based scares. The top of the Lab, where you peer down into a 5 story exploded area is just unbelievable. Also, the Tesla coil is terrifying in it’s enormous lightning display.
There was also some treats on sale between the buildings :)
One of the most fun things for us was the ability to go behind the scenes this year and see something attendees never get to see: The backstage area. Not only have they created a spectacular haunt, but the crafting of their actor passages and corridors is incredible. Inside the haunt you never notice these bridges and other sections, but we were able to look down upon whole scenes and watch the actors work together in perfect harmony. We were even invited to be inside some of the sets to look at them close up–and were even inside with one scare actor who did the “van attack” scene while they were doing their act. Watching people jump and scream “Oh Hell No!” was phenomenal.
David, Amy, Cindy, Fred, and the rest of the crew were wonderful to speak to and gave us a huge amount of insight into the history and running of this haunt. We want to thank them all for their time.
We do have some very sad news to report though. Don, the original creator and co-owner of the haunt, passed away earlier this year. We were very fortunate to speak to Don last year when we visited, and he had a depth of knowledge that is unsurpassed in this industry. David, our guide this year (and Don’s son-in-law) told us that Don was able to create whole scenes with just a pencil and paper, that would translate perfectly into reality with no changes needed. Don could visualize and live the haunted experience in a way few could. His loss is a huge blow to the industry, and of course his family. The whole team at this haunt though operate as one family, so they all came together to make sure that the haunt continued this year, and in our opinion, were able to maintain and even increase the quality (an effort we can’t even begin to imagine and in a timeframe unbelievably short).

Some vintage shots from back in the day....

This next photo is when the Cemetery scene was under construction on the Schoolhouse's second floor

Monster In Progress....when the Giant was under construction... This currently sits on the 3rd floor of the Schoolhouse...

And here's a fun newspaper article from the Akron Beacon Journal on Feb. 12, 1987...
It's a story about two suspects who hid from police by breaking into the Haunted Laboratory.

Special thanks to Vincent and Stacey Rager for their photographic assistance

And once more. our eternal gratitude to  Ryan Haidet, Aaron Swan and, in particular, Cindy Johns, the Mistress of the Manor for all their help and assistance with this project....

Donald P. (Don) Johns

Donald P. "DonJohns

Donald P. (Don) Johns

With love to Cindy

No comments:

Post a Comment