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HAUNTED MANSION OF LONG BRANCH

EMAILS & STORIES (2004)

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

Debbie (Wasson) Tantarelli

10/23/04

I was talking to my sister last night and the subject of the Haunted Mansion in Long Branch came up. That is where we spent most of our childhood.

I was a former employee at the Haunted Mansion since 1982. The past employee's you mention in all of your articles and the pictures you have shown brings back very wonderful memories.

My name is Debbie (Wasson) Tantarelli and I remember all of these people as my very close friends, it was like one big family of ghouls and creatures of the night.

Mary Fornino, lived with me and my family. She was a foster child, but was like a sister to me. I hung out with Brenda Kinsey, Jack Kinsey, Michael Kinsey, Scott Coulter, Jim Mac Donald (God rest his soul-I had no idea until I read this website of his passing). Dave Bass, Annie Reilley, Lillian, Richard Bernard, Kathy Gouveio, Jade (Lauren)Green, Janice Dixon, Heidi (Wasson) Derickson, Elaine VanDevelde, Robert Angelo, Bobby, Ronnie, and Donny Day, Brette Barclay(formerly Mrs. Donny Day), and of course last but not least, Larry Wolf....Liver Himself. I dated liver for about 7yrs. Yes............this place was family. I think that is what made this Scary place so much fun. We all worked well together. We scared young people and old. Camp Kids would lose there lunches, money, shoes because they were so scared.

There were scenes that a certain actor would make it there own. Scenes like Camp Crystal Lake....Dave Bass would certainly play that part all the time because he was so good. Not to mentiopn always work at the back door. Great Finale'.

John Davies (singer,songwriter of Secret Syde) would make Jack the Ripper into Cowboy Jack the STRIPPER AND I'M GONNA CUT THIS WENCHES HEAD OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Heidi Wasson perfected the headless woman...she fit right in.....we had a great crew and lots of fun.

I live in California now and to this day I have never seen another haunted house that scared the hell out of you anywhere but Long Branch New Jersey.

If anyone remembers me please feel free to contact me so we can shoot the breeze about old times on the good ole boardwalk. My email address is antndebtantarelli@sbcglobal.net. Please write.

Sure wish you would rebuild this mansion at the Long Branch Boardwalk, it was definately a piece of history. Miss you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Raymond Edwards

10/16/04

 

I grew up on the pier afraid of the house! But when i was brave enough I and my friends would go thru the horror and get to the rat cave! Underneath the Rats ,Was a space about 12 inches high just enough space for our 13 year old bodies to slip under.  I guarantee that no one else will give you this story! We would slide underneath the wood and stay there for a couple of hours . Any new visitors to the Mansion would wrath our fun . We would be under the rat cave . Waiting to grab peoples legs and feet , but no one person knew this besides our selfs , stealing peoples sandals as they scream in Horror it was the best time of my life!
Kelly Yamello

8/7/04

Coming across this website brought back so many memories. I came to Long Branch every summer to my grandparents house on N. Bath Ave since I was a baby. During my high school years I would bring my friends with me and we would sun tan on the beach and "Walk the Boards" at night.

The funniest time was when one of my friends got so scared in the Haunted Mansion that she actually had an "accident" and we had to run to the ocean after we got out of the mansion to wash herself off!!

I come back every year, and I am kind of taken back by all the changes that have been make in the last year, especially on the ocean front. But I'm curious to see how it turns out.

This Web Site has certainly brought back memories of all the fun I had at Scotty's Arcade, Jimmy's Jetty, and the Pier Pub and Max's (when it was on the boardwalk) and makes me remember my first love. Oh, and if anyone knows how Michael Fornino is, let me know.

Lou Corradi

7/20/04

Thank you so much for this fantastic website which brought back so many exciting memories. My friends and I drove to Long Branch from Brooklyn NY, and we laughed our butts off in the Haunted Mansion. Although we only went twice, we can never forget it, and we knew it was so ahead of it's time. Can you imagine what lawyers would do to that place today? The cast & crew was very innovative and talented, and I was so stunned when I heard about the fire. And those TV commercials.....they were classics too. Sadly, there is no such interactive haunted attraction at ANY theme park in the country today. Again, thank you, and I'm sending this site to all my friends.
Jessie Barrett

7/8/04

This is such a great website! My name is Jessie Barrett, my dad is "Big Al". I am currently writing a paper about my father's transition after the fire and I came across this website while doing some research. It is very cool reading all of these stories about the pier because I was much too young to experience it myself. I have a Kid's World t-shirt, which my older sister has been trying to get for years. I can't wait to tell my dad about this website (if he doesn't already know about it).  I am sure it will bring back so many memories for him. Keep the great stories coming!!!
Mary Diaz

6/25/04

I nearly cried when I found this website. I grew up in long branch just a few blocks from the pier itself. At night I could hear the Haunted Mansion music playing. To come across this site and see all the pictures was overwhelming. How very sad that our pier is gone. Everything is gone for that matter. The pictures, the music from the Haunted Mansion, and the commercials all brought back such great memories. I remember a few of us carrying large cardboard boxes to the boardwalk with a big boombox playing Michael Jacksons "You want to be starting something". We'd lay the boxes flat and have fun all day just breakdancing. I would go straight from a football game at Long Branch High still wearing my Green Wave cheerleading outfit to the Arcade to play Pac Man with my friend. To this day, I still have a little scar on my leg from the Haunted Mansion. I was a chicken, so when a creepy figure ran after me, I pressed into the wall, and somehow scratched myself. Talk about feeling nostalgic--Wow. Thanks for this awesome site. I'm so happy to have found it.
John Hubbs

5/22/04

I grew up on 83 first Ave one block east of the pier, which is now the Waterslide.  When I was 5 yrs old I used to walk barefooted to the arcade then owned by Leon Minogue "Mr Leon I called him" From that time until that tragic day I spent countless days both on the boardwalk and underneath finding change that all the tourists would drop. My brother Billy and I could find 3 or 4 dollars in a small space of time and that would last us for hours. We knew junior and all the old venders by name as they knew us the same.... In the late 60's this was a Fantasyland to my brother and I ....It only got better with age. I remember the day the haunted mansion opened you couldn't get a ticket at least not for hours. As time went on it became a little easier but still you waited a while and no matter how many times I went in, and knew what was around every corner I don't think I was ever not surprised or startled around every .turn. I'll never forget those spider webs along that one isle of stone.....you remember? if you don't, sorry you never really experienced the mansion properly. thank you for saving the pictures and memories this means more to me than I think anyone knows..........
Roj

5/17/04

I joined the Haunted Mansion Family at the beginning of its second summer season. My family and I had strong ties to the community and I lived but two blocks from the ocean and well within walking distance of the pier. It was the perfect employment opportunity for my situation at the time and I was grateful to have it. In all honesty, when I began working at "The Mansion" I regarded it as just a job but, within weeks the thirty plus people that comprised the summer cast became like family to me. I started out as an actor. I also worked there as a makeup artist and in my last season there a security guard. I donated a substantial inventory of professional costumes and props to the Mansion's wardrobe department which was still in daily use when I left. 

The original cast of the Haunted Mansion of Long Branch featured some of the most gifted actors and talented individuals any one could possibly imagine. People like Dennis Barton, who was a brilliant actor. His performance as "Jack the Ripper" perhaps his best role at the mansion, was never less than hair-raising and always delivered with bone chilling perfection; even after the 26th performance in a single shift. Bob Dinni's performance as Dracula was breathtaking. He just had a presence about him in that costume that radiated with such power it was as overwhelmingly hypnotic as it was frightening. There was Dave Bass who played a wonderful Frankenstein after the original Frankenstein was stabbed and nearly killed by a drunken customer. Christine Hansen, who was a superb make-up artist. Kathy Gouveia, John McGraw, Kevin (wolf puppy) and so many others. 

The job was not an easy one when the Mansion first opened and certainly it was down right dangerous during its first few years as any of the original cast would tell you. It was new territory to all of us, the owner, administrators and employees and there was a lot of trial and error going on in the Mansions infancy. In the beginning there was no rule about employees not touching the customers. There were no rules in place to protect the employees from customers either. People bought tickets and they were allowed in. It didn't matter if they were drunk, disorderly, or caring weapons and the actors paid in horrific ways for it. 

Many employees were injured, some seriously before the management decided to hire security. The security in the mansion consisted of a few private security guards in the Mansion during hours of operation to intervene in the event of a violent outburst. In and of itself, it did little to remedy the problems and the Haunted Mansion of Long Branch had plenty of internal problems. When employees who had been there from the start began speaking out and insisting the problems be addressed by the administration. Suddenly, these employees were told they would have to be available to work at Brigantine Castle when ever they were needed and it would be their responsibility to check the schedule to find out where they'd be working the night before. This created a big problem since many employees did not have transportation. They walked to work and the management knew it. 

The suicide of one of the original cast members after the 1978 season was ultimately the last nail for many if my memory serves. I recall a resounding confirmation by many, myself included, there would be no returning to "The Mansion" or "Brigantine Castle." It was time to move on. 

It has been many years since I have had any contact with any of the people I knew from "The Mansion" I said my goodbyes to everyone and moved far away in 1981. I have heard over the years from reliable sources that a number of the original cast members died; a few, quite tragically. Others went back to school and now have rewarding careers, families and lead very busy lives. To those who were a part of the cast of The Haunted Mansion of Long Branch" during the 70's and survived; and especially to those of you who followed and found your way to "The Palace at Asbury Park" for a short time...It was the best of times and the worst of times. I'll never forget it, nor any of you.

Nicole C.

5/2/04

I was born and raised near the board walk and I went there everyday. I worked at Big Al's so of course I was there all the time. I had the time of my life and as a teen, the good looking guys were everywhere. LOL. During my breaks, after work and my days off, I was still there. I enjoyed the boardwalk so much and the families that came out.

I have fond memories of the haunted mansion. I heard the sounds of it everyday, all day long and went in a few times. The rat room was the absolute worst. OH MY GOD, I would have rather stuck hot needles in my eyes. I loathe rats and that room was a big challenge for me. EEECKKKKK. But even though the rat room was hard for me, losing the haunted mansion, the pier and all that was around it was even harder.

I was there the day it burned down as my boyfriend was a firefighter trying to save the pier. That day was like losing all that you enjoyed all in a few hours. What a sad day. The rest is history. Good, clean, non-violent history which I hope can be again some day. This time, we can bring our own kids and allow them the chance to enjoy what we did as children.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS!

Colleen (Gill)

4/29/04

WOW! What memories, seems like yesterday! I grew up in Long Branch and am still here! Every time I drive by, it is so sad to NOT see the Pier. I wish they brought it all back.

I worked at Kid's World for two summers in 1985 and 1986 at the cotton candy and ice-cream stands. (I remember Mary was the owner who became our surrogate mom) We were so excited to work again in 1987 when the fire happened. I remember driving home from school with my friends and seeing all the smoke from miles away. We followed the smoke and just stood there watching the fire engulf the entire strip. It was so fast and furious, it felt like a dream.

My sister, Jeaneen (Gill) worked in the Haunted Mansion as Lizzie Borden in the summer of '86. My childhood tricycle was one of the props. I lived at the boardwalk as a teenager, we were there every night in the summer - all day working, then would go home- shower and go back until the wee hours of the night. Now as a mom of a teenager, I would never allow my son out like that and am surprised my mom and dad did. I work with Dave, the big guy that chased you out of the Haunted Mansion now, he is still a great guy.

We all had so much fun as teenagers at that boardwalk. The arcade, Pier Pub for teen night, getting our pic's taken in the picture booth, buying clothes at Sand Tropez (the shorter and tighter the better), walking up and down the boardwalk all night with my friends Diane, Fortune, Kelly, Eva, Miquel, Rob, Adrian, Julio and more. We then had no where to go, so we would all hang out at the Pit and the Windmill parking lot- then teen night at Trade Winds.

Wow, I feel so old now at 35- but THANKS for the many, many, many happy memories!

Angelo

4/20/04

You got to be Kidding me!!! A Long branch Haunted Web Site! I was married in 1978 in Meriden Connecticut. We just got cable TV and saw these incredible adds for the Haunted Mansion in Long Branch NJ. My young bride and I had to check it out, so we got in the car and drove down. The admission was $2.75 and a real bargain for what was inside. We screamed and ran, and did it again. We came down again and again...after all, it was only a 2 1/2 hour ride. I brought down my sisters, my brother, anyone who wanted to come and experience the most unique scare and thrill around. 

Then, on that horrible day, the pier burned down. To this day, I tell my 25 year old kids that it was the most fun I ever had being scared. I'll never forget watching that ghoul tear my ticket up in front of my face...and stare at me till I couldn't look no more. That was the beginning of the trip through the Mansion, and I'll never forget how much fun it was to get scared to death.

Thanks for the memories... 

Gianna Puleo    Wading River, NY

4/19/04

OH MY GOD! WHAT MEMORIES THESE STORIES BRING BACK. I SPENT ALL MY SUMMERS HERE IN LONG BRANCH WITH MY GIRLFRIEND SISSY AND HER FAMILY. I LIVED IN BROOKLYN AT THE TIME AND LONG BRANCH WAS LIKE GOING TO THE COUNTRY. I DID NOT HOWEVER VISIT THE HAUNTED MANSION CAUSE I WAS ALWAYS A CHICKEN BUT WE WALKED EVERY DAY FROM VICTOR AVE. TO 2ND AVE. TO WORK , WE WOULD GO TO WORK AT 5 A.M. SO WE COULD GET OFF EARLY AND GO TO THE BOARDWALK AND BEACH IN LONG BRANCH. WE DANCED MANY NIGHT AND WEEKENDS IN ONE OF THE PLACES DOWN THERE (I CAN'T REMEMBER THE NAME BUT I SENT THE SIGHT TO SISSY AND MAYBE SHE WILL ADD TO IT) WE HAD SOME WONDERFUL TIMES THERE TOO BAD EVERYTHING HAS TO BE TORN DOWN FOR HOUSING. HAD A GREAT CHILDHOOD THERE SAFE AND FUN. WHEN WE WERE FINISHED HAVING FUN WE WOULD WALK BACK TO VICTOR AVE. LIKE IT WAS NOTHING. THE NEXT DAY REPEAT THE SCHEDULE. THANKS FOR THE SIGHT IT WAS FUN.
Judy Oatman Gallagher-Plymouth, Ma.

4/13/04

I grew up down the jersey Shore-moved to Denville North Jersey in the early 1970's-I spent many summers visiting my sister and family in Neptune City-my children were pretty young then-and in the 80's my favoite place to go was the Mansion. Nothing I have ever seen equals the Mansion. I now live near Salem, Mass, which is one of my favorite places in the world-however, nothing equals the Haunted Mansion and the Long Branch Pier for those summer thrills.
Shicky

4/13/04

I remember when i was little I visited kids world and the haunted house . I got so scared i ran out i must have been 6... Now the pier is down and there building homes right in those very spots. 
Jodi D

4/6/04

A childhood friend from Long Branch sent me this wonderful w-site about the "Haunted Mansion" and the Long Branch pier. I remember how my younger sister Francesca and I decided to take a ride down to the boardwalk after spending the day at the Trade Winds beach club (which has been torn down this year ... sadly, for condo buildings). We walked around for a while debating whether we had the nerve to walk through the Haunted Mansion. I was very afraid of the dark and had a weak heart, but Fran convinced me we would be OK. We got on line and in we went. I remember how much the wicked lady standing at the door stared me down until I thought I couldn't take another step. Fran pulled on me, told me to hurry up I was holding up the line. How I remember after that first moment begging for my sister to get me out of there (I am laughing as I write this). With each new theme and encounter I would scream "please I am very frightened" or "I have a weak heart please let me be." Fran was screaming and laughing all the way through, I was holding on to her for dear life and crying my eyes out. I do remember I calmed down a bit and saw what I thought was a dummy propped up against the wall, all of a sudden the dummy came at me with his arms open and groping the air as if he was ready to grab me and squeeze the life out of me, OH MY GOD it took all I had in me not to faint and of course Fran was laughing so hard tears were running down her cheeks. Getting through the rat field (which I thought took me hours) I ran as fast as I could and was chased all the way until I finally busted through the exit door. People were looking and laughing cause I was still screaming and running even though I was outside!

I returned many times to the Mansion, with every visit I got braver and braver until I was the one walking through laughing as my "first timer" friends were horrified. There are also fond memories of Pistol Petes and the arcade.

I was born and raised in Long Branch, went to Elberon school, LBMS, graduated from LBHS. I moved on for years but am now living in Elberon where I grew up. I often walk the Long Branch boardwalk and at times I can still hear that Mansion music in the wind and think of what a wonderful childhood Long Branch and my parents afforded me. Thanks again for this web site!

Doris Sanchez

3/16/04

My sister sent me this link and I was like "OH MY GOD!" We grew up in Long Branch and every chance we had the opportunity, day or night, we went to the boardwalk, even if we did not do anything, we just loved to walk around, play games, etc. We were always afraid to go on the large large swing ride cause we thought we would fall into the ocean, but as I got older, I grew the courage to go with friends. And, we loved that very first area with games where there was a room (I cannot remember the scene theme, but remember it was decorated) where you shot different targets. And as I got older, my friends and I would go to 7 Presidents beach, and after boredom got to us, we went to the boardwalk or kidsworld. I remember a group of us were planning on checking out the new rollercoaster ride there and when we got out of LBMS, the closer we got towards the beach, we just saw smoke. When we realized it was the pier on fire, we could not believe it! We were always hoping that they would rebuild the pier, as I have moved out of NJ since 1989, now viewing this website saddens me to see that it was never re-built. Thanks for whoever put together this website, it certainly brought back such wonderful memories!
3/5/04 Wow!!!! Memories. I spent a lot of summer days at Chelsea pool & also remember the connecting tunnel to the ocean. I wish that the generation of now could have the innocent memories of the good times when all you did was steal a kiss in the tunnel on the way to the water.  All of us from North Jersey (Soprano Country) can tell a few stories from those days!!!
Dave Margalotti wvnj1160am@aol.com

2/17/04

Amazing! I can't believe I found this site. I started working at Ginny's Snack Stand in the summer of '78 (across from Pistol Pete's Pizza). In the summer of '80 I got a job working at Scotty's Arcade, the big one at the entrance to the pier. It was open all year round and I worked every summer and break from school all the way through high school and college. This was absolutely the best place in the world to spend my teen years. I often think about my years there...and all the great people I met along the way. I've always wondered where they are now (John O., Phil T., John L., Nancy, Doug and so many others). To this day, I can still hear the music from the haunted mansion mxied with the sounds of the arcade games. I wish I could go back one more time...I wish I could show my kids this place that was such a part of my life for so many years. Thank you for the great pictures and memories.
Cliff Rockey

2/12/04

My name is Cliff Rockey. I used to work on the Fishing Pier 25 years ago. I lived just across the street and down a block or so from the pier. I had some of the best times when I was there. I loved fishing, so, working at the pier, I was in my glory. If I wasn't working, I was fishing. If I wasn't fishing, I was hanging out on the amusement pier checking out everything. I went in the Haunted Mansion so many times, that I got to know most of the actors. I do remember the owner. He used to come into the pier tackle shop to just come in and chat w/ us from time to time.. A real nice guy.. ( The reason we were able to go into the Mansion so many times was because he let us in for free)... After hours, I would go out and party w/ some of the actors from the Mansion.. Great people.. I have a lot of good memories from Long Branch. I lived there for 2 years, and I will never forget those times.. I was young, single, and lived and worked right on the beach. What more could you ask for... I remember the Cinema place on the pier. I remember they had a guy out in front of the place at night, that would talk on the mike to attract attention. He looked like Vincent Price.. Thanks so much for bringing back such good memories..
Nick Mancini

1/26/04

Hi, my name is Nick Mancini and I have been to the Long Branch Haunted Mansion pier many times as a child. I can remember standing by the door listening to the screams coming from deep inside. I can also remember the first thing I would see before we actually reached the pier was the Haunted Mansion, it was a marker of sorts to me....I knew I was there. My first time is was basically me closing my eyes while clinging onto my brother with all I had. People touching me, smelling the musty surrounding and hearing those screams from the outside now right in my ear. I miss the pier, I wish they would have rebuilt it. But it really doesn't matter, there will never be a place like the Haunted Mansion ever again, it will only live on in my memories.
TRESA SMITH

1/20/04

I HAD SO MANY MEMORIES WHEN I SAW THIS WEB-SITE. I REMEMBER SO MANY DAYS AND NIGHTS THAT I SPENT DOWN AT THE ARCADE AND HOW MUCH TIME MY BROTHER AND I SPENT WATCHING THE TERRIFIED PEOPLE RUNNING OUT OF THE EXIT OF THE MANSION!!!!! THE LADY AT THE DOOR WAS SO SCARY AND SHE NEVER CRACKED EVEN A LITTLE SMILE NO MATTER WHAT. SHE WAS A GREAT ACTRESS BUT AT 14 YRS. OLD EVERYTHING SEEMED SO REAL. I REMEMBER WHEN I FINALLY GOT SOME COURAGE TO GO INTO THE HAUNTED MANSION AND I TRIED TO CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT GOING IN AFTER I HAD WAITED IN LINE FOR AN HOUR OR SO. WHEN I WALKED IN THE DOOR, IT CLOSED HARD AND FAST BEHIND US AND DRACULA WAS RIGHT BEHIND THE DOOR. I NEVER RAN SO FAST AND EVERY CORNER THAT I TURNED THERE WAS ANOTHER SCARY SIGHT. THE RAT TAILS, ON MY BARE LEGS, SCARED ME HALF TO DEATH AND TO THIS DAY I'M PETRIFIED OF MICE. THE POOR GUY IN FRONT OF ME HAD MY NAILS DIGGING IN HIS ARM AND I LITERALLY TORE HIS SHIRT. I LEFT MY FAVORITE SANDAL AS A SOUVENIR FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT WORKED INSIDE! JASON CHASED US OUT WITH A KNIFE AND I RETURNED ONLY AS A SPECTATOR FROM THEN ON. GREAT CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF CHELSEA POOL AND PISTOL PETE'S. TOO BAD THAT SHORTLY AFTER THE PIER WAS CHANGED TO KIDS WORLD AND ALL THE BUSINESSES WERE BOOMING; THE FIRE DESTROYED IT ALL AND THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT FOR US TO SALVAGE. TO ALL THOSE FELLOW LONG BRANCH KIDS WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE THOSE MEMORIES. HOPE ALL MY CLASSMATES FROM THE CLASS OF '89 ARE DOING GREAT. HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE REUNION '04! TRESA SMITH
1/18/04 I grew up in Long Branch, and this entire boardwalk was famous throughout the state and NY. I remember that I was soooo scared to go in, even though my sister and her friends would go. I used to stand by the exit by the side near the arcade and watch people FLY out of there at the speed of light!!!!! And, occasionally, the person/thing chasing them would rear their ugly head!!!!! I finally got the nerve to go in, and will never forget Lizzy Borden, Jason chasing me, the dracula's piano, and how long the walk thru was...It is something I'll never forget, all the summers on the "boards" in Long Branch and Asbury Park...here's hoping that LB can get some of it back...I also loved the golf course with the jungle animals, the water slide, Pistol Pete's, Stuffyer face, and even the Blue Dolphin(shhh!!!!)...I loved trying to sneak on the beach without paying, and making out under Max's hotdogs...Ahh, the good ol' days!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

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