Dark In The Park




Brigantine Castle Online

Emails 2007

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




Kevin Montgomery

Great web site! To be honest, I never experienced Brigantine Castle. I spent most of my childhood summer vacations in Ocean City, NJ. My grandparents would rent a house on 14th and Central Ave. and invite the entire family. And when I say the entire family I mean everyone, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters…everyone. (At one point, there would be over 20 of us crammed into that tiny beach house.) There was no room in the house for children to bed down so I, along with my cousins, would sleep out on the front porch in cots. What an incredible childhood experience. It was so much fun.

The closest we ever came to Brigantine Castle was an attraction on the Ocean City Boardwalk called “King Tut’s Tomb”. Actors dressed as mummies would chase you through a fun house adorned with Egyptian relics and scare the livin’ crap out of you. Every so often, as you stood outside on the boardwalk, one of the mummies would carry an unsuspecting patron (always an attractive young female) over his shoulders along the rooftops for everyone to see. Her screams served as a siren for all those who loved the thrill of being scared. I happened to be one of them.

I remember seeing television advertisements for Brigantine Castle and yearned to witness the “horror” first hand. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity. It wasn’t until a few years later; a schoolmate of mine invited me to spend a week with him at his grandparent’s house in Brigantine just a few blocks away from the abandoned castle. (This was after the castle closed and before it was destroyed by fire.) We spent most of our time either in the ocean or at the local arcade across from the castle. But no matter what you were involved in, you couldn’t help but avert your eyes toward Brigantine Castle. In the truest sense of the word, it was AWESOME.

I can still remember the landscape of this sleepy seaside community decimated by the ominous structure that shot straight up out of the ocean. Even though it was closed to the public and suffered from neglect, the mere site of it managed to leave a foreboding chill up your spine. The castle itself seemed to terrorize Brigantine. I have yet to see anything like it since and I doubt I ever will again.

Unfortunately, the politically correct and litigious society we live in today prohibits another terrifying amusement such as Brigantine Castle. I will always regret never experiencing it. I think this website is the next best thing. Thanks for the memories.



Great web site of Brigantine Castle. I just took my two kids to Halloween Horror Night at Universal Orlando which is suppose to be scary, but found myself longing for a real Castle. I told them about Brigantine and now I can show them. The actors made Brigantine Castle as much as the building and location - great to see they get the credit. Thanks for the great memories.
9/24/07 I was 4 years old when my mother took me and my two older sisters to New Jersey. We traveled a lot and I was along for the ride. My two sisters were 5 and 7 years older than me, so I'm sure they were well aware of The Haunted Castle! I wasn’t. I was supposed to go in with them while my mother did some shopping or what ever. I made it more then half way up the walkway and started bawling. My sisters tried to calm me down and tell me it was ok, but I wasn’t budging. I cried for fear of going in that place. My mother has a picture of me and my sisters standing on the walkway to the entrance of the castle, my eyes red from tears. I never made it in. My sisters did. The funny part about this whole story is, I have always loved horror movies as long as I can remember. Vincent Price, Borris Carlof. I loved to watch Creature Double Feature Saturday afternoon. I loved haunted houses and still do. Yet I would not go into Brigantine Castle that windy, gray sky, cool day in the middle of August of 1974. I remember worrying about my sisters and feeling that they had been in there too long. Thinking, what if they don’t come out?  

I don’t fully believe in spirits, but I know they are there. I know now that the castle had a history behind it. Maybe I sensed it. I don’t know.  If it were still there today I would go in only to get over my fear when I was 4. I believe it was truly haunted and finally put itself to rest for some reason. That’s my story. Wish I had the picture to prove it.  My mother has it along with 10 other family albums that I will have in my possession when she is at rest. Hopefully not any time to soon.


Maureen M. Cook

I grew up going to Brigantine in the 70's. What great fun we had every year at our house that was on the corner of Roosevelt Blvd. and Lincoln (I think) We were teenagers and hung out on the pier before the Castle was built and then hung out there and at the arcade across the street. I remember summer friends that lived there year round and I think their last name was Eberding. What fond memories of going there from Delaware and taking friends with us, meeting boys and kissing in those wooden life guard boats. (do they still have those? here if FL lifeguards use jet skis) Moved to Florida as a teen and went back to Brigantine in 1986 what a disappointment to see everything so grown up there. Fortunately, I live in a small town south of Orlando on the water that is very much like Brigantine. Love your web site and the trips down memory lane~


My Grandfather used to take me, my brother and mother to the castle at least once a year throughout the 70's. It was the highlight of our summer and to this day I've never seen a haunted house that seemed too ominous.

Two memories stick out in my mind: in one, my mother inadvertently scared the actors in their dressing room as she went shrieking into into a doorway looking for her way out. In another, one of the frighteners had a fake snake and had us cornered; my mother was (again) the victim and there was a lot of shrieking and two (under 10) youngsters weren't too much help, until my older brother grabbed the snake from the guy and held it out a window or over a ledge (can't quite recall) and bartered for our mother's life. It was a brave things for an 8 year old to do to a ghoul.

I'm saddened that it (like so many of the things of my youth) are no longer in existence, but we'll always have the memories and someone (somewhere) will dream up the next, bigger and scarier castle.

8/12/07 I lived in Central New York, but I would visit relatives in the Atlantic City area every summer during the late 70's - early '80's. Brigantine Castle had such an impact on me and my cousins that we tried to make our own haunted castle on the beaches of Margate. We would harass people coming to the beach and pretend that we were working at a haunted house - never thinking that a bright sunny day with 11-12 year old kids with no costumes might not be exactly the most frightening thing, but we didn't care. 

My memories of Brigantine start with the anticipation you would feel. You would hear the Bach piece and get scared, but we would usually then go and do the arcade games, etc. on the pier. It was fun, but you would feel a sense of dread, knowing that you still would have to go through the castle. Everyone who worked there was great - it was terrifying even paying your money to the person. Nothing was watered down for young kids - none of this cutesy haunted house stuff some places have now. The Baronial Hall was so scary. It was such a great idea to have those historical and fictional "evil" people all together. It really did a number on your mind. 

I remembered so much more going through this website, such as the girl under the glass, the headless woman, etc. I remember clearly being chased at top speed up or down the stairs in the dark - a potential liability nightmare - I am not sure business owners would allow that these days. Of course, the first time we went (probably 1978 0r 79) was the most frightening, but it was always great. Last visit would have been in 1984, I guess. I clearly recall getting out on one of the parapets and wanting to just get out - it was torturous because you could see the ocean and the cars and smell the clean air, but you knew you had to go back into the castle for more. The actors were all great. I remember a friend yelling "Jesus Christ!" when he got scared and the actor said, "He's not in here" with a Cockney British accent that chilled all of us. 

Years later in college I got the chance to finally work in a haunted house in Myrtle Beach, SC, but it was small and didn't have the same "Take no prisoners" attitude that Brigantine seemed to have. Every Halloween I try to find places to go to for good scares, but nothing seems to match the drama of visiting the Brigantine Castle.

8/12/07 In the 70's I was about 8 years old. My Mom, Uncle Steve and Aunt Sheila loaded my 2 older brothers 14, 11 years old, me 8, my sister 7 and the 2 babies to Brigantine. We had watched that commercial so many times we could hardly wait. We were finally going. We were coming from Philadelphia. 

Well my Mom was pregnant so she could not go in (remember there was a big sign warning you if you had a heart condition or pregnant you shouldn't enter). So she let my sister and I go in with the rest of the family. We didn't want to go without her. we were scared. But she reminded us that we were not coming back and this is what we came for and that she would be here when we came out. 

In the first room, the one with Dracula's portrait, we were separated from the family. I think the group was divided in two. Well I remembered being scared the whole time, the witch swing the axe asking about Toto in the crooked room, the lighted popping Plexiglas walk way, the jumping out the terrifying screams and noises. 

But the castle got to my sister and I when we saw the petrified man who was scared to death by the room of rats. My sister and I turned to the side of the building and were outside at the top of the castle looking down at the cars that looked like dots. We were crying saying, "Mommy please come get us." My Aunt took my sister in and I heard her screaming. I said I wasn't going in there and blocked the doorway. There was 10-15 people trying to push me in but couldn't. Then this big Caucasian guy tore my hand from one side of the wall and I jumped on his back and rode him through the room. He was trying to get me off of him. I didn't let go till I saw some light and came down on the steps. I still felt a foot trapped in my sandal strap and I ran screaming to find my Aunt and sister. 

The last thing I remember is trying to squeeze by a cage with my Aunt and sister waiting for something to happen. When someone I can't remember jumped out and scared my sister and my Aunt's purse flew and spilled out down the stairs over by the scary person. It was soooo funny, she was trying to get my sister to come back to help her but she was gone. Brigantine was GREAT!!!!!



I wanted to thank you guys for providing all of this history about the Castle. I spent every summer in Brigantine until I was 27, and moved to Texas. My cousins were one of the original workers of the pier. My cousin Dan D'Ambrosio managed the pier for many years. All of my cousins (Dave & Dean D'Ambrosio) and myself actually worked the game stands. It was like a big family. I was so sad when I found out the beloved castle was being torn down along with the pier. So many great memories, and at a time when it was safe to be a kid and have fun. I miss Brigantine since moving to Texas 10 years ago. I was able to visit in 2004, and my kids LOVED the beach!

When we walked on the beach I told them all about the castle and the pier that used to be there... I am going to share your website with my kids, so they can now see what I was talking about. My family still lives in Brigantine, and Absecon.

Thanks again for keeping the haunted castle memory alive. Muhahaha


Donna Vitello

Wow, my friend and I were just talking about the castle and I was browsing online to show her pics because she came to jersey years after it was gone, and I gotta tell ya, what a great web site. Boy wouldn't it be great to have it around today? And what a money maker it would be for the owner. Someone should build it up and open it again, they would make millions!!! There is nothing in brig. Again you did an amazing job on this site!!! Thanks for sharing memories.


Hello from Chicago! I grew up in the Phila suburbs and remember the castle from my trips to the shore in the mid to late 70s. Thanks so much for keeping the castle "alive"! Jack

Rich Mecoli

Worked at Nicky's stands and his sister Joann's jewelry in 1979. Great time, lots of memories went down with that pier. Miss Lill and Mike's Candies.... Looking at the pictures brings me back to another life...Thanks. richm@ribbons-express.com. Like to contact anyone who was there in '79, '80...


I grew up going to Brigantine. the whole family would meet there every August to celebrate my great-grandfather's birthday. I remember the castle being built and was horrified when it burnt down. What I remember the most is the day my father and his cousin John finally took myself, my sister Cheryl and my cousin Kim to the castle. Kimmy swore that she wasn't scared and as we searched our way through the beginning of the castle she kept up the facade but when we reached the final exit before the major part of the castle she bolted through the door like there was no tomorrow. The rest of us finished our tour and found her sitting outside. The next time we went to the castle she didn't even try. This is one of the most vivid memories I have as a child. Thanks for the memory trip.


When I was about eight years old, my parents purchased a home in Brigantine, and we would spend the summer there. I lived up on the pier all summer long, and maybe went through the castle 2 to 3 times per summer. It was a very big deal, and I really looked forward to it. I loved The Brigantine Castle. I remember the knot I would get in my stomach just walking up that steep ramp to the pier, and you could here the music blasting from the Castle. Every time I hear that music, I remember the castle. I am now 37 years old. I still go to Brigantine every summer. I lived in Brigantine for two years while I attended Stockton State College. When I cross that bridge into Brigantine, some kind of calm comes over me. I can not describe it. But, I think a lot of it has to do with my happy memories of my summers on the pier, spending all my money on video games, hoarding my tokens all summer so I could cash them in for a really good prize that I had my eye on all summer long, and going through the Castle, and just being scared to death, but loving every minute of it. I just wish my children could have experienced the Brigantine Castle. Thank you so much for keeping this website going. Now, I can show my kids the pictures, and share my memories.
6/19/07 Hello, I am writing to let you know I wish the Castle was around today. I am a lot younger then most people who email you. I was born in 1982.  I am 25 years old, born and raised in New Jersey, and I am a big horror fan. I did not have the opportunity to have experienced the Castle since I was too young at the time. I have read and looked at pictures on your site and I have to say I really do wish I was able to see and experience it...sounds like it was really scary. I have to say I agree with a lot of people who wrote  that right now there is nothing around that is like Brigantine Castle. It is sad to say because it would be nice if someone would build and reopen the castle. I really would have been at the castle a lot if it was still there today. I hope someone will do something like bring the Brigantine Castle back to life so this generation and generations to come can experience the legend of the castle.

Lou Baker

Great website. My parents took me to the castle the very first season it was open, and on up to 1980. I have a lot of really great memories of that time, the castle, the music (I had to hum the tune to a guy in a Tower Records store because I didn't know the name of the piece so I could buy the cd), but that was how much of an impression it made. I now have a small collection of classical music cd's because of that. It's ok, but Genesis and Van Halen still rule.

Anyway, while I was there in 1980 I met a girl who was a resident of Brigantine and lived on Roosevelt Blvd, right on the corner by the circle with the lawn and bushes. Her name was Michele (sorry but I can't remember her last name).  At the time she had braces, red hair and was about 15 or 16 years old (I was 16 at that time).  I met her on the beach one day and we hung out every chance we could. We were only down for a couple of days, I think, when it was time to leave (we lived in Philadelphia).  I was really busted up over that. My grandmother was in a nursing home for the time we were vacationing so my Mom didn't want to leave her too long. When she saw that my Grandma was doing good my parents decided to head back to Brigantine for a WEEK. I was in about as much puppy love as a 16 year old could be. The minute I got there I raced to her house to see her again. I get across the street from her house and she sticks her head out her bedroom window and tells me she's grounded.  UHG.  Thankfully it didn't last

It was probably the last totally innocent relationship I ever had with a girl and it left a really sweet memory. Anyway about halfway through the week my Grandmother dies and we have to go home. I was brokenhearted. I asked my parents if they would drive me to her house so I could say goodbye. My Dad didn't want to, he thought we should leave right away.  My Mom took one look at me, and even though she was grieving, said ok. I went up to her door, told her what had happened and that I had to leave. We exchanged numbers and promised to call.  I remember kissing her goodbye while Jackson Browne's song "Boulevard" was playing on her stereo. My parents had parked about a block away so it gave me time to dry my tears before I got to the car. 

I remember Michele called me a couple of times but I never returned her calls. It hurt so much at that time, knowing we couldn't be together, my little 16 year old heart didn't know how to handle it. Michele if you ever read this I just want to say I'm sorry I never called you back. I was a dumb kid, and you gave me one of the fondest memories of my childhood. Ironically, I would find this out much later in life that my future wife was spending her days hanging out at the arcade across the street from the castle at the time I was vacationing there. Back in Philly, she grew up not more than one and a half miles from me. We had a lot of the same friends but never met until I was thirty. When one door closes a window opens someone once said. Anyway, that's my Brigantine memory. Sincerely Lou Baker



I can't believe you have a Brigantine Castle page. I've just spent the last 2 hours reading every letter, and absorbing every picture. Amazing what memories it all brought back.

I'm 37 years old and I grew up in Berlin, NJ, about 40 miles from Brigantine. From the moment I saw the first commercial for the Castle when I was around 10, I was hooked. I begged and begged my Mom to take me. Eventually she gave in...and we had a blast. At first I was afraid (but that was the point, yes?) but as the Castle became a yearly and sometimes multi-yearly, day trip for us, I really began to appreciate the work and the love involved in bringing it to life.

Mom and I would take friends and family on occasion, but most of the time, it was just the two of us. Even after the Castle closed and the pier burned down, we would go see "where it used to be" every now and then.

About 6 years ago, my mother and some friends rented a condo just south of the Castle's former location and myself and my family stopped in for the day. We all walked to see the spot and relive the memories.

My mother passed away two years ago after a long, difficult battle with cancer. Seeing your site helped me remember a lot of the good times we had when I was a kid. Thanks so much for hosting it.


Bill Hunt

It's 3:30 am here in Pennsylvania and I have read with delight and sadness all the e-mails of memories of people that this attraction had touched in such meaningful ways. There is quite simply nothing that exists today to even come close to the experience of this beautiful castle. I can't overstate this, I'm 36 years old and the castle truly changed my life. The first time I knew it existed was when I was about 4 or 5 years old, I was watching "Romper Room" (the children's show) on a Philadelphia tv station and it was around Halloween time, every time the commercials came on they would play a Carvel ice cream commercial (with cookie-puss) and then the Brigantine Castle commercial (years later I find that such a strange television show to choose to advertise the castle with considering it was a very young children's show but I am so grateful they did) I immediately ran out to my mom and begged her to take me. I later saw the commercial on other occasions (usually late at night while watching 'creature double feature' horror movies on that same channel) but my most vivid memories of the commercial were from 'romper room' that very year, my Pap (my grandpa) told me that him and several of the relatives go to Atlantic City every year and it was very near Brigantine, and they would go through the castle and tell me about it. I have many special memories of my Pap but those days of him coming back from Atlantic City and Brigantine are some of my very favorite memories of him, I miss him greatly. Him and my Nan would always bring me back keepsakes, like a Brigantine Castle poster, a bumper sticker, the t-shirt, (all of which I still have) and the last year he went he brought the ultimate souvenir, they actually somehow got a piece of the castle (the stone was made of Styrofoam) it is one of my most prized possessions and I keep it in a special place. After 2 or 3 years of him telling me stories of all that was inside the castle, I finally convinced my mom and dad to take me. I was so terrified that I almost refused to go in but thankfully my mom quilted me into going inside (since they drove all the way from central Pennsylvania just to take me) and it was everything I ever dreamed it could be. Each room was thought out, the actors and actresses were amazing and obviously loved what they did, and it was just pure bliss. I began an obsession with all things horror (in particular haunted attractions) at this point in my life which lasts even to this day. A few years went by and in the mean time I went to every amusement park or ocean's boardwalk that I could find, seeking another haunted house up to the level of Brigantine and could never find anything that came close (except for 1 time, in Daytona Beach Fl. there was a castle called Frankenstein's Castle that had a very similar design and many of the same room concepts including the painting where Dracula jumps out, I've often wondered if the same people designed this attraction as well) I finally was able to go back to the place I obsessed about for so many years, it was 1983 (I believe) my final trip to the castle, my mom and myself and a few of our friends went to see a band they knew play in Atlantic City, the only reason I agreed to go with was because they promised to take me to the castle...when the time came they tried to back out of it and wanted to save time and go home early, but I begged and whined (and I might have even cried, at the age of 12) until they agreed to take me. Thank God I did because the castle closed for good very soon after. It was everything I remembered, I especially remember the banquet room with all the characters sitting around eating and of course the rat bridge and room and the headless woman. Another vivid memory I have was the dungeon arcade located under the castle, I haven't seen anyone else talk about that, but it was beautiful, it had suits of armor everywhere and shields and swords etc. and all the top video games (I still have a souvenir coin from the dungeon that I keep in a safe place) and of course across the street was another great arcade... Many years after the castle unfortunately burned down, I brought my family (my wife and our daughter) to the site where the castle used to be and I felt so sad that something so beautiful, which had such obvious love poured into it, could be replaced by an empty parking lot. For many years, I would go to Castle Dracula in Wildwood, just to try and catch the smallest hint of what Brigantine was (the outside structure was beautiful and it had the same Dracula painting stunt) but it could never compare. Castle Dracula seemed to get shorter every year, until the final year I went through there were only 4 rooms (if memory serves me) and it took all of 6 minutes to go through...unfortunately my wife and daughter were never able to experience Brigantine Castle which took approximately 45 minutes to tour and just was filled with such emotion and care and love. People today have no idea what they are missing, attractions like Brigantine are nowhere to be found and I have no idea why. Amusement parks build 8 or 9 roller coasters but no haunted attractions. It seems silly to me but then again I toured Brigantine Castle and it changed my life. I hope so much that one day someone will be wise enough to invest the time and money and re-create an attraction like this, obviously many of the former employees feel the same and from the e-mails many many people would visit in droves with their families. I realize the town would be opposed but if someone had enough money to safely build the attraction, I don't think the township could prevent it if there was enough of an outcry of support. To sum up my feelings, I'm 36 years old and a professional musician now, in my stage performances I portray a vampire vocalist in one of the recording bands I am a part of, which is a direct result of my early childhood exposure to the castle, and I do plan on one day opening a year round haunted house in my home state of Pennsylvania, and I plan on putting the same pride and love into each room and each performance that I saw in the rooms of Brigantine Castle. I hope to re-create that kind of feeling for a whole new generation of families. One thing no one could ever say about Brigantine Castle was that it was for wimps, they took pride in making it truly scary (unlike 90 percent of all haunted attractions that exist today, if you can find any at all) and the attraction I'll be opening will also be truly scary, complete with warnings (like Brigantine had) that it may not be suitable for young children (I'll probably have a less scary attraction near by so I can also get the younger crowd started with their love of all things horror) There is nothing like Brigantine Castle in the world, it was one of a kind, and I hope and pray someday someone brings it back, the world could really use it! God bless you all for giving me the memories I have, God bless you for creating this site so we can cherish these memories, and may God bless all who read this!

Paula Meyer

Good God almighty, reading these emails has really brought back so many memories!

I posted a few years ago, but thought I'd chime in again. I'm a tried and true Brigantine native, born and raised on the island (my sister is Cathy Meyer, brother is Bob Meyer....grew up on 30th Street). The castle (or "pier" as we all called it) was a huge part of my early teenage years. Even the beach near there was referred to as "the castle beach". I so vividly remember being friends with two guys, Mike Spatola and Jim Pashley, who worked in the tilted room. Summer nights, circa 1977-79, were spent trying to figure out how to get down to the castle.......ride our bikes, walk, take the bus down the avenue? Every time you'd be walking down Brigantine Ave/Blvd in the summer, it seemed that every other car would stop and ask, "Do you know how to get to the Brigantine Castle?" Those were always shoobies from Philly.......real south Jersey natives KNEW the way to the castle/pier!

Now I live in northern NJ and people say weird things up here like "bennies" (instead of shoobies"), taylor ham (instead of pork roll), and they never heard of scrapple or chipbeef on toast. And they think "the shore" is anything south of Perth Amboy.........and the worst part: there's no Eagles or Flyers fans up here!

Our house on 30th was sold 8 years ago, after my folks moved to Florida.......that was a sad time for me! I miss Brigantine and all it's memories!

Nothing like growing up on that island! 



My name is Jodi and I remember the Castle very well!! I still tell my friends stories about the summers I spent with my grandparents at their home in Manahawkin, NJ. We would spend the days fishing, and I was able (somehow!) to convince them to bring me to Brigantine Castle in 1978 when I was 8 years old! I loved horror, so even though they thought I might have nightmares, they took me! We had the BEST time, and it became a SPECIAL treat once each summer to take the trip through the castle. I LOVED the commercial! The actors were great. To this day, I remember one particular room where you had to walk over a bridge. The bridge/walkway was covered in Plexiglas, and there were fake bloody body parts or corpses under your feet. I also remember the room where there were fake furry rats attached to the floor, so you felt like you were stepping on rats!! My grandfather loved the castle as well.. I think he got a kick out of seeing his little granddaughter walk through the castle laughing and having fun instead of crying like alot of the kids did! I am SO happy that you have this site up! Keep it going!!!! Forever in my memory... Jodi (now living in Phoenix, AZ)


Hi, I just wanted to share my little memory of The Brigantine Castle!!! I was looking over your site and it brought back the memory of the one and only time I ever got to experience the legendary place, and it was actually one of the earliest memories I have as a child.

I grew up in Brigantine, and I was about 3 or 4(1983-1984) at the time, and I had some family visiting that summer, so they had decided to go and check out the castle. I don't have too much that I remember, but I do know that as a young child I was scared to death, and apparently so was an older cousin, because she wet her pants!!!! It was alot of fun. And I think that place was what brought about my love for horror and haunted things. And at least up until my early 20's I had the chance to visit the haunted castle in Wildwood NJ, which didn't even compare to that, but still, it was nice. But sadly, that too was destroyed by a fire.

I am sitting here looking over the site, and a big part of me wishes that someone would bring back all that excitement that one of these places gives to people of all ages. Here I am, almost 30, and if the Brigantine Castle were still around, I know that I'd be going there til I was well into old age!!!!

Thanks for letting me share my small memory, it's nice to still think about it!!!






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