In Lineboro, a scary proposition

Starting Friday, thousands of people are expected to ride a haunted trail, visit a house of fright in Carroll County

September 30, 2007|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Special to The Sun

On a wagon behind the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department, an electric chair sat empty, waiting for its next victim.

A second wagon contained several brightly painted wooden boxes and a clown mannequin.

In the garage, skeletons dressed in suits were resting in their coffins.

"Most of what we do here is startle scares," said John Krebs, 52. "We try to come up with ways to scare people from a wagon that is a distance away."

Krebs was giving a behind-the-scenes tour of the scary items that will be used to create the 14th Bedlam in the Boro Haunted Trail and the House of Horror haunted house.

The events, which draw 8,000 to 11,000 visitors, start Friday. Proceeds from the fundraisers will be used to help pay for the recently completed $2 million Fire Department expansion, Krebs said.

Planning for the fundraising project begins with an annual trip to a Chicago trade show, where volunteers find the latest in haunted technology and scare tactics, Krebs said. Using a budget of about $40,000, the volunteers try to add new skits each year, he said.

The volunteers attend seminars at the convention that showcase new ideas and concepts for haunted trails and houses, he said.

When they return from the convention, the volunteers bring back new ideas and props, he said.

"Sometimes we do skits, and we think they will be a big hit," Krebs said. "And they aren't. One year, we had a headless horseman and it was a total flop. You just never know what people are going to think, or how they will react."

Levere Kopp said he is charged with figuring out which skits are effective and which are duds. Kopp chaperones the wagon ride on the haunted trail. He monitors the reaction to the skits, he said.

"Groups of young girls are one of the best monitors of the skits," the 81-year-old Lineboro resident said. "They start out on the side of the wagon, and end up in the middle."

The skits on the four-mile haunted trail are a mixture of comical and startle scares carried out by some of the project's 125 to 130 volunteers, Krebs said. Some of the most popular skits include a mad clown, an outhouse and a graveyard, he said.

These skits are all about the unexpected, said William Caudill, who portrays the mad clown.

"I am about 6-2, and people don't expect someone my size to jump out of one of the small boxes I get into," he said. "It surprises them. It's become routine for me. I enjoy scaring people. It's an adrenaline rush. When I get a wagon full of people screaming, that's a good day for me."

Using a real graveyard as the backdrop, the graveyard skit includes zombies and ghouls rising from the grave, Krebs said. It is elaborate, and people tend to enjoy it, he said.

The moonshine skit is also popular, he said.

"On this skit, there are whiskey barrels, jugs, bottles, and a guy sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun," he said. "Then there are special effects that happen."

The bathroom skit includes a man coming out of the outhouse and a water cannon that sprays a heavy mist of water, Krebs said.

"What I can tell you is that there is a man who yells, `It's gonna blow,' and runs out of the outhouse," Krebs said. "And a mist of water is involved. That's all I can say about that one," he said.

New this year is a skit called Butcher Holler, that depicts a butcher who chops up bodies, Krebs said.

"When this farmer couldn't make a living off of his land, he took to butchering body parts," Krebs said. "Instead of veggies, there are all kinds of body parts that hang from the roof."

The comical side of the skit comes from a rewrite of the theme from the television show Green Acres, Krebs said. There's a little song that goes with it, he said. It says that Butcher Holler ain't the place to be, he said.

in the garage, Krebs walked to the side of a coffin, and pulled a string. Out popped a skeleton.

"See, it's all about the startle," he said. "The volunteers and the creatures can't get on the wagon, so we have to find ways to scare people from a distance."

The comical side of the skits is also shown with signs, he said. In the electric-chair skit, a sign says, "Regular or extra crispy."

Tom Myers oversees construction of the 3,200-square-foot haunted house. Construction began in August, and it includes narrow hallways lined with black walls and sharp turns.

In the house, an elevator drops and goes back up. Also featured are a jungle room, a nursery filled with evil children, a bottomless pit, snakes coming out of the ceiling, and a chain saw-wielding maniac. And of course, many creatures of the night roam the facility, he said.

"Certain people are roamers and they go all over the house and jump out and scare people," Meyers said. "They are never in the same place, or do the same thing. We have a different show every time someone comes into the house."

Bedlam at the Boro will be held from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays during October. Ticket prices, according to the Web site, are as follows: Haunted Hayride $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 8 and youner; Haunted House, $8 for adults and $6 children; combo tickets (includes both sites) $15 for adults and $10 children; R.I.P. Pass (go to the front of the line for both attractions) $25 for adults and $20 children.

Bedlam Bypass, a trail for youngsters, will be held Oct. 14 and 21 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $5 for all ages.

Information: 410-239-4467.

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