Halloween, a time for trick or treating, jack-o-lanterns and haunted houses, dates back to Celtic times some 2,000 years ago. It is the end of the year, harvest time, the sun dies and winter takes over. It is also the time of year when the realm of both the living and the dead overlap, when ghosts are said to materialize and wander about. With that simplified historical reference it is no surprise that some of our manufactured nightmares and spooky mazes are also haunted by spirits of the dead.
Whether drawn by the diverse and intense range of emotions from a theatrical scare-actor cast or tied to the history of the attraction’s location, ghosts seem to enjoy the energies of a haunted attraction. Collected below are a fearsome foursome of eerie examples of ethereal energies and the haunted attractions they are believed to inhabit.
Having enjoyed the privilege of working in Orlando’s Terror on Church Street, I’ve witnessed this creepy crossover on more than on occasion. From unexplained phenomenon to apparent apparitions, the 1880’s hardware store that evolved into a haunted attraction was truly haunted. Actors querying a Ouija board were allegedly acknowledged with the reply, “I know you from Terror, I know you from the attic.” The attic was just one of the many sets on site that left cast members on edge. Guests separating from their group were never found (and believed to be ghostly in nature). The spirit of a little girl is said to have haunted the halls, seen on many occasions by both management and actors. Terror on Church Street called the space home from 1991 to 1999. It was my experiences there that inspired me to learn more about the paranormal, eventually creating Orlando’s first haunted history tour.
Terror on Church Street, however, is far from the only haunted attraction with ghostly guests. Gathered here, for this Samhain edition of Fav Feared Five, a quintet of dark amusements with a few added apparitions are presented for your paranormal perusal.
Established in 1895 by medium George P. Colby, the sleepy spiritualist community that is Cassadaga is located about half an hour northeast of Orlando, Florida. This peaceful camp is home to the Colby Memorial Temple, the Andrew Jackson Davis Educational Building, Colby-Alderman park, Caesar Forman Healing Center, camp bookstore and the Cassadaga hotel.
According to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Guide Book, “Spiritualism has no dogma or creed, just a simple set of nine principles to help guide our lives.” The very nature of a spiritualist camp that is home to healers and mediums invites the arrival of spirits from all walks of life. The hotel in particular has been investigated by paranormal groups and is said to be home to the spirit of a little girl. Then there’s Arthur the Irish tenor who lived in room 22 of the hotel; he’s still around according to guests and investigators. The scent of his adult beverage and cigars is sometimes accompanied by a polite, yet unseen, tap on the shoulder.