By Kelly Young
Start with a naturally scary location, throw in a few dismembered body parts, ghosts, cannibals, witches, zombies and chainsaw-melding maniacs, and you’ve got a potentially first-rate haunted house. That formula has worked for the Rusk State Hospital the past two years, and with a few additions made to the event, organizers hope this year’s fright-fest will be the biggest and scariest yet.
Next weekend the dank, water-strained basement of the RSH Administration Building will be transformed once again into a maze of terror. The haunted house will be open Thursday, Oct. 25, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight.
This year’s spook-fest will be so scary that no one under seven years old will be allowed in.
“Last year we did less-scary versions of the tour for groups that had little kids in them, but this year we got together and decided that it would probably be safer to just prohibit it for kids six and under,” said Training Specialist Trish Barlow. “I think it’s safer this way. I have two five-year-olds, and there’s no way I would let them in. A lot of the things that they would see here, they wouldn’t be allowed to see at the movies.”
Each tour of horror lasts about 10 minutes and takes customers through dark rooms splattered with blood and filled with all the traditional Halloween characters.
The cost of the event will be $2 for adults and $1 for children age 6 to 12. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
“I know we had over 800 people come out that first year, and I think that last year was around the same number,” Barlow said.
All money raised by the event will benefit the RSH employee council, and the entire staff of “scarers” is made up of state employees, their spouses and their children.
Mike Dorsey, who originally had the idea of converting a wing of the state hospital into a haunted house, said last year that although no specific tales of ghosts haunting the halls exist, the building has a history of producing eerie, paranormal sensations. According to him, an employee was once walking through the basement when he experienced the strong smell of death and decay. An hour later, when the employee was walking back through the room, the smell was gone.
For more information about the haunted house, contact 903-683-7603.
By Kelly Young
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