Dark In The Park




Brigantine Castle Online

Emails 2019

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




Kurt Kuersteiner, Terror of Tallahassee Haunted House

I've visited Brigantine many times... but only in my imagination (thanks to the on-line tour at http://darkinthepark.com/Brigantine/Emails/internet.htm ). I'm so thankful Paul Spatola took the time to write out that detailed account (and contribute so many photos from his days as an actor there for your site). I'm in Florida and I was too young to have been allowed to visit in the day. I encourage everyone to read Paul's account. It's a delightful experience. 

To say I'm a big fan of haunted houses would be a gross understatement. Halloween was always my favorite holiday and I collected every monster card I could find as a kid. I assembled all the Aurora monster models, and my sisters and I built our own haunted house in our basement using refrigerator boxes! Disney's Haunted Mansion was such a thrill to see, and I continued to relive its excitement listening to Paul Frees narrate the Disney Lp record. 

As I grew older, I became interested in film (especially horror) and went on to film school, then worked for television in Harrisburg, PA, where there were dozens of fun haunted houses. When I returned home to Florida, I wanted to open my own. My on-line research enlightened me to two great inspirations: The Terror on Church Street (in Orlando), and Brigantine Castle in New Jersey. Both depended on good actors who interacted with the audience and broke through the 4th wall, making them more than witnesses, but rather, participants. They were both longer events, lasting 20 or so minutes, instead of the short 5 to 8 minute clip joints so many haunts are infamous for. And they all used smaller, intimate groups, rather than the long continuous lines that spoil the frights at Universal and other corporate giants. The memories they generated lived on long after both events closed. 

I'm happy to say my experience in the industry has been very positive. Our haunt (TerrorOfTallahassee.com) is still going strong since 1999 (despite moving a few times). We continue to admit only small groups, and keep them terrorized for 20+ minutes. We emphasize the people over the props (although we love our sets and elaborate illusions)! I love honoring these grand Halloween traditions, and although we can't bring back Brigantine Castle or Terror on Church street, we love channeling their excitement and frights every October! Thank you for the great website and Vive la terror!


David P. Makowski,

Philadelphia PA


My name is David P. Makowski. I am an occupational therapist from Philadelphia. I was born in 1967 and have vivid memories of the Brigantine Castle TV commercials which aired on Philadelphia's Channel 48 and 17. Those commercials ran a lot. So much so I begged my mother and father every summer to take me to Brigantine Castle. I believe I went through the Castle in the late 1970's. Upon entering the Castle I recall the grand table which had wax figures of the most evil individuals which existed throughout history. I know for sure their was a figure of Adolf Hitler. I would just be guessing at the rest however my father sure did take notice. I can still see his face as we gazed upon this crazy gather round. Of course I remember the picture in the first room or waiting room where actors would come alive and seeming jump out of the pictures lunging towards the visitors. I also remember walking the stairway and that feeling of rats claws on my legs with the realistic rat noises as we ascended. It was a killer view once at the top and a great feeling walking out. 

I did not know that Brigantine Castle was build in only 150 days starting in January 1976 completed by Memorial Day 1976. That is unbelievable. I remember when Brigantine Castle burnt down. I asked my father "why don't they re-build Brigantine Castle?" I sort of remember the August storm and hearing that Brigantine Castle was damaged however I mistakenly thought it had re-opened. Finally, I do remember seeing on the news Brigantine Castle on fire. Sadly I thought it would be re-built. I was still a kid so I didn't know any different. Now when I think about it I can see how Brigantine Castle was both a blessing and a curse for Brigantine Island. Sure the tourism was great for the local economy however the bathroom situation is a very sad story. I suppose the pier was planned without giving any thought as to where visitors could freshen up? Who knows? What I do know is Brigantine Castle was the greatest thing Brigantine Island ever had considering there is no boardwalk. Although only open from 1976 to 1982, those were (7) awesome summers. A great story for the history of Brigantine Island and an idea which will never ever happen again. At least I can say, "I was there", "I went through Brigantine Castle", and the commercials are stuck in my head forever. A "true" by gone era.


Kelli, Deleware

My family and I spent many summers in Brigantine, New Jersey. We would usually stay for two weeks around the Fourth of July. We always stayed in the Golden Dolphin Motel. We spent the entire day on the beach and would play in the parking lot in the nearby church. A stop to the Cumberland Farms for candy was part of the fun, too. 

We would go through the haunted castle every year. We would have at least one dinner at Mac's Snacks and would stop by the trampolines (ground level). We would meet new friends every year from Pennsylvania or New York. The motel had a daily continental breakfast that consisted of these amazing donuts . My mom thought they came from a bakery in Atlantic City. 

Unfortunately, we stopped vacationing in New Jersey to try out Rehoboth and Dewey beach in Delaware. I may have been back once about 20 years ago and fondly remember all of those summers spent in Brigantine. I need to plan a trip back , but I realize so much has changed.

Thank you Brigantine for so many great summers !!






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