Oni and I had the pleasure of visiting the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center on a recent trip out to Sandusky Ohio (in which we also went to the Cedar Point theme park). I’ll give a brief run down of things in this post, but attached to it (and also available from our iTunes Podcast feed) is a podcast with both of our thoughts on the attraction as well.
Oni and I are huge haunt fans (as any regular readers of this site know), and our Halloween season is always filled with trips far and wide to check out the seasonal haunts that pop up across the country. In this particular case though we have a somewhat unique animal: a year round haunted attraction. That’s right, 7 days a week all year you can go down to the Ghostly Manor and get scared out of your wits. This is something that needs to be supported to the fullest!
The haunt starts off very favorably by having a very nice exterior, that appears like a castle with a giant fearsome dragon bursting forth:
We went during the day, so we aren’t sure if there are more things that happen outside at night, but it looked like they had some ropes and doors/windows that may animate and have specific actions that occur (we suspect that things come down out of the roof, possibly hanging bodies or other creepy stuff).
So we entered inside and found that the cost per person for the haunt was only $11, which is very inexpensive (to put it in context we have been to many seasonal haunts costing double or triple that cost for what was the same time/level of experience). As a side note, the facility also has a roller skating rink and a D&D inspired mini-golf course, as well as video games and other carnival style games for extra costs.
So, how was the haunt itself? I can say it was very good and intense. We had no idea going in whether this place was going to be a trifle or a serious business haunt–and it turned out to be pretty serious. While it didn’t seem to have more than a few actors, it relied less on jump scares and more on creepy immersion and really effective layout and room design. The animatronics were very well integrated and many of the rooms had interesting and unique scares. It had most of the expected rooms, such as kitchen, living room, mausoleum, cave, and other typical haunt room scenarios, but also had some unexpected things as well. Our total time in the haunt was about 15 minutes, which is on par with most haunts.
I have to admit to something: I almost reached what I call “haunt exhaustion” in this haunt. That’s the condition of being hit so many times with scares that you actually start to feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t happen very often with me or Oni, so when it does it means the haunt is doing something right–there was no let up and no dead space happening–it was pure constant threat and that makes the experience very satisfying. (Oni has talked about her similar experience at Halloween Horror Nights in their Dead Exposure house that hit her the same way)
Since I typically lead when we go into haunts Oni felt that maybe I was getting a bit too much of the scares, so it’s possible that they hit the front of the group a bit more than the back. We’d suggest keeping your group size pretty small, with 2 being optimal I’d guess.
Anyway, check out our podcast to hear more specific thoughts on the attraction. We definitely give this haunt a must do for anyone who is into haunted attractions.