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HAUNTED MANSION OF LONG BRANCH

EMAILS & STORIES (2005)

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

Kathy

12/20/05

This is great. What great memories this brings back to me. My husband of 31 years, Bobby Colt was a DJ on the locale radio station. I remember when Bobby tried to go thru the Mansion, but never got far. He said a dead girl got up and scared him half to death. Bobby & I did a radio show from the Pat Cicalese's pool. Oh the fun I can remember on the pier. It was the meeting place of everyone back then. It was great even if only a walk in the evening. Thank you to who ever put this on my computer.
Peter Bernstein

12/14/05

Having grown up in West Long Branch and scoring my first job at Sonny's and Rickey's at around 15, working the quarter toss and other games I spent most summers listening to the Mansion music blaring in my ear while I shouted, "Don't be shy, give it a try". I remember not being able to get home as my bike was stolen outside and i couldn't make the dangerous trek home down Broadway through 4 corners late at night peddling as fast as i could. Heck, I remember working the music wheel the year Michael Jackson put out Thriller. Max's Hot Dogs provided lunch and Mexi deli made the best burrito's. I remember watching a big cloud roll in as i was waterskiing on the Shrewsbury River thinking it was going to rain. I wish it had, as the cloud was the pier burning down along with a childhood of memories.

As f or the mansion, I live in Orlando now for 13 years and see every theme park advancement made over the years but nothing comes close to the original haunted mansion and especially dave Bass' brother, the rat man, chasing you out the back door while i found it funny for the thousandth time.

Erik M.
New Haven,Ct

10/16/05

It was really nice to see this website. My mother sent me the link and it really brought back great memories. I am actually from New Haven, Ct but my mother grew up in Long Branch and relocated to Connecticut when she went to college. We spent plenty of summers on the Boardwalk when we would come to visit. My grandparents lived on Melrose Terrace and the Boardwalk was just a hop, skip and a jump away. I remember Wizards arcade, the beach and Max's hotdogs the most. Other than the Haunted Mansion being the most memorable thing, the waterslide was probably one of the other most popular things. This website is great and the only thing else I would like to see more of is the Waterslide. Last year we did come to visit our grandparents who were living in Belmar at the time and we drove down Ocean Ave going past the Boardwalks and it was great to see but also sad to not see what use to be there.
Kathy G.

10/8/05

My son and I were just talking about the Haunted Mansion and the fire, and wondered what had actually happened. I decided to Google it and when I found this website I was thrilled.

My parents lived on Melrose Terrace less than a block in from the boardwalk. They had a second floor apartment with a balcony where we'd sit and watch the activity on the boardwalk. I lived in Connecticut by then and when I'd bring my kids to visit in the summer one of the first things we'd listen for when we got there was the music from the Haunted Mansion. We'd go to the pier and watch the scary doorkeeper and the people going in, then go around the side and watch the people running out. When I got up the nerve to take my son in ( I can't remember if I thought my daughter was too young or she was too scared but she didn't go) I thought it couldn't be that bad but I was wrong .... I practically ran through it! Details are cloudy but I remember being harassed by one of the actors and getting annoyed, the Nursery, the rats and a large dimly lit room with hooded figures sitting in pews. I'm sure I was more scared than my son was. What a great job they did with it. It's too bad when things like that are gone forever. I have a grand daughter who's almost 8 and would be so fascinated by it and I wish it was still there so she could see it.

9/8/05 WOW...the power of music! The first thing I did when I discovered this site was to click on the "outside music". Incredible what memories, emotions, thoughts, and feelings rushed over me. It brought be right back to a summer day when I first encountered the Haunted Mansion as a 7 year old child. Music is so powerful. I honestly could VIVIDLY remember the detail of the enormous structure...even the smell of it. I was thrilled with the site and needed to write this message.

I did not dare go in. My sister who is 5 years older than me wanted to roam the haunted facade so my dad volunteered to enter the spectacular sight. He went to the ticket booth and returned with THREE tickets. My stomach turned. I knew I was going in. All I could remember was the commercials that played on television. We got in line. I was on my fathers shoulders. I can remember this like it was yesterday.

Of course my eyes were shut the entire time...but I did open them on some occasions. I remember Lizzy Borden....the headless woman....and strobe lights. I was petrified.

We used to stay in Long Branch for 3 or 4 days at a time on summer vacation. We went back to the pier several times after my first experience, but I would NOT go back in. I would cry like a baby! And that outside music would just get louder and louder the closer you got...even though I tried to block it out with the bells and whistles of the kiddie rides.

I do remember returning around 5th or 6th grade and going in with my friends. I loved it! It was such a sad sight to the fire on the news. I knew there would never be anything else quite like the mansion in my lifetime. I still haven't found anything close. UNREAL. Thank you to everyone who made that experience possible. Yea I was scared, but it taught me so much about creativity and imagination. I even attempted to do a walk through "haunted yard" the Halloween of my freshman year of high school back in 1990. It was a success! The Mansion was certainly my inspiration! BUILD IT AGAIN!!!!

THREE TICKETS PLEASE!!!

Miles, San Angelo, TX

8/3/05

I'm from Texas but I was stationed at Ft Monmouth from '78 to '80 and went to the Long Branch Pier many times. The Haunted Mansion was, of course one of the main reasons I went back again and again. I must have gone in dozens of times. It was almost always perfect and always scary. I went in the daytime and at night. I liked the "headless Girl" and to this day am not sure how they did it. I never messed around and got physical with the characters, but they would certainly get in your space. I wanted to stay in longer but they could get you out! It was so cool. This website is great. Thanks for the memories. I often think of what I loved about New Jersey. Getting stoned and riding my green '78 125 Yamaha Enduro to Long Branch and working my way to that scary door was a high point. I also saw the Ramones 3 times in Asbury Park at the Fast Lane. One time, I saw bunch of cars at a place across and down the street from the pier. The door was open on the side and I looked in and saw a bunch, I mean like 100 men standing in there and a lighted stage. There was a strip show going on in there. Best looking stripper I ever saw. (not sayin' much) I stopped and watched for a while thru the open door. It was weird. Great times and I feel awful the Mansion is gone. I was hoping it was still there..............waiting.
Evan J.

7/3/05

I remember the door outside waiting to get in..being frighteningly stared down by a ghostly made up girl.  She would hold her pretty obnoxious blank stare for like 10 or fifteen minutes. I remember my sister would just give the staring contest right back and these two would look like they were just ready to attack each other. The door ghost girl wouldn't let you in right away, building and mounting the tension, until boom they would open the door in to darkness, and laugh at you going in like you were going to be soo scared for what they had in store for you. I remember just being numb with fear, hanging on to my brothers or sisters shirt tail, trying to adjust my eyes, and to not stumble into demons, or get separated. I remember the room of doors thing someone mentioned in the history emails,  yes it was true, scary as heck, and barely could take the fright of opening the wrong door and just wanting to run out of there. I also have very clear memories of the Lizzy Borden room and the actress coming to life, sitting up and singing the Lizzy Borden song of "30 whacks with an axe" that made me want to close my eyes and disappear back outside. The whole rat tunnel with the hoses down below hitting your shins as you scurried through really freaked me out.  Then they would chase you out at the end with a huuuge Frankenstein on stilts.  He would literally scare and push you right out the back door having you screaming with chest heaving as you broke out back into daylight. You would circle around outside laughing scared stiff with other pier patrons staring at you wondering what kind of fear you must have gone through. I remember my little brother Shawn (he was real lucky /crafty kid who always found a way to escape danger) and how we just had the end hallway to go to the exit door. Man it was almost over then sure enough the giant Frankenstein on stilts appeared at the end coming straight towards us. I don't know how he did it but I recall throwing a head fake to get around the monster and somehow in the dark pulled it off, but still got a good knock up against the wall. I looked back knowing my little brother was trapped, as the huge thing bared down on him. Then it happened, my slick little bro did the old head fake at full speed, dropped and crawled on his knees through Frankenstein's legs and bolted towards me a while I was cheering him on for his unbelievable move he did to escape. Frankie baby was pissed, ran back to us at the door as we jumped outside and slammed it shut completely out of our minds giggling with the rush of fear and happiness to escape alive!!! We heard the loud pounding of the monster against the closed door, and it felt good knowing we beat him. 

Someone in the emails was right saying the Mansion was not 100% perfection. It did have an edgy, unknown side where scary stuff really did happen inside. I recall some violence, like actors being overly aggressive and pushing as around hard, or even pushing us down from behind while we were running away. Also I can recall some customers beating up the actors, just punching and kicking them down for scaring them too hard and all would be just chaos. I guess this was how life used to be back then, there was no over protective rules like there are today. It was an "anything goes" type of atmosphere that really gave you a rush and I suppose it made the memories that much more special. You really felt like you had survived this, not just a tour. The day it burned is clear, smoke plumes could be seen from all over, especially from our home in WLB. We all felt the tragedy of losing this special nook on the jersey shore. Does anyone remember the hooded break dancer that would just appear with his boogie box and set up on cardboard to bust out crazy break dance moves to early rap jams? That guy was great, he was like a mystery super hero and would be so cool when he would appear. Don't forget the batting cages too, hours and hours of fun. Thanks Dad for bringing us all those afternoons, now if I can find something like this for my son where I live in CA now.

J.C.

7/1/05

What a great WEBSITE.....I was discussing my old memories with an old friend from Long Branch about the Pier and the Haunted Mansion just recently. I worked at Big Al's making pizzas from 1981 till the day the pier burned. I was actually working that day (Monday) morning at Big Al's when we lost something special. I was the day shift manager at Big Al's, and that was one of the saddest days of my life. Please remember the Haunted Mansion attracted visitors, but we had a great night life too. The "Pier Pub" and Shooters (NUM'S) attracted people all year round. I remember working during the winters and spring on the weekends, for the Pier Pub and Shooter bar rush at Big Al's, beside the regular summer season. What a crazy crowd they were. Some were fun, silly and free spirited; others were wild and obnoxious. Sometimes it just got out of hand, but I would not trade it for the world. I remember winning a dance contest at the Pier Pub, which was on Sunday Night, the day before the pier burned. I won the dance contest by myself. That's right, you read it correctly, I competed against couples, and somehow I manage to win. The prize was a white Pier Pub T-Shirt, which I still have and something else, I think it was free drinks. Who would have thought that it would be the last dance contest for the Pier Pub.? I also remember sneaking into the gravity roller coaster that same night after the Pier Pub dance contest with my girlfriend to try it out. I remember they were running it on Saturday with no one in it. It was my girlfriend idea; I just wanted to find a place to make out and them some.... I remember the security guard coming out of the Pier Pub when he heard the noise of the coaster moving. Let me tell you the gravity coaster that was adjacent and I believe it was attached to the Haunted Mansion on certain points was a great ride.....it is ashamed that only a few were able to experience such a fun ride if any. What a great memorable night and experience that was, and it came to an abrupt stop the next day.

I remember the commercials for the Haunted Mansion which were scary, but do you know that if you lived near by as I did, the theme music could be heard on a clear day all the way up to a mile or two away? If you parked your call across the street, or along the metered boardwalk parking, as you approached closer to the Haunted Mansion you could heard the creepy theme music get louder and louder. I guess that was the intended effect. I can recalled through my bitter sweet memories, patrons from the Haunted Mansion eating at Big Al's after they survived the experience and were able to live to tell about it, as we served them food and drinks. Most could not help themselves from describing their experiences and the sensation. I also recall many times, serving pizza's to the staff members during there breaks....

Keep up with the good work; you made my year.....

Raymond J. AnnHaigh

6/23/05

To Fellow Haunted House Enthusiasts:

I loved the Haunted Mansion at Long Branch, and I loved this site when I found it on the internet earlier this year. I believe I said both those things in my January post. You can still read it at the bottom of the 2005 discussion thread.

In that posting I tried to review the Long Branch attraction honestly and fairly. The comments were based on my experiences as a patron there in its heyday, plus my experiences as an operator of a similar-size haunted house currently. The Long Branch Haunted Mansion was wonderful. But it was not 100% perfection all the time. Nothing in this world is. Sometimes the quirks and imperfections of an attraction are what make it more interesting.

My intention in posting was simply to share my memories of the great things this classic dark attraction achieved, as well as recalling a few things that struck me as odd at the time. I truly understand and appreciate the challenges involved in operating a haunted attraction of this scale.

For a web site to have historical value, the discussion board needs to have some kind of balance. I apologize if my 25 year old memories have offended anyone associated with this attraction. That was certainly not my intention. I loved the Long Branch HM, and admit it was at least partially responsible for the direction my life has taken.

Since 1997, I have organized a large (10,000 square feet, 15 rooms, 6 mazes, 40 actors nightly) charity haunted house in Northeastern Pennsylvania called Gravestone Manor. Other than by its size, there is really no comparison between our attraction and The Long Branch Haunted Mansion:

Long Branch was a for-profit business with paid actors. Our show is entirely non-profit, run by volunteers, with all money raised being donated to our local United Way. Long Branch was a classic dark walk-through haunted house; Gravestone is more of an interactive mystery story, akin to what you see presented at a Renaissance Faire. Our show is based more on acting than special effects (although we do have some unusual original effects). All 15 of our rooms have an inter-connected story that gets resolved at the end of the 30 minute tour.

I want to thank the owner of this site for allowing me to clarify these points. It was disturbing to read the recent post from "Ron W" ridiculing Gravestone Manor, a charity attraction that he has never visited. His comments were admittedly based only on viewing jpegs at our web site. For the record: nothing in our show was "purchased at Wal Mart." The photos he refers to (on our site) were not taken under show-lighting conditions, and of course will not display props to their full effect.

Our volunteers have been working every weekend since January 30th on the new 2005 Halloween show. It will feature an original central mystery we call "The Legend of Killjoy". For any Long Branch fans that can get to the Wilkes-Barre (PA) area this October, please check us out. In many ways we are very different from Long Branch, but in many other ways we are one of the few "old fashioned" style haunted houses still operating. By 'old fashioned' I mean that we have a large Victorian Mansion set, a script for our actors, a creepy atmosphere, and absolutely no chainsaws!

Ron, you are correct. Our charity haunted attraction is not perfect - but nothing in this world is. United Way volunteers do their very best to entertain the thousands of patrons we get each year. Perhaps you will visit us this fall and see for yourself. That would be way better than passing judgment based on a jpeg of a mask on our web site.

Raymond J. AnnHaigh, Project Coordinator Gravestone Manor Benefits United Way of Wyoming Valley www.unitedwaywb.org

Christopher Fuller

5/21/05

Wow, I donít know how I found my way to this website but Iím glad I did. It brought back so many great memories. I remember being this punk kid always hanging out at the pier. I was afraid to go into the Mansion for so long and not wanting to admit it, because I was a tough kid (hahahaha) I used to just hang outside and torment the actors and they used to get so mad. They even started to know me. I remember this one day I was just making this one girl nuts and later that day I went into the Pier Pub to use the bathroom and when I came out there was this girl hiding outside the door and she scared the crap out of me. I jumped and all. I donít think I screamed or at least Iíd like to forget about that part of it. It turns out that it was the very girl that was working the front door that I was harassing. She got her payback. I never teased the actors again. If I remember correctly her name was Sally. We became pretty good friends and from that point I used to run to get food for the actors being that they couldnít walk around the pier without scaring little kids. I even got comfortable enough to walk through but I was still pretty nervous. I remember back door Dave and Lillian as well. Man, thanks for the memories. Those were the days when Long Branch was the best. I go back from time to time and drive by all the new building and get pretty sick about it. They should have rebuilt the pier as it was when it burnt. Times change and people need to pad their pockets. Thanks again!!!!
Wayne Larsen

5/11/05

Hi: My name is Wayne Larsen and worked at the Haunted Mansion the second year it was open. We had to get there at 10 a.m. to get made up although we didn't get paid until 12 when the shift started (usually double shifts in those days). It took a little while for your eyes to adjust but after about a half hour, you became acclimated. My station was called "The Plague." They put me in a dress and did some whacked make-up job that made me look like I did, indeed, have the plague. I think they deleted "The Plague," but it was there for the first two years. Sometimes they would just send you out as a wandering ghoul with a baby doll on a string. You'd drop the doll in someone's face and yell, "DEAD BABY." We were often attacked. I played the werewolf a lot, too. People would just come into the werewolf "set" and start punching me. All this for a paltry sum. Double shifts would end at 1:30 a.m. so some days were a 14-hour ordeal. Through the haze of time, I'm still fond of the days spent in the dark in the Haunted Mansion of Long Branch. Good theatrical training for my later band work: Leather Joy Boys, Straight Satans, Laughing Soup Dish, Secret Syde. It's too bad they burned the pier down. Some gas leak or something. I think it was the Mob.
Nick Mancini

5/7/05

Well, it's been about a year and a half since I discovered this site and it just gets better and better. I was down at the ol' Haunted Mansion pier just last week with my girlfriend to see what was going on with the construction and all I can say is it's looking EXPENSIVE! I mean, i'm sure it's going to be beautiful when its done but it's just not the same. I miss the old boardwalk and the Mansion. I can still remember hearing on the radio the boardwalk was on fire, I rushed down there in my car to see it. I remember all the people looking so sad just staring at the smoldering burnt wood. I didn't want to leave, I just kept believing this was not happening and I would soon wake up from this dream. But this site keeps that great place alive. I visit this site weekly to look at everything over and over. Keep up the great work!
Ron W.

5/4/05

Back in the 70's, before dvds, vcrs, and Comcast it was nearly impossible to get our horror fix. I remember having to go nuts looking through the TV guide in order to find at least one horror or science fiction movie every two weeks. Horror films in the movies only came about once in a blue moon also. When the Mansion opened up in Long Branch, it was beyond a dream come true. The thrill was like not only seeing a top notch horror flick, but also experiencing it too! Best of all, it ran from spring to fall and was a different adventure every time! Even hanging out under the pier was a thrilling experience as you could hear the Mansion's music faintly playing amidst the screams of patrons fleeing from the back door being chased by the legendary Dave Bass. Bats were also common terrors under the pier as they chased insects in the moonlight. In regards to a January 1st letter from Raymond Ann Haigh, Project Coordinator Gravestone Manor Theatrical Haunted House Benefits United Way of Wyoming Valley's rather pompous "Balanced view for posterity" as if he's some kind of fine connoisseur of haunted attractions: First of all Toccata & Fugue was only in one room and he mixes two of the rooms together. I looked at his website and found his attraction to be something you would find made by kids for Halloween with Walmart style rubber clown masks and bugetless backgrounds of someone's basement. It seems to me that Raymond Ann Haigh, Project Coordinator Gravestone Manor Theatrical Haunted House Benefits United Way of Wyoming Valley is clearly, in my opinion, suffering from Mansionenvy.
Liz Juliano a.k.a. Liz Kachrimanzade

4/18/05

I can't believe that you had a website of the haunted mansion. My brother Ali Kachriman was one of the actors. I also knew Jack and Mike Kinsey. The haunted mansion was the best haunted house ever. No matter how many times I went in there I was always scared sh---. Especially my brother Ali who scared me the most he took his job very seriously. Anyway I love the web site it brought tears to my eyes because I haven't thought about those days till I saw your web site. It made me think what a great place I use to live in. I now live in Florida and I don't visit much. Bit if they had the boardwalk the way it was I would definitely come for a visit. I just enjoyed everything about this web site. Seeing pictures of how the boardwalk was just brought back so many memories. I will think about this for a long long time. Even the commercials about kids world was amazing I forgot all about how it looked back then. I am still overwhelmed by this whole website. I love you all for doing this. 
Mandy Kachriman

4/17/05

Hi, I would like to thank you for this web site. I am so overwhelmed by it. I am 31 years old now and just looking at the pictures brought back so many beautiful memories. My brother Ali was one of the workers in the haunted mansion. Thank you again for the trip down memory lane. My mother died 5 years ago, most of my childhood memories with her were at the boardwalk.

If anyone remembers me or my family, please send me a line. I will name all my brothers and sisters because they'd like to hear from you too. Ali, Oscar, Sana, Liz., Margaret, Ronnie and myself. My sister Margaret is interested in finding Mary Fornino. She also knows Heidi Wasson and her sister.

Cliff Rockey

4/5/2005

Hi, I worked at the Long Branch Fishing Pier back in 1980. I just saw a post up from Pat Williams. I remember Pat, and he mentioned Dave Bass. WOW 2 names I haven't heard in a long time. My name is Cliff Rockey. I would love to hear from you Pat and talk about the good times in Long Branch. I remember we went into the Mansion during the daytime. It was so bright out side, and so freakin dark inside, we couldn't see a thing until our eyes adjusted. Scared the crap out of me.... Thanks for the memories. Cliff Rockey Rckja3@aol.com
Jack Pitzer

3/30/2005

Greetings, I found this site through Google. It's amazing to see photos of the Mansion, and some of the employees that I had the pleasure to work with There. I had the pleasure to work at the Mansion in the summer of '81, and I must say that it was one of my favorite jobs ever, perhaps even more rewarding Then my current corporate life! I have so many fine and funny memories of life in the Mansion. One time, while working as an extra in the Chapel, one of my friends "Fred" was laying in a coffin, and a very small and annoying group came thru. I think it was 2 macho guys and their girlfriends. The guys were bragging about how they'd kick the ass of anyone who scared them, and with that, "Fred" sat up in his coffin and said 1 word....Bunghole. That's it. And then he laid back down. Well, I nearly fell off of my pew laughing (in a ghoulish way of course). I also remember how much I got into whatever role I got to play. My favorite was being in the Lost Mine. I specialized at pretending to be a long dead corpse hanging off the wall. I'd hang motionless, until my doubters were right upon me, and I'd spring off and accuse everyone of stealing my gold. It was amazing how many times this wound up with a pile of people at my feet. Sometimes, they even peed in their pants. It was a powerful feeling, indeed. Certain pieces of the soundtrack remain with me today, like the one that sounded like "bees knees" or something like that. Those endless loops of sound are burned into my memory. Finally, it was always fun to ride home on my bicycle still wearing most of the makeup from my shift. We always had jokes about "ever staining blue" and other things that would never quite wash off. I miss the mansion. Those were good times.
Pat Williams

3/27/05

Hi -

It's Pat Williams. I just stumbled across this site and it completely blew my mind. I worked in the Mansion in 80 and 81. Best summer job I ever had. I think I may have a few pictures floating somewhere in a scrapbook and will send them along if I can find them.

Ironically, I think about the Mansion every time I drop my daughter off at the Long Branch Middle School - I see Dave Bass there and imagine him at his usual post - the Back Door! All that is missing is the shroud and the rat.

Thanks for putting this site up - it's a great walk down memory lane.

Marcos

2/10/05

I don't remember what year it was but it was definitely in the early 80s when this story takes place.

I remember telling my dad about the Haunted House in Long Branch after seeing the tv commercials. He finally took me and my brother there. When we saw it we nearly pissed our drawers! It was huge. It was a special day of the week where they gave a SILVER DOLLAR to anyone who entered. My brother was too scared to enter but I went in!!

It was nuts. Besides the gory displays they had i remember being constantly scared that someone would come out at you from the dark!! And man were they aggressive. They would get in your face and what not but it was great. You were kind of free to wander at your own pace which made it great. Although you were limited to only one direction you sometimes had some niches that others missed where you could gaze down and see some weird diabolical scene unfold.

But mostly you were trying to keep moving so that the denizens of the Haunted Mansion wouldn't get you!!!!

My opinion it was the best haunted attraction ever! With Dracula's castle being a runner up.

I never got to see Byzantine Castle and based on what I read I really regret that now. But hey I was a kid! Its not like I coulda just got up and gone!!!

Michael Russo

2/7/05

I remember when I was little when I used to watch cartoons in the summertime, I used to be SOOO scared of the Haunted Mansion Commercials that aired on TV. Every time I would here that creepy music, I would close my eyes because I couldn't bare to watch the scary characters that they would show. The feeling was mutrual for the Brigantine Castle commercials. But after finding the websites for both these New Jersey attractions, which are now defunct, they bring back such fond memories for me. I have also enjoyed listening to the original TV & radio advertisements.
Raymond AnnHaigh

1/5/05

Enjoyed your web site and the many nostalgic pictures of the Haunted Mansion at Long Branch. I visited this attraction several times during its heyday in the late 1970s. I would have been about 13 or 14 years old at the time - the perfect age!

Having read through your entire site, and all the message postings, I will try to confine my comments to information about the attraction that does not already appear elsewhere. Please bear in mind that while I loved the Haunted Mansion at Long Branch, these comments will reflect both the positives and negatives, so people who never experienced the legendary Mansion first-hand can get a balanced view for posterity.

My visits occurred within the first couple years after the Mansion's construction. Externally, the Long Branch Haunted Mansion was the least impressive of the 'big three' on the New Jersey boardwalks (the other two sister attractions being the ones located at Brigantine and Wildwood). The photos displayed on your web site were carefully taken from angles that show the Mansion's faÁade to its best advantage. When approached from the beach, its design more or less brought to mind a large, dark, Kleenex box with shingles! Unlike the other two attractions (which both had the outward proportions of Castles) the Long Branch facility did not ape the lines of the Victorian house it was supposed to represent.

My strongest association with this place was auditory. The music clip on your site (which is great) reflects the music that played to the waiting line outdoors, but once inside the whole house was filled with Bach's "Toccata and Fugue" echoing through the dark hallways on a pipe organ. You entered the house, the big door slammed closed behind you, and almost immediately a vampire stepped out of an upright casket to confront you as an intruder. This was a very effective initial scare. After that you ascended a long winding ramp, rather than a staircase. These ramps were, to my young mind, another "signature" of the Long Branch Haunted Mansion. There were no stairs anywhere in the attraction. This differentiated it's layout from both Brigantine Castle and Castle Dracula in Wildwood.

I always visited during the day time, because my parents lived a considerable drive away -- but not so far away that it was worth renting a place at the beach. I wonder if the Mansion's staffing was better at night? The attraction was often short on actors when I toured it. That is another strong memory, wandering around those twisting ramps in the dark, with basically nothing going on. One of the early "dressed" rooms that visitors encountered was the Lizzie Borden bedroom. This creeped me out because I knew it was based on a real murder. But at least half the times I went through the attraction, there was no Lizzie actor in the room .

One other thing I was surprised to see others had not mentioned in detail: the walking tour wrapped around an open central (indoor) court that you looked down into. I seem to remember that you glimpsed this room from a couple different heights at different points on the tour. This was where the organ music originated from.

There was a spectral organ player (a 'sort of' animated figure) seated at a pipe organ. At one point you passed close enough to this animatronic figure to see that it wasn't really playing anything -- the stiff hands were just waving back and forth above the inanimate keys of the organ prop. Even for its day (and my age) this was not a real effective design when viewed up close.

The most striking feature, located at the center of this big internal room, was a giant animated monster face. It was looking upward from the floor, and it must have been 6 to 10 feet across. The mouth was animated and sometimes a stuffed dummy would be tossed into its gaping jaws while the guests looked on.

My final memory is really more of a rumor -- since I never experienced this part of the attraction myself. Friends who visited the Mansion the first year it was open remembered a "room of doors" where guests had to figure their way out of a room by opening the appropriate door. If you opened the wrong door, you were faced with either a gruesome prop or live actor blocking your way. Does anyone remember actually experiencing this early room? Or was it only a legend? Anyway, thanks for the memories and the great web site!

Raymond AnnHaigh, Project Coordinator Gravestone Manor Theatrical Haunted House Benefits United Way of Wyoming Valley www.gravestonemanor.com

 

 

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