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HAUNTED MANSION OF LONG BRANCH

EMAILS & STORIES (2003)

This section of our site is devoted to emails about the Haunted Mansion or our site.  If you have any intriguing stories about the mansion, please email them to us so we can include them here.

NAME/DATE

CONTENT

Jaime Calesimo

12/4/03

Who what a blast from the past! This site is great! I still tell people till this day about the haunted mansion we had here in Long branch. And you cant explain how different from any other this was. I remember Lizzy Borden and that whole story I remember holding on to my brother for deal life swearing that I will never go in there again... But I kept going back also remember the woman at the door! By the way she was my lunch lady at LBMS..Ill never forget the day that the pier burned it was my mothers birthday people came from all over to watch Long branchs history go down in flames. At least we all have good memories... Hey What about STUFFYER FACE I still cant forget the taste of those Strombolis.
Christina Wetzel

12/3/03

All I can say is WOW! This brought back some memories of how a lot of us kids spent the long summer days. Hanging out at the Bumper boats, and The haunted Mantion. It brought back some happy times......Thank God, we have the some picture to remember it by.
Jennifer Buck         West End, NJ

12/3/03

I grew up in Keyport, now living in Long branch for almost 10 years now. my dad used to bring me down on saturdays in the summertime. I was scared out of my mind to go in, i regret it now because my husband who grew up here has so many stories of the mansion. my cousins lived on Melrose Terrance, and i would stay down for a few days and go swimming in the pool. What i thought was great was walking under the street to go to the beach. But, i never would go in the Haunted Mansion due to the person who would stare at you so bad that that would make me even more scared to go in. Oh, i wish they had built the boardwalk back up, i'm 32 now and it takes alot to scare me now and i know my kids would love it!!!!!!!!!
Bob Angelini

12/2/03

Great Website -better memories. Thanks for putting this up. Re: the Long Branch Haunted Mansion... First lets dispel some rumors. The Frankenstein character never got shot. He got punched quite a bit, and did his share of punching, but never shot. I recall shots at the Pier Pub, but they were of Jack Daniels after working a 12 hour shift (I was 18 of course!). Carmen Ricci and Pat Ciccalese were the owners. I was always afraid of Carmen. No particular reason except he used to walk through the building and fire kids on the spot for not working, and I didn't want to get fired. Pat was a bit laid back and more friendly. Overall, both were great to work for. I couldn't ask for a better job as a kid. We worked mostly 12-14 hour days for about 2.25 an hour. (Man...I feel old now.) I was 15 when I started working there in 1978. You had to be 16 but that's another story.

Lil Grauman was the manager and our immediate supervisor ... but mostly our friend. Great work ethic and very professional. She actually was (and still is) very young to have such responsibility. You didn't mess with Lil. I learned early on that Lil loved "spinach con queso" dip from the boardwalk so I kept her in the dip. Yes, I learned my best brown-nosing techniques when I was 15!

We met early in the morning and prepared for the day. Lil would make the schedule, Scott Coulter, Terri and Dave, Don, Annie, Mike Kinsey and Jack Kinsey did technical stuff, Security and a little bit of everything else. Annie Rielly sleeping on the beach and helping me solve the world's problems, Wolf-Puppy (R.I.P.) , Dave at the back door with the fake rat in one hand and the customers in the other. The ghosts in the Cathedral. The sweaty mirror against your face in Headless, The old chemicals in lab jars in the morgue and rat tunnel that will surely cause our premature death someday. There was Presentation if you were good enough to be Dracula. Lizzy Borden (Manulli was the BEST!) or Lester Borden if they ran out of girls. Listening to the Psycho sound loop for 10 hours straight and drinking water out of a hose protruding from the nose of an old man mask... I forget his name...but he had one.

Little Donna, (I think she was a real ghoul..no one ever checked her credentials.)... Manulli my best partner (that nut), Mag Ellis, Liz Young, who deserved an Academy Award for every performance, and ELAINE!!! Hmmmmmmmmmm ELAINE!!!

There was Dr. Rattenhimmel, Headless, Morgue and all of the extras...scaring people with an old sneaker, the busses filled with people from the city...falling all over each other and screaming "my shoe...my shoe" because you appeared and said "Boo!" There was "Mummy", "wolf", "back ramp", cathedral, grave yard and the banquet scene to name a few.

We lived, laughed and loved for a short time at "The Mansion." We were a family and are still "connected" even though we have lost touch. Hope to see you all someday...

11/30/03 I was born and raised in the Elberon section of Long Branch. After college I spent a few years living in New York City but I missed living down the shore. Now I have moved back to Long Branch and have witnessed the redevelopment first hand. No matter what the city officials decide to put in that area, nothing will ever take the place of that pier. These pictures really send you back down memory lane and leave you wondering what this city could have been and what the people of Long Branch could have benefited from this great place. I was only 14 when that fire destroyed this town. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at freshman baseball practice at the Iama field on Indiana Ave. We could see the black smoke and hear the roar of many fire engines. As practice ended a few of the players that lived in Elberon walked home and when we hit Woodgate and Cedar Ave. we saw a fire truck from Wall Tsp. we immediately got our bikes and rode as fast as we could to find the fire. Eventually we ended up at the batting cages across from the Mc Donald's. I remember that day was very windy and the fire seemed to jump from store to store. I also remember Mayor Huhn (at the time) save a firemen who fell through the boardwalk. Now as an adult I see this area and just think how many young people have been cheated from such a great place. But I guess the Hilton was to fill that void.
Joe Donato

11/29/03

One of my Cousins sent me this Web page and boy did it bring back memories of better days . I'm only 45 years old but I cherish those days that me and my other two cousins would be at Cramer's pool. We would ask our aunt and grandmother for some money to go get something to eat at Mike's at the corner of Ocean Avenue & Chelsea. You used to be able to walk into Mike's from Cramer's and that's exactly what we did, and then walked out one of the sliding glass doors with the money still in our hands and go on the bumper cars on the pier instead of getting something to eat! I cried like a baby the day the pier burnt. All I saw was my childhood going up in smoke. Thanks again for the great pictures.
Maritza, 36                  Ponce, Puerto Rico

11/29/03

THE FIRST TIME I WENT TO THE HAUNTED MANSION WAS THE SUMMER OF 1980 AND BOY THERE IS NO HAUNTED MANSION LIKE THE HAUNTED MANSION AT LONG BRANCH. WE GOT SO SCARED WE ALMOST TOOK MY COUSIN SWEAT PANTS OFF. THEY SHOULD BUILD IT AGAIN THAT WAS THE BEST. I AM MARRIED NOW I HAVE THREE GIRLS AND I TELL THEM ABOUT IT. I STILL REMEMBER LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY. THE GOOD OLD DAYS.
Kathy

11/26/03

I grew up in Long Branch. I can remember the summer of "83" like it was yesterday. I was 13. I can remember going to the Haunted Mansion, the water slide, Pistol Pete "s restaurant. I remember the swings and the rides at the boardwalk. I ALSO REMEMBER FOR A SHORT TIME THE ROLLER-SKATING AREA AT THE BOARDWALK, WE WOULD GO TO Max's FOR HOT-DOGS THAN WATCH THE PEOPLE ROLLER SKATING. All you heard blasting from the rides were "Michael Jackson's song "WANNA BE STARTING SOMETHING" OR Billie Jean" What sweet childhood memories came back to me while visiting this website. I remember the haunted mansion, Lizzy Borden, I can remember walking through one part of the mansion where the rats would grab your feet.,also the headless women. I'm so sad that my children will never get to experience what I did growing up in Long Branch. Its a shame it was never built back up. I will never forget my Junior Year at long branch High school. I remember we all left school to go watch the board walk fire. What a sad day that was. IT CHANGED EVERYONE'S LIFE FOREVER!!!!! 
Barragonis Wreap  (Tony)

11/26/03

I am completely blown away by your website !!! For seventeen years I have been searching for anything related to the Haunted Mansion and Brigantine Castle and your site has it all wrapped up in a nutshell.

I remember being in elementary school when the Mansion first opened and the urban legends went wild. The kids would say that half the people going through would never come out, and those that did would be covered with rats. They went on to say that if you angered the "Mansionites" they would be under your bed that night, or try to snatch you through a mirror in your room. Needless to say, I was ultimately terrified the first time I went through, but it turned out to be one of the most exciting experiences in my entire life, especially for a kid who loved horror movies as much as I. With some of the sets inside spanning three stories high, such as the Sacrificial Demon Pit and the Grand Dining Hall with its rotted ghouls dressed in Victorian finery, feasting on a human torso, served upon a silver platter, garnished with vegetables and entrails, it left a lasting impression. I soon became a regular patron of the Mansion and if I counted how many time I went through before its demise I would have probably set a record. Mostly due to the Mansion's influence, I began sculpting and building horror props for fun in high school art classes. After my senior year I approached Anne, the manager. I was overjoyed at getting a job on consignment making the actors' prop battleaxes and a few gargoyles. She also signed me up to be an actor, but my grueling day job in the construction field left me too debilitated, to my regret. Still, I helped to get Ken, one of my best friends, a job playing "Jason" and was able to act with him on the sets once in a while.

On June 8, 1987, the Mansion burned down and it left me severely hard hit. Frequently visiting its ruins I managed to salvage a few pieces of gatework from the cemetery set and a heat-warped bed grill from the Exorcist set, which was later used on the Nightmare on Elm Street set. I continued to build props over the next few years for myself; then eventually built quite a few pieces for Wildwood's Castle Dracula and Orlando's Terror on Church Street. Recently my most successful venture has been making gothic horror lamps and Necronomicon-style books for the Chiller Theater Horror Convention in East Rutherford, New Jersey. My friend, John, approached me with an idea to sell them on a website, and we started zmalice.com, where I also wrote a dedication to the Haunted Mansion, Brigantine Castle, Castle Dracula and Terror on Church Street with some rare interior pictures of these attractions.

After looking at your great site I was amazed to find that other dark amusement fans also would salvage the original Brigantine Castle stones from the parking lot. In fact, when I sculpt something that I want to relate to the "Mansion, Brigantine mythos" a small piece of the stone is incorporated into the armature. Such is the case with our website logo of a Demon materializing from a bottle, which is dedicated to the Mansion"s Nightmare Tavern set, or the "Brigantine wyrm" which was printed in "Amazing Figure Modeler" magazine, issue #25 in the readers gallery.

All in all, I think DARK IN THE PARK is awesome beyond description to the fans of the ultimate haunted attractions of the past.

Tom, Barnegat N.J.

11/12/03

 

THE FIRST TIME I WENT TO THE HAUNTED MANSION AT LONG BRANCH WAS THE SUMMER OF 1986. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT, I STILL TALK ABOUT IT TO THIS DAY WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY. MY FRIENDS AND I WOULD JUST KEEP GOING IN FIVE OR SIX TIMES A NIGHT. ONE NIGHT WE WENT IN SO MANY TIMES THAT THE WOMEN PLAYING LIZZY BORDEN GOT OUT OF CHARACTER AND STARTED TALKING TO US. IT WAS JUST SO AWESOME. NO OTHER HAUNTED ATTRACTION HAS EVER COMPARED TO THIS ONE. I REMEMBER WAITING FOR OPENING WEEKEND IN THE SUMMER OF 1987. MY FRIENDS AND I WENT AND THEY HAD CHANGED THINGS AROUND. THEY ADDED FREDDY KRUGER, JASON VORHEES WOULD CHASE YOU THROUGH THE STROBE LIGHT ROOM, IT WAS JUST AWESOME. THEN ON THAT MONDAY I HEARD ON THE RADIO THAT A FIRE HAD STARTED IN THE MCDONALD'S AND WAS THREATENING THE WHOLE PIER. I WAS SO MAD, ALL I COULD DO WAS HOPE THEY GOT IT UNDER CONTROL AND IT WOULDN'T GET TO THE HAUNTED MANSION. WELL THAT DAY HAD CHANGED MY PLANS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. THERE WOULD BE NO MORE HAUNTED MANSION AT LONG BRANCH. THE BRIGINTINE CASTLE HAD ALREADY CLOSED DOWN A FEW YEARS EARLIER AND I HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE ONE IN WILDWOOD. AS FOR BRIGINTINE I NEVER WAS THERE. IN WILDWOOD I HAD SEEN IT YEARS LATER, BUT NEVER WENT IN, BECAUSE MY WIFE HAD BEEN IN IT AS A KID AND WOULD NEVER GO IN AGAIN. NOW PEOPLE ATTEMPT TO PUT A HAUNTED ATTRACTION TOGETHER AROUND HALLOWEEN AND THEY ALL SUCK. THEY ARE NOT SCARY OR THEY'RE TO SHORT EITHER WAY THEY SUCK.
Twilight

10/24/03

I miss the haunted mansion. My sister and I went there every weekend. We are from wappingers falls and we drove there. There was a time we stayed there for the weekend and actually helped out scareing people. My sister ended up working there for a couple of weeks until she went back to college. Man this place was the best in the world...come back...come back...no body knows how to do a haunted place the way long branch did. Hats off to the owner.
Robin Perreira

10/24/03

I went to the Haunted Mansion when I was 7 and it TERRIFIED me. It was so scary to my older sister and brother, that the minute the door closed and Dracula greeted us, my sister pried the door open with her finger nails (because there was no knob on the inside) and she and my brother ran out. Somehow my mother and I didn't notice them do this, so we ended up going through it thinking there was a another way around that they ended up taking. We found out when we got out that my dad, who remained outside, watched us go in and then not even 5 seconds after the door closed, he saw my brother and sister running out hurtling the cue railings. LOL This was the 70's, when people in these places could touch you and get right in your face (pre-lawsuits) so my mother spent the entire walk telling the actors to leave me alone because I was only 7. They kept grabbing me. I ended up holding the hand of this tall guy in front of me most of the way (good thing he was patient and understanding LOL). I still remember things in it like the room set up like a funeral chapel where you had to enter by ducking a statue that swung an axe towards the doorway and the lower level that you looked down into that had all the guillotines and torture devices. It was CREEPY! It is a shame it burned down. I think it would've become a landmark. I wish I could go back now that I'm older to see if it would still be as scary to me.
Dana Gaspar

10/20/03

I actually was in the Haunted House with some other family members. It was one of the most frightening experiences I have ever had. At one point I turned around because someone was crowding me and I walked right into Frankenstein. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Well, about 6 weeks later we read in the newspaper that someone had shot Frankenstein. Apparently, they had had a gun and he had crowded up against this guy and he shot him (Frank lived to my understanding).
Ed Capuano

10/14/03

My family and I have a shore house in Rumson so when we were little we used to go to Long Branch. I was terrified of The Haunted House. I can still hear the music that played outside on the speakers and remember the witch that would let you in. I was only about 5 or 6 so I was too scared to ever dare go in. This site rocks though. Totally brings so many memories back.
Al Stavole

10/10/03

Here is my Haunted Mansion story. In the summer of 1979, me, my 2 older sisters and a couple of my cousins all decided to go into the Haunted Mansion and we did it with alot of confidence because we had been there many times before.

Well, we were in for a rude awakening!! The very tall guy who played the character of Frankenstein was hiding in a very dark corner of the hallway ever so still, I thought for sure it was absolutely a dummy.

I even said, look at that dummy standing there. His really ominous and deep voice started growling at us and he chased my eldest sister who was in her early 20's at the time and chased her down the corrider until she realized that she couldn't outrun him and she literally fell to her knee's crying and my older cousin, laughing hysterically had to go and pull her out. My poor sister!! It really just freaked her out. Your imagination can really get away from you in these scenarios... I was only 13 going on 14 at the time and now have children of my own and if the Mansion was still there, when they were old enough to handle it, I would have definately brought them there too. This is one of my favorite childhood Jersey Shore Amusement pier Memories EVER!!!!

Joycelin Bierach

10/5/03

The summer after I was graduated from high school, I worked in the Haunted Mansion. It was one of the strangest summers I have ever spent. If you worked there, you were expected to remember a few rules; the first one was not to laugh. That really isn't as easy as it may sound, even though you were surrounded by all those frightening things. All you had to do was walk around the corner sometimes, and people would start screaming and running away! Of course, you were wearing scary makeup, done by some of the most excellent makeup artists ever. It was truly a summer to remember.
Jodie

9/16/03

I just had to tell you, that I was sitting here at work, and for some reason "the haunted mansion at long branch" popped into my head. So I stopped what I was doing to look on the internet, to see if it was still around. I was really sad to see that is had burned down long ago, but I remember it being the BEST haunted house ever!!!! I went there in the early 80's when I was about 12-13 on a camp trip, and got the crap scared out of me. I remember the only way out was to walk this corridor where you believe tons of rats were (I don't know how they did it) but it felt like real rats nipping at your ankles. I think I climbed on someone' back so they could carry me out of there. So sad it is gone, but thanks for the memories.
John Rivera, 36

7/25/03

Some time in the early 80's, my parents and I went to the Haunted Mansion in Long Branch, NJ. My mother wouldn't go in but my step dad and I, trying to be macho, went in. We were first ushered into the library and then in to a church like room. There were pews were set up and a coffin towards the front of the room. I remember seeing a woman and her daughter looking into this coffin so I thought "Ok, someone's in there," and proceeded towards the coffin. Suddenly, I saw a woman sit up in the coffin and let out this piercing blood curdling scream! The other woman jumped back about 5 feet into the pews and ran out of the room screaming...without her daughter, only to be met by another "monster". Well, all I heard after that were screams...

One other memory was this: as my step dad and I progressed into the mansion, we heard a woman screaming and running towards us. We braced ourselves because it was almost totally dark in there and "spooks" were coming out of every nook and cranny. It was another "rider" running the other way!!! She ran into my step dad's arms and BEGGED him to get her out of there! He calmed her down and she walked with us the rest of the way out, crying and whimpering as we went. My step dad and I weren't feeling so macho when we got out of there, 45 minutes later.

This was the BEST haunted ride/walk I've ever been to till this day. I've been to Disney World, been to Coney Island in NYC. Nothing compares to the legendary Haunted Mansion in Long Branch.

Thanks for the memories! I hope one day someone builds a ride as great as this once was.

Jon Miranda

7/8/03

Don't you EVER take the Dark In The Park website down! You have my whole childhood wrapped up into that one website. I spent a majority of my youth on the Long Branch pier, but was always too scared to actually go in the Haunted Mansion. Other than the fantastic pictures, I can't believe that you actually have the TV commercials too! I remember them so vividly! Thank you so much for putting this site together and helping me remember a time in my life that I never thought I'd see again!
Hal Rappaport

7/2/03

The Mansion site looks great! Really a first class job! I love the commercials. Those and the Brigantine ones make me feel like a kid a again.

I never saw pictures of the actual fire before. That gave me more creeps than the mansion ever did.

 

 

 

 

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