Like a really good scare?
The Wells Township Haunted House in Brilliant is the real deal.
If you eagerly await the annual quest to personally experience the kind of sensory overload available only when you get to be a very real part of the best of the best, then this is the place for you and yours when it comes to a Halloween scare sensation you are not likely to ever forget.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
WELLS TOWNSHIP Haunted House is preparing to open its 10th season. It has grown to be so popular it has been voted into the top spot among its peers across all of Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Doors to this intense sensory experience will open this year on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28, a full weekend ahead of the opening a year ago. Running on Friday and Saturday nights through October, the mega popular venue will be open to the public through Thursday night, October 31, as well as on Friday and Saturday nights, Nov. 1 & 2.
For the first time guest to the Wells Township Haunted House Tour, here is a word of advice: if you think you know what you are looking at or what you are about to experience — you are wrong. Even the simple pleasures of childhood — lollipops, cotton candy, popcorn and sharing a hug with a sweet little old lady in a rocking chair — are guaranteed to warm your heart and make you feel all warm and fuzzy all over....
A couple added benefits for residents of the Ohio Valley area planning to visit: it's considered a top-quality haunted house experience, is located a very short drive from just about anywhere in the region, and all tickets are very reasonably priced and can be easily purchased through several different means.
This season, the venture's organizers took steps to ramp up their already good customer service opportunities and have now arranged for customers to also be able to use credit or debit cards for purchasing items at The Wells Township Haunted House, as well as for advance ticket sales.
Tickets can be purchased at the door, can be purchased ahead of time and can even be purchased via the web. The range of ticket costs goes from $13 up to $25.
The mega popular haunted house experience has become so well known, and the quality of its annual effort so highly respected since opening its doors 10 years ago this October, that during the 2012 season - on a year-to-year comparison for each night - attendance records were shattered from season open to close.
To date, the record for one evening's total number of tour guests through the venue was over 1,300 people.
How do you top something that was so well received by visitors that your labor of love brought unexpected attention and praise from "USA Today," prompted representatives from Yahoo and television programs like "The Walking Dead" to contact the local project's leadership wanting to know details of the top quality haunted house experience offered in a 10,000 square foot building, which is itself more than 100 years old, and has become a very popular destination for those interested in the paranormal studies and experiences?
In previous years, organizers are always a bit hesitant to reveal too many details of a new season's haunted house experience so as not to take any of the fun from a scenario designed to evoke extreme emotional responses from each and every visitor.
But, now with the start of the venture's 10th season, project founder and coordinator Wells Township Police Department Capt. Sean Norman does not hesitate about these points quite so much, especially since several have become so popular that repeat visitors asked they be considered a regular part of the experience.
The haunted house experience itself is a product which has literally become brand marketed by its international legion of fans for the high quality of the various individual scare scenarios within the building.
Norman and his leadership team have also continued to add to the tech side of the venue - both for continuing to increase the originality and unrelenting emotional barrage targeting each guest - but also to be able to maintain eyes on coverage of volunteers and guests in every part of the venue.
"There is no corner here where tours come through that is not seen by a security camera in our control area," offered Norman, reflecting on the always present need to be attentive to safe flow of guests and volunteers through the entire structure.
Norman is himself regularly an active participant in experiences happening literally just outside the building as well as inside by transforming himself into a 92-year old hard of hearing guy by the name of "Pappy."
Taking on the character also allows him to maintain a high degree of visual security within the haunted house that is part of his very real persona as a law enforcement official, husband and father.
"Pappy" and his adult peers allows the adults to be a part of the experience and to keep their eyes open and on the look- out for opportunities to keep everything flowing smoothly for all guests and the 150 volunteers.
As the effort begins its10th year of operations, those working behind the scenes are largely teen volunteers, which has translated into numerous opportunities for Norman to put his appreciation for their efforts and pride in their respective personal growth into something tangible a high school or college student can share with others when the occasion arises.
"I've lost track of how many letters of recommendation for college applications I have been asked by our kids here to write on their behalf; job interview letters of reference; conversations I've had with admissions counselors; and high school honors program officials and people like that who are meeting these kids as they work toward a work or educational goal. They have a lot to be proud of, and we are all proud of them for working hard to make this annual haunted house project such a huge success," offered Norman. "This is a lot of work, and the result is something we can all be proud of having helped create."
Doors to this intense sensory experience will open this year on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28, a full weekend ahead of the opening a year ago. Running on Friday and Saturday nights through October, this year it will not close its doors on the hauntingly entertaining season until after the last tour participants run screaming into the night after bolting from one of the alternate ending exits of the building on Halloween weekend, Saturday, Nov. 2. A special treat for true haunted house fans: the mega popular venue will be open to the public on Thursday night, Oct. 31, as well as on Friday and Saturday nights, Nov. 1 and 2. For more information about the Wells Township Haunted House, call 740-598-9602 or visit the website at www.wellstownshiphauntedhouse.com.
Loccisano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org