Dark In The Park



Brigantine Castle Online

Emails 2006

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




Maria Gavin

My name is Maria Gavin and my family and I visited Brigantine Castle Memorial Day weekend and we were one of the first people to go inside. It was sad to hear that the castle burned down in 1987 but I will never forget that visit. my mother and I came all the way down from Alaska to visit the family.




Michele O'Brien

My name is Michele O'Brien and I worked at the castle in 1979. I can't even imagine 1/2 the fun these people had!!! They sound like they got exactly what they paid for, some freight and fun! That's what the cast I worked with was all about. We had a ball! I was soooo young to be working there but they let me in the headless chair which was a grueling illusion. It was an hour in and and hour out! You were literally strapped and locked in this chair. There was no air condition. Sometimes you didn't wanna move or be an actor. I can't believe our making good out of a rough situation made people so happy! My fondest memories other then working with some great people were I went through as a normal person in line and got to participate as a line actor. It was great! Actors really manhandled me and the other people were frightened out of their wits! I also got to bring my daughter through at age 2 and she sat in the picture frame with Dracula Seth. My daughter, Tara O'Brien also inherited the "monster gene" and went on to win 6 horror costume trophies in a row from the Elks in Brigantine, make the local paper as an actor in Haunted houses with Sandi, did the reunion show in the Surf Stadium with me and is now working on a project in Virginia who has a contract with Block Buster as a horror make up artist on a film. She has been deemed a natural.

Barbar Eyde Marzarella

Wow, I cant believe I stumbled onto this site. What memories!! I am in Brigantine often as I have many siblings along with my father still on the island. Every year we rent a house in Brigantine and every year I tell my kids the same story about "The Castle". I think they are bored by now. The pictures are wonderful.

Rick Dove

Which story to write? Pat Cookes' bachelor party turned rumble in the old bar? Bonfires on North End? Giving pinball games away because I was tired of winning on Tropical Isle? (ten cents back then) Jumping off the end with our surf boards on days that were too rough to paddle out? Shooting a sea (arrow) in a Nor Easterly rookie year on BCBP from the end of the pier to the beach in a lifeguard boat with Jim Andros? Hiding in the Castle and scaring shoobies? Getting scared by the actors? Getting served under age at the bar on the end with the fishing pier? Catching weakies off the pier? Dance to the music and playing pool? Shucking clams at Mogasins Seafood and ugghh, washing pots and dishes? Catching my first wave on my 9'6" wooden Win Bowen surfboard? The best surf on the island? The place to be all summer? Can't decide, if you were there you know the rest of the story. Its still the Seahorse to me! 
9/28/06 I remember as a kid seeing those commercials day & night, as soon as I heard the music I would jump out of my skin.

I grew up about 40 minutes from Brigantine and I remember The Castle being used a a terror device by my older sister and her friends. Every time I did something they did not care for they would threaten to take me there and leave me with the headless woman, who was quite horrifying to a 7,8,9 year old. Finally my mother's friend decided to take me there to show me that it would not hurt me and that it was all fun. Up until this point every time we went past or near it I would hide my head and keep very quiet, a huge feat for the chatterbox I was, I was scared to death one of those people would be coming out to get me. I was told by my sister that they could "SMELL MY FEAR". So I get the courage to go with my mother's friend, who promised her and her big strapping football playing son would protect me. So we drive to the castle, get in line and wait for what seemed like an eternity, and when the door finally opened I let out a blood curdling scream and wet myself. It was mortifying, I wanted to die. Needless to say I never made it in the doors. After that embarrassing incident every time we saw the commercial my sister would throw clean underpants at me. And then just this year my sister bought me a phone that had that theme {Bach I want to say} as one of the rings, and she thought she was so clever because when I opened the package in front of everyone what did I find but several pairs of underpants. I have since conquered my fears but I will forever be known as "The Girl who wet herself in line for an amusement" I must say all these years later I am so disappointed I never made it through that castle. Reading all of these emails and this terrific website is so much fun.


Dave D.

My first trip to the castle was in 1977.  I was eleven at the time as me and my best friend Ken, his sister, her girlfriend, and boyfriend were staying in Avalon in a home that my buddy's mom had rented for several weeks. Obviously the ads for the castle ran constantly on TV all day and night. So one night we made the trip up to Brigantine. It was a warm summer night in August and I couldn't believe how big the castle was. It was incredible to me!  I remember walking into a large room filled with paintings and waiting with my friends and a group of other people to take the tour of the castle. Then all of a sudden the room went dark and then appeared Dracula warning us of the consequences of entering the castle. I can't remember most of the rooms I went in. I remember the tilt room, the hall with rats, overlooking the street from the top of the castle, some of the actors, but it seemed like it was over too quick. I think the whole tour lasted for about 15 minutes. It's been so long ago! I do remember sitting down for dinner and watching on the news the highlights of the castle fire. What a tragic end!  Damn!  Now I surf in the general area of the castle and try to reflect on that summer of 1977 and the good times I had with my friends.
8/30/06 I spent my summers in Brigantine and spent many nights at the Brigantine Castle. It was really the only place to hang out. I can't believe there are so many others out there who miss the Castle and the great times had there. Does anyone remember when the place across the street was an arcade? I remember my girlfriends and I buying cigarettes from the vending machine there and watching guys (like my brother Steve Fitzpatrick, Joe DeMarco, Walt Pooley, Kelly VonEllington, Spencer Lyons, Hubie Conover, Bob Kedziora, Kenny McGallen, etc.) play pool. There were many others but I can't remember their names (even though I made out with a couple of them under the lifeguard boat near the Castle!). But, seriously, what great memories............


I was so excited to see this website. I am a product of the 70's and remember going to Atlantic City and Brigantine castle many times as a child. My parents preferred it to wildwood. The commercials on the site were great, I remember the headless woman and how it used to scare me. The fondest memory I have of the castle was when I went on my birthday and before exiting the castle one of the female actors said they were going to chop my head off and put it on my birthday cake. It scared the crap out of me.
7/13/06 While I am a bit too young to remember the castle in its heyday as I was only 2 when it closed I grew up in it's shadow, moving away from Brigantine just shortly before it burned down. I have many people in my family who worked in and around the castle including my father Dana Engesser, his wife Eva and my step mother Barbara Eyde. While to my knowledge none of them worked in the haunted attraction itself I believe my father worked in the arcade and Barbara and/or Eva worked in a stand selling pizza on or near the pier. I know it's a long shot but I was wondering if anyone else on here knew or remembers them. If so please contact me at SuprStr2k@aol.com. The castle made a great impression on me even being closed for most of the time that I knew it and I work in the Jenkinson's Funhouse to this day, while it is nothing compared to the castle for three years I convinced the owners to allow me to give the funhouse a "makeover" for Halloween but was later banned from doing so due to the fact that I was "scaring the patrons too much". Inevitably every year at least one parent would come back to the register with their screaming child and remark that they had not been scared like that since the last time they went to the Brigantine castle which was all the assurance I needed that my haunted funhouse was a job well done.


I too remember with great fondness, Brigantine Castle. I went there sometime in the mid-70's. I was around 12 or 13. My mother took me and we waited in line for about an hour, but we were 1st! I remember at one point being asked if I wanted to participate in a portion of the day's entertainment. Not being a shy girl, of course I said yes. I had to lie in a coffin with the lid closed and wait til our "host" said a "magic" word and then slowly I would open it up and move about. Of course it scared the crap out of everybody. My mom thought I would probably make it big someday! I also remember the rat room and the headless lady. After we were done there we ate at a nice restaurant and talked about the Castle. The commercials for BC had music that my brother and I loved and years later while at a Yes concert, the band played the very same music to open the show. I thought I was in heaven as it reminded me of some really fantastic memories!!!

Thanks for the great flashbacks!

Pamela F., Massachusetts


I was 9 years old in 1977, the summer my grandparents took me to Brigantine. I had spent the entire summer staying with them in NJ. I LOVED the Brigantine Castle!!! The thing I remember most was something crawling all over my feet, freaking me out....the rest was so scary to me that I can't recall the details of going through the castle. All I know is I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! I do remember winning The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album on the boardwalk. It was the most fun I had that entire summer. Every so often, I have thought back on the Brigantine Castle and how much fun I had there. It was only tonight that I was telling my son about it, and decided to look it up online. I am sad to learn that the castle burned down.
4/25/06 As young children both my sister and myself were dragged through Brigantine Castle sometime in 1977 by our mother. I have to say it was the scariest thing I can remember and the memories of what occurred that day still haunt us to date. The one small iota of justice was that towards the end of the "tour" when you walk down the spiral staircase towards the bright light and the noise of chains rattling the arm that reached out to grab at our mother as she walked past forced her to press herself against the wall and lose control of her bladder! God only knows how we managed to keep ours under control!

Scared for life!

Lori, NJ


Hi. I visited the castle ONLY ONE TIME, and I have never forgotten the experience. It was around 1975 and I was 9 years old at the time (I'm almost 40 now). It was my mom, my older brother and myself. We walked in and were directed to the Dracula room. I will never forget standing there thinking...ahhhhh this is not too scary, but then Dracula made his appearance and nearly scared the crap out of me!! Then it was downhill alll the way!! I remember we were in a group, and in one of the rooms, there was a guy carrying a huge axe. Everyone made it out of the room, except for me and my mom. He had my mom cornered and I was yelling at him to please let her go. SOOOOO, he turned his attention to me. He cornered me and started coming towards me with the axe raised. I was soooo scared and my mom was telling me to RUN, RUNNN!! I think I flew out of that room!! I remember the rat room, with that ugly witch who really scared the rest of the crap out of me, especially when we had to walk past her, and her saying "those of you who have open toed shoes, watch out, because the rats like to nibble at your toes, and guess who had open toed shoes??. That's all I had to hear, I was ready to leave, but my mom made me stay. Those of you who have been at the castle, must remember that there was a railing at the exit and there was also a witch who was screaming at everybody to get out of her house. She didn't have to tell me twice, I leaped over the railing and got out of there as fast as I could!! And I can still remember it, as if it was yesterday and needless to say, I never went back, and that ruined me for going into any other haunted houses to this day!! I have kids of my own, and they ask me all the time to go into haunted houses, and I refuse to go. They just don't understand, I have been traumatized for life and I want to thank the actor(s) who did such a GREAT job at scaring the crap out of me!!! P.S. And as for my brother, nothing phased him!!

Thanks for letting me share my story!! I am sorry that the castle is gone, I would have loved for my kids to have experienced it the way I did, BUT with somebody else, NOT ME!!

Pete C.


Awesome site. Two things I remember. If it was too scary you were allowed to leave through a special door and not take the whole tour. I played Skee Ball there every Monday when my family would go to the Castle and I saved my tickets for a really big prize. By the time I had thousands of points worth of tickets, the Castle closed. I still have the Brigantine Castle poster with the purple background. Anyway, great site.
Tracey Sharpe, VA


I remember going thru the castle with my uncle and aunt, My aunt always wore a hairpiece like a small “bun” she carefully put into place when she went out. When we were walking thru the “Hall of rats” where rubber hoses rubbed against your feet thru a small corridor in the pitch black, my uncle Jim pulled my aunts bun off her hair and threw it into the crowd and screamed RAT! Needless to say all hell broke loose and everyone went wild screaming. I wish the castle was back so I could take my kids thru it and show them how much fun it was.
Will Ashton


HI, WOW the castle.  I worked at the castle in 81 and 82 with Seth and Terry Sarris and Rich C. What a good time. The best summers I ever had!! I wish I could remember everyone I worked with. (Worked.. who am I kidding, It was more like one big party that never stopped) My name is Will Ashton I grew up in the Brig. Went to both schools and ACHS. I surfed on 26th AND 39th Street. We used to jump off the pier by the candy store when the tide was in with my best friend Tony Sarris. We met a lot of girls Shoe Bees Pa girls rocked.  Lizz Becker is still number 1 in my life. We met in 79 and we would go to the castle all the time.  Boy do I miss those times and the people. What a blast from the past to see this site. I want to make a shout out to Steve Chavootion, Mike K, 100 ponder, Joe Stafanski, Joe DeMarco, Dave Holmes, Jack Webster, Frank Rosetti, Pooch (Butcha) and everyone at the only place I will ever call my home town. Oh yeah, who can forget the arcade across the street from the castle and who could forget the Rod and Reel and the green head egg next to it. We would buy the beer (under age) and other things. COUGH COUGH, then take it down the path next to the pier and party in the dunes ... I wish we all could go back for just one week and do it all one more time. This is Lizz, Jay-Bird McLaughlin was my bestest pal in the world. I still miss him dearly... Everything's better when it sits on a ritz....Free-Bird W/Love xoxoxox






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