Dark In The Park




Brigantine Castle Online

Emails 2003

If you would like your memory of the castle posted on our page, please email it to us at webmaster@darkinthepark.com



9/24/03 Hi. I just came across this site and I can't believe my eyes! what a blast from the past! I grew up in chester county PA. and me and my friends would go to brigantine castle in the late seventies. what an incredible time. In the summer of 1979 I was 17 and me and a couple buddies were standing in line at the castle . In front of us were a few guys who were maybe a couple years older. one of them turns to my friend and asked him how his older brother was doing. After they stopped talking. I asked my friend who the guy was and he said "oh that's Kevin. He's an actor. My brother was in a play with him." I found out later that "Kevin" was none other than the famous actor Kevin Bacon! Apparently he's from Philadelphia and had just finished filming Friday the 13th! I didn't know who he was at the time because he wasn't famous yet. Anyhow the castle was awesome! Thanks for putting up this site.


Your site is amazing. I was never fortunate enough to venture into the castle but I remember my friends and I thought the Headless Woman was a real Headless Lady. Way back in 1980 we were a bunch of thrill seeking seven year olds. We would see the ads on television this poor Headless Woman in a room attached to tubes coming from her neck that kept her alive. Well, we had to see her. That summer my friends parents took her to the castle, my folks opted for the Wildwood vacation instead. She reported back that there was a woman in a room with no head and tubes in her neck stump that fed her. We believed that she was real until we were at least nine when an older sibling ruined it for us.
Russ Kohr              Ashburn, VA


Thanks for this website and for including a forum for comments. From reading people's comments, it's evident your site has sparked good memories for many people, including me.

I'm 42 now and my family took summer vacations in Brigantine from the late 60s thru the mid 70s. In fact, many of my memories revolve around the pier back when it was the Seahorse Pier, before it became Brigantine Castle and Amusement Pier. I remember the pier then had a seedy old bar, some kiddie rides, and a wonderful penny arcade that featured old-fashioned mechanical games of amusement and skill that, if any still exist, are assuredly valuable antiques now. Even in the early 70s those games were antiques! It was our last family vacation to Brigantine in 1976 when I saw the transformed pier and visited the castle.

On a weekend trip in the mid-80s I introduced my future wife to Brigantine, the castle and pier, Reflections Arcade (across the street from the pier but gone now too I understand) and what I consider another Brigantine institution, The Rod & Reel! (Is "The Tides" motel, across the street from the Rod & Reel, still in business?). In 1989, I asked my wife to marry me on the beach just north of where the pier once stood. At the time, only some pilings from the pier were still standing.

So while much of my Brigantine experience happened before, then after the castle, the Brigantine Castle is part of those memories.

Mitch Brahen



I have a funny feeling about the story Mary Ann 10/30/02 wrote. It seems I stopped exactly at her name for a reason, I knew. I bet a finger I'm right. Mary Ann is very decriptive and I thank her for her memories, as mine were a little too vague. I also, stayed at the Golden Dolphin Motel, and remember a few young girls MaryAnn 9, Lee Ann Zumak 14(the first girl I ever kissed), me 13 and I think a girl by the name of Diane, as they taught me how to play Crazy Eights, as Mary Ann (from I think Sunbury, PA) went on about how scary Brigatine Castle was,(in the Golden Dolphin Recreation Room sitting at the picnic tables). And the last memory that I still have is Frankenstein's Monster with his arms and hands stretched out that gave me a feeling like he was really going to grab me, though at 13, it seemed more funny than scary, but nevertheless, left my imagination to perceive what it would really be like if real, Woooo! I also remember the stupid rats they had stuck to the wall, which was more realistic than the monsters and the boney skeleton, as I remember lit-up by small flood lights. Being raised by a contractor, I was aware of the cheap construction of the castle, but again, it made the point. The castle should again rise especially, with all the traffic in the area, due to the Casino's...."Hey Donald Trump why the heck did you ever let such a great, nearby landmark and attraction slip away"? As for Mary Ann, I hope I didn't lose a finger.
Mark, Allentown PA


As a child, I vacationed almost every summer in Brigantine with my family at the Ocean Front Motel. For me, Brigantine was the best part of my summer, and there are a few vivid memories of the island I remember to this day: The little lighthouse in the circle, the Fudge Kitchen, Surf & Sundries shop, and of course, the Brigantine Castle. To this day, whenever I smell creosote, I think of the pier, the Castle, cotton candy and eerie organ music. I remember the "painting" of Dracula that came to life, the dark walkway with "rats tails" hitting your ankles (as a fearless 8 year old, I reached down to sadly discover they were rubber hoses), the chainsaw toting freak, and all the crazy live dioramas. I have always been sad to see this part of my childhood go. I miss the 50's "googie" style motels and the dorky, but fun attractions of the 70's and 80's. About the only place that reminds me of those magical days is Wildwood. Like miniature golf courses, drive-ins and motels, places like the Brigantine castle were a statement of the real American pastime. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with the same fun memories.
Brian de Jong


Though I have been browsing the internet for six years, I am always finding something new . . . in some cases reminding me of something long forgotten.

I grew up in north Jersey, though I now live in Columbus, OH. I remember being horrified by the television commercials and even billboards for these places, namely the Brigantine Castle. When our family finally went there, I chickened out and didn't go in :) That was in summer 84. Any way, it was a real treat to actual read about this place, play the commercials, etc. Makes me miss NJ and being young, quite honestly. Sad that it's all gone now.

Thanks so much!



I love your web site for several reasons one... I literally grew up in the castle. When I was a kid my mother used to work there in the summer and I would spend my summer in the castle with my grand mother and mom Second..... my future mother in law went there and met my mother and my self who knew that 20 years later I would marry her daughter(This may sound like nothing however my future wife lived 150 miles from me and I met her by pure chance)third... I am now a magician and attribute that to time spent in the castle and on Halloween I put on a haunted house of my own(you can take the boy out of the castle but you cant take the castle out of the boy)forth... I want to rebuild the castle exactly the way it was.


Hi ...... My name is Mike ..... Just a few memories of The Castle. The Castle was a great place for the kids of Brigantine to work at for the summer. I started working at the pier the first summer it opened. I started working in various stands such as the wheels and the ball toss, but eventually found my home at the monkey water race game. I worked there every summer through high school, when it was in the main room with the rest of the games, then eventually moved outside across from the Castle entrance next to Friar Tucks food stand. I can still remember the speel I use to say over the microphone " Step on up and give it a try, its only a quarter to shoot the water. First monkey to reach the top is the winner, and there is a winner each and every time". Some of the managers I remember working for were Harry Orgo, Richie Tolk and Ted Ciricillo. Whenever Carmen would come down from his office everybody would panic and start saying their speel. Other people I remember working there was Walt from Friar Tucks, Vince the repairman, the Ricci sisters, Adolph from the ice cream stand,Billy from the record stand, Harry and Dana from the arcade, Dennis the security guard, Rodney the sweep up guy, Nicky from his little corner, and the husband and wife from the candy store. One person I remember the best from working up there is a girl who used to work in the Duck Pond. Her name was Lisa. We both met while working up there and started dating. We fell in love and 20 years and 3 kids later , we still have great memories from our summers at the pier. So, as you can tell, the Castle has a place in our heart. Amazingly, 24 years after we worked there, we still have our Castle Cast jackets still hanging in our closet.
Ryann                Bridgeton, NJ


i was only there once i was 6 years old and i have had this memory my entire life! i remember being in a room with a fireplace and there was a hand in the fire and a portrait hanging above it and all of a sudden a vampire comes out of it and i was so scared i started screaming and my mom told me that we were kicked out because i was screaming non stop!
Ted Harris    Swarthmore, PA


This was a great memory of this site. anyhoo, let me tell you about what happened when we saw this castle when we are kids. Every year my sister and I would BEG to go to this attraction. we begged and begged and swore, and Dad caved in and when my mom had to see her aunt he took us to see the castle. It came out of the fog like that like a spooky film, so we walk around and play some games in the arcade, then we go to see some men fish at the end of the pier, then it was time to go inside. Just as we were about to go in i see this scary face shilloetted in white light come out of the darkness! I cried and cried and bawled and screamed, "No! No! It's too scary!" and Dad took us home.

I am really sorry to hear that the castle burned down. I was planning to go down to Brigantine with my friends and my fiance and see this castle, but it burned down. I would LOVE to see this great castle get rebuilt someday, on safe ground, with a better cast, for a new generation of fans. Don't let history go to waste, please.

I want to tell you are doing a great service with your site, and we appreciate it.

Brian Jen Jack


I just wanted to say thank you for this site...I finally got to show my husband the castle I have been talking about for years.  My family visited Brigantine every summer when I was younger and some of my favorite childhood memories involve the castle, the peir and the penny arcade.  I wish they would rebuild...Brigantine was the perfect family spot back then and the boardwalk was great for young kids...so much better than the Atlantic City boardwalk if you were young...it had everything you needed right there.  Thanks so much for the memories...this site is great!
George McNichol


Hi, my name is George McNichol.  I used to work at the cotton candy stand on the pier before finally befgging to be hired at the castle.  Ironically, I remember the best character actor they had, a guy named Big Old Pete who was my buddy at the time.  He used to do the storage duties after the closing and we used to eat way too much cotton candy together.  If you hae any info on his whereabouts please contact me.

The memories are too many to list, but I remember the Haloween party and the New Years events.  Often times they wouldn't let me past the velvet rope into the p[arty but it was still grrat being there even if I was somewhat of a "wanna be".

S Murphy


first of all, thank you for this site. my (abbreviated) memories of brigantine castle are surprisingly quite vivid after all these years. i was always fascinated with haunted houses as a kid. (the good kind, with live people inside, none of that fake stuff). so when my mom took me to brigantine castle after seeing the tv commercial, it was, needless to say, a thrill. it must've been sometime in the late 70's. i was probably 8 or 9. unfortunately, we didn't make it very far...as i remember, a person swung by on a rope off to the side and when we turned back forward somebody jumped out--it freaked my mom out and she ordered the guy to tell us how to get out which he did, ironically, probably out of fear of her. i just wish it was still around. just the fact that it's not there fuels my longing for it even more. looking at the pictures, watching the commercials, it brings back quite a cool feeling. i'm 33 now, but this site makes me feel like a kid again! thanks.


I was surfing the web and found your site. It is marvelous! I knew I was going to Atlantic City this past week and made my friends bring me to the site of the pier, to take a look and to get a piece of rock from one of the pillars. Of course my friends thought I was nuts, but that has always been the case, and they catered to my whim and made a stop in Brigantine. It had been such a long time since I've been, and I must admit it was very sad. We pulled up and into the parking lot, and I just gazed to where the castle once stood. The site was more distressing than any I remember from inside the castle. It was like a train station with no train. A piece of the puzzle was missing - the biggest piece. It seemed so strange. But the memories are strong, without a doubt, and I talked my friend's ears off as we pulled away. The same pillar you have pictured is still there and I was able to pry a large piece of the stone off, along with one of the refectors. They have two more at the rear of the lot, out of the ground on their sides. I am framing the piece and the reflector as a small reminder of what once was and some great times. While I was doing my amateur excavation, there were two surveyors working on the walk, and they could care less. Not that I expected the Brigantine Police to wisk me away, but I was still "cautious", out there with my small hammer and bag. It was nice to come away with a nice momento, but a last trip through the castle would have been that much sweeter. I guess I can do that in my mind.

Too many cool things are disappearing. It needs to stop.

Thanks again for your site and for keeping the memory of Brigantine Castle alive. I means a heck of a lot to all of us.

Peace and Screams! :)



when I was a kid about 1981 I guess, I was about 12 or so, I went there with my family and fathers friends. I remember it bein pretty scary but one of my fathers friends ( a real cool BABY) got freaked. I remember he started pounding on the walls tryin to get out. He was screaming . I don't know what scared him but he wanted out in the worst way. What was really cool is how a couple of the actors instantly came to help him. they weren't tryin to scare him no more but to calm him down. When he got out of there he said it was just a joke but we knew. That was one of my greatest memories of the castle .I was there about 5 more times before it closed. And now Wildwood's castle is no more


Hey there, I grew up in Brigantine, lived on 30th Street...and one of my most wonderful memories of Brigantine was my young teen years spent at the castle. That place sure was hopping all summer long...remember how crowded it would get there! My friends and I would take the local bus there and spend every night there in the summers of 1977, 78 and 79. The actors were awesome, especially Mike Spatola. He became a good friend of mine back then and I often wonder how he is doing.


You have no idea how happy I was to find this site!!! Now with Castle Dracula gone too, I've been on this pilgrimage to find pictures, websites, and people as well who considered the Castle's part of they're childhoods.  We've had a house in Brigantine our whole lives, it's my grandmothers.  Every summer, as far back as I can remember, the Castle stuck out in my mind.  It was probably because I was forbidden to go in because I was so young, and my mother thought it was way too scary for a little boy.  But everyday on the beach I would look up north towards the Castle, and there it was.  And every summer for seven years, I would look north and there it was...scary as ever.  I do remember one summer being on the pier and a Count Dracula looking man was trying to scare us out by the Castle's entrance I'm guessing, trying to get us to come in.  Then one summer, the gates to the entrance ramp were closed locked tight.  My mother took me almost every day for a car ride to walk up the ramp, with the castle looming over me, with hopes of the gates being open so maybe I could go in.  Then like a snap of a finger, one summer the castle was gone.  Talk about luck.  Now with the sea wall there, my friends and I go and walk appreciating what used to be there.  I guess you don't really appreciate some things until they're gone.  I wonder sometimes if the Castle didn't burn if it would still be there...with the way Brigantine is lately, i'm sure the town would have order it demolished because it didn't draw a good crowd.  HAHA...my mom always said the north end of the island was the rough part.  In any case, I was down last weekend with some friends, and I'm glad someone else noticed the Castle remains in the old parking lot.  I noticed them about two years ago and should go and chip off a piece, because the lot with be houses im sure soon.  Anyway, thanks for the site!!!






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