Dark In The Park


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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.




Lisa Crosbie

My family (Crosbie family) and I grew up near the boardwalk...we pretty much lived at the boardwalk...our favorite was the Haunted Mansion.  We loved to be scared so we went through at least a few times a week.  My sister Lori was mostly scared when they chased after her.  They always followed me because they could tell I was Scared as Hell!  They did a GREAT job scaring people in there!!!

I moved to California in 1981 and would like to get in contact with old friends from Long Branch so if you know Lisa and Lori (the twins) T.K., Mark, Paul, or Darrell Crosbie, please email me at L800Lisa@aol.com. Great memories of years at the boardwalk...thanks to those who shared memories...


Kathleen Gouvela

Hi, my name is Kat and I worked at the mansion forever.  I wanted to let you know of the haunted mansion's family called the wackos.  It was Jack Kensey, Donald Evans, Wolf Puppy, Rich and their mom was Lauren.  They ruled the mansion and protected all the creatures who dwelled there. One of the things they use to say was "wack wack on the back."  They would walk single file with axes in their hands. We also lived in a house on Sternberger Avenue and had so many good times. Yep, I loved the mansion and I think we should have a reunion.

Paul from Long Island

Great Job! To this day I have never found a place like the Haunted Mansion @ LB. I was around 11 or 12 when my parents would bring me and some of my friends from Long Island for a day at the pier. It was around 78 or 79. It was around the time it opened and the actors would chase you and none of the stuff was behind glass. We would go through 3 or 4 times and I would be scared every time! The commercial links bring it all back. Thank you for setting this website up, it is a real shame that the attractions will never be like this again! Take Care! 

Liz Juliano

Hi, just want to thank you for this wonderful site. I haven't thought about Long Branch boardwalk since it burnt down. I am another sister of Ali Kachriman who was an actor in the mansion. Since this web site, I just keep on thinking of all the memories I've experienced on that boardwalk. It's a shame that after it burnt they did nothing to it. I was looking over the web site and it brought tears to my eyes because it was a wonderful place to live. I can remember waiting in line to get in the haunted mansion. I knew my brother was working in there but, he scared me so much at times I think he took his job a little too seriously. Anyway I love the site and I will tell all my friends about it. Thank you so much for the great memories. I will be thinking of this for a long time. 

Cathleen Lamoureaux

Friends, I was about 9 years old and my sister was 7, our father took us into the Haunted Mansion for the first time. We had always wanted to, every time we went to the boardwalk which was every weekend and more during the summer. I recall that the Mansion scared my sister so bad that they had to turn on the lights to calm her down. The other people were stopped from going forward so that we could convince my sister that it was all pretend. LOL, she never went near anything haunted again. Every Halloween my father did a Haunted Mansion version of his own at 388 Willow Ave., perhaps some of you trick or treators will remember pretty spooky:) 

I remember the fires of the Long Branch Boardwalk and I remember crying as I watched as it seemed that no one was really giving it 100% to put out the fires. I did hear rumors back then that the new promenade project was designed years before the fire & the only thing that stopped that project was our beloved Haunted Mansion, waterslide, roller rink, batting cages, amusements, ect. First down went Asbury Park boardwalk then Long Branch. 

As I write this I cry because so many wonderful memories of my childhood went with the fires. I miss you Haunted Mansion and boardwalk. I also want to say shame on you developers & Long Branch politicians for not keeping this wonderful tradition and history alive. Families are more important than the big corporations. Born native to Long Branch I was too saddened to stay, so I moved away from my only true home.



Just wanted to say good job on this site. I worked at the mansion for many years, you would have had to rip it from my cold blue hands to take it away from me. I'm sure I would be some part of working there if it was still there today.  HI EVERYONE!

Dave Coberly

My name is Dave Coberly. I found this site by accident while doing a Google search. This is a really nice site. Just today, September 29th, 2007, I wanted to take a ride back to Long Branch to show my wife where I used to work when I was a kid. Much to my surprise, when I got there, I learned that the whole Long Branch pier had been burned up in a fire back in 1987!  What a shock that was... I never heard anything about it. I used to work at Leon's Arcade in the summers of 1970 & 1971. (WOW... 37 years ago??) Yes, I was only 14 & 15 and my step dad was the boss. I had no idea who Leon even was as I had never met him. From what I read about him on this site, he sure seemed like a very decent man.

It was tough working there as the bosses son because "I" had to set an example. I was always getting yelled at for something. I clearly remember having to wear that "white" hat that NEVER really fit my head at all...it was TOO big. LOL I also had the metal coin changer on my belt. The coolest thing I remember is having a HUGE set of keys and I could open ANY pinball machine and push the little wire trigger to give free games. I did this quite often. I also had the Skee Ball wire with the coin attached to the end that you put in the coin slot to play for free too. The floor manager, Ed Dowd, was like the coolest guy I knew and I guess he was about 30 years old. He was the first guy I ever heard referring to a song as "tunes". I always wanted to be cool enough to be able to get on the Merry Go Round "while" it was moving. It took me a while to learn this skill and I almost broke my neck a few times in the process. (and I better NEVER EVER try doing this when my step dad was there or I'd be in BIG trouble!) If you could master this, you were REALLY cool. The idea is to be able to do this while looking like you've been doing it for years. LOL I always wanted to be able to "operate" the Merry Go Round too but you had to be at least 18. Bummer. At 15, I was the 2nd best Foosball player in town (or in the arcade anyway). That's what happens when you work there and play for 3-4 hours every day. There was this ONE guy though, Greg Acoo, 19, who would ALWAYS beat me, EVERY time!  He was the BEST, hands down!  NOBODY could beat this guy...

One day, my step dad took me out to the restaurant at the end of the fishing pier and I met the owner and he gave me a piece of paper that said I could fish there ANYTIME with ALL equipment and bait included! So, one day when I had off, I went in, got a fishing pole, some bait and caught like damn near 100 blowfish. I had so many I had to put them in those big green trash bags on ice just before I went home. As it turns out, the tails were really good eating.

Labor Day weekend was just plain madness. That's when everybody would cash in their points for prizes. It was so bad that we just kind of guessed how many points you had and if it looked like you were anywhere close to what you needed, we just gave it to you...there simply was not enough time to count the points. The ONE thing I REALLY dreaded was the monthly stock INVENTORY!!! Man what a HUGE pain that was...talk about BORING!!! You were stuck in the back stockroom for a few days until you were all done. NOBODY wanted to do it so I ALWAYS got stuck with it. Then there was the after Labor Day employee party. Yeah, my step dad let me drink about 5-6 beers and I got hammered, then sick and puked. The next year, I got hammered again only this time I puked in his car on the way home...not my fault, though, he was driving like 80-90 mph. Try that now...

Just outside the "side" door of the arcade on the pier was a guy, who owned some kiddie rides, Al Francis. After the summer of 1971, he sold the kiddie rides and moved to New Hampshire. He bought a 10 unit motel with a honeymoon suite and about 15 cottages. So, in 1972, he needed someone to come up for the summer and help him with cutting grass, life guarding, etc., so I jumped all over that opportunity. $2.00/hr, FREE room and board and NO expenses, how can you beat that? He literally invited at least 50 families to come up and stay a few weeks for FREE and I remember meeting so many families and shaking so many hands, that even to this day, I still have trouble remembering peoples names after just meeting them. LOL Al and his family took me in and treated me like family, they were ALL just great people. It was a real pleasure working for him. The following year, I went back again and this time I rented my own room for $10/week and bought my own food. I had a great time and really learned alot about being on my own. It was a great experience. PLUS, NO more stock inventory!!!

It would be excellent if someone had any pictures of the front of Leon's Arcade before the Haunted Mansion, as I have no memories of Leon's arcade after 1971. Does anyone remember the gang riot in 1971? One night at about 10:30-11:00, some very large groups of young adults assembled in front of the arcade and you could clearly see that something was about to go down and soon. So we ended up closing early and a short while later, the gang members jumped over the fence of the golf course across the street and took the golf clubs and starting beating the living hell out of each other. I guess it lasted about 10-15 minutes before about 30 cop cars showed up and broke it up. Many of our windows were smashed in the front of the arcade too. I remember it being pretty scary because you didn't know when it was going to end and we were all trapped inside until it ended. I remember seeing a lot of blood everywhere out front when we finally left with a police escort.

The first year my step dad ran the arcade, we rented a very small bungalow in Long Branch. I remember hooking up my record player on the porch and putting on Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and cranking it up. Well this lady who was about 75-80 opens up her back porch door and yells out "What do you think this is, a free for all!!" LOL LOL (I guess we were renting the place from her...??) So, I got yelled at to turn it down...oh well. The next year, we rented a 2 story house in Deal. It was a nice house but one night the doorbell rang and when my mom opened the door, some guy tried to stab her with a knife. The knife cut all the way through the screen but luckily my mom only got about a 2-3" gash on her chest. The police never did find out who was responsible for the attack or why it even happened.

Long Branch has really modernized over the past 37 years. I guess I'm naive but I really thought the arcade would still be there. I thought for sure it would've been renovated quite a bit but what a shock that it was GONE! I envisioned showing my wife the back of the inside rear wall where a lightning bolt struck the building causing some of the inside siding to scatter all over the place. After reading that it was there during the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, I really think if the fire never happened it probably would still be there today drawing in thousands just like old times... Keep those emails coming!!


Pat Cicalese

Thank you for the creation of the website and thanks to all the wonderful men and women who worked at the Haunted Mansion, on the Long Branch Pier and boardwalk, Kid's World, and the Chelsea pool.  It was a pleasure working with you and hopefully your experience there had a positive effect on your lives.  Thanks again.


I remember being at the haunted mansion in the late 70's as a kid with my friend and her family. I was afraid to go in but did it anyway. I'm sure I wasn't the only kid this happened to however they literally scared the pee out of me. My favorite part of the mansion was the exit! My second favorite part was watching other patrons come running out the exit door screaming. I'm not a big haunted house fan, however, my husband is and he would have loved to experience the mansion. It certainly was an experience of a lifetime and I was happy to have been part of it. This was a family trip every summer and I have nothing but fond memories. 

The website is wonderful. I cannot tell you how many memories came flooding back after looking through all the pictures. I especially enjoyed listening to the music that played while you waited on line to enter the mansion. I would love to hear stories from the employees of their favorites patron reactions. I do recall seeing one of the staff actors being punched. I'm sure that probably happened often. Keep up the website....it's great fun!

8/6/07 Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for putting this site together! It's great to see so many people honoring the memory of the old, grand, scary lady herself. (She scared the pants off me for years!) Seeing all these pictures and reading everyone's e-mails about our beloved, long-lost Haunted Mansion is better than just relying on my own memory... but, oh man... I'd give anything for just one last walk through. You have made one seemingly impossible wish come true for me: I had the Haunted Mansion coloring book, and when I try to describe it to my friends that had never been to the Mansion, they think I'm exaggerating about the brutal pictures in it! I thought for sure I'd never see that book again. And, here it is on this site. God bless the digital scanner! I wore down my red crayon from all the blood! Loved it!

Please, keep the pictures and the stories and everything else coming! And, I would like to share with everyone who visits this site MY little piece of Haunted Mansion history... one of two artifacts I own, but the only one that was originally mine, bought on my first visit to the Haunted Mansion when I was a lad of just 6 years old. Hopefully, you will post the picture on the site! Thank you again for keeping the memory alive...

Let us join hands and pray: Dear Lord, may you do whatever is necessary in your power to bring the Long Branch Haunted Mansion back into existence, so that we may stop subjecting ourselves to the absolute crap that tries to pass for "haunted" attractions in our politically correct, sanitized, punitive damage infected world. In your name, we humbly pray. Amen.


Craig J.

I was 14, my father purchased the restaurant that was Arthur Treachers which would become McDonalds in the future. My father named the place Harvey's . This was 1983. I remember my youth going down there with my parents and getting quarters to play the arcade games and some cash to go on the water slide across the street from there. Having a hot dog at Big Als, going on the pier rides, the miniature golf and many more. I remember meeting a girl there every weekend for a date. I remember the Star Trek Operations Sit down video game, mastering that game , the one with the Leanard Nimoy, and James Doohan voices. Skeeball which my little brother loved . I live in Palm Beach, Florida now and still remember those youth years, the 80's music, that special summer being 14, walking down that pier hearing the scary music of the Haunted Mansion, which still blasts through my memory when I think about that place. People flying out of the door being chased by make up clad employees of the Mansion. For a young 14 yr old how scary it really was! Today all that has been replaced by condos (what other memorable places have been replaced by that?) Seems these places of my youth are diminishing. Arcades are now at your fingers on a Play Station or X- Box , even more advanced with realistic graphics. Even if there are arcade games, thay cost $2 now rather than the quarter I paid to play my 1st Pac Man game. 80's Music is now found at your local music store on a compilation, or Itunes if you like to download and Satellite radio 80's stations. It was wonderful standing at the end of the pier gazing at the ocean, daydreaming . I recently visited this place and imagined 1983 all over again, Reagan was the president, a pre 9/11 world . Gas was under a dollar back then. A slice of pizza at Big Als was not even over a dollar. Michael Jackson's Thriller blasted out of cars and boom boxes on Ocean Ave. New Wave music was still pretty NEW, you can still buy a Corvette for under 20 grand. In the movies, Return Of The Jedi, Flashdance, Risky Business, and Wargames were the movies I saw that year. I will always remember the Long Branch Pier as my summer place to be for 2 summers and the most memorable , summer of 83'. 


Wow! What a great site. Talk about bringing back memories!! I remember going to Mr. Pizza slice with my friend and waiting for T.J. to get off work and drive us down. He had the Shaggy and Scooby van-you know the one with carpet and a sun(moon)roof and lots of smoky sweet scents. The Pier Pub, Big Al’s dogs and “trippy” cinema 180. I teach now (no more sweet scents), but tell the kids about the magic and friendship that happened down at the Pier-They want a place like this again, and I…I feel blessed that I experienced it many, many, many times.


Hi all, been a long time, but I also remember working at the mansion.  Miss u all, esp. dwg, dusty, and all my other friends.  Alas I worked only a summer or two at the Mansion and boardwalk, but I had a great time, also could never forget the waterslide parties after….I grew up those years.  Hey dwg, remember rocky horror in Belmar?
4/24/07 I remember the Haunted Mansion of Long Branch from the very first day I went with my parents, back on July 17, 1978. Wow, was I fascinated on how they set that up and how the actors were so great.

I was only fifteen at the time, so I wasn't driving. I was so excited, that I tried to figure out a way to get down there on weekends with my friend. So the only way was taking a train and spending Saturdays and going again on Sundays, all the way up to Oct.31. We made it like a ritual to go in three times when we first get there. Then, we would get hot sausage sandwiches and take a break and get fudge. Then, there we were again, going through for another three times. We walked afterwards and held out for at least two to three hours before going through that last two times and even that wasn't enough. But that was all we could afford at that time and sometimes she would back me up with money, or I would do the same if one of us didn't have it. 

I use to even go down in the winter to take pictures of the mansion. One time I took four pictures and had to cut them and paste all four quarters of the mansion together because it was too big for my camera. 

Well, I knew the mansion inside like the back of my hand and during the summer of 1980, I tried so hard to get a job there and I did! I was dracula, King Henry the VIII, the psycho guy, Jack the Ripper and many times a reaper in different areas of the mansion. I'll never forget the great times I had and those memories of Long Branch. I hadn't been down for a few years since I worked there up until Oct.1980. But I was sad to here that it burned down and that they changed everything.


Harold Johnson

Tell Lill and Backdoor Dave "Hi" from Eric Dockery and Harold Johnson (80's).  Eric is working for ABC and I'm a designer for a large jewelry company and do magic shows.

Lee Martin

My Name is Lee Martin, it was Bridges. I remember hanging out at the boardwalk way back in high school. I had been going to the pier since I can remember.  I remember my days at Chelsea Pool the most vivid.

I remember the first time I went into the Haunted Mansion, it was creepy but a lot of fun UNTILL near the exit one of the "creatures" grabbed me and scared the heck out of me only to find out it was one of my friends David Griffith.  I was ready to hit him for that.

I was in the Air Force in England when the pier burned. I was watching the news at the rec. center and just cried when I saw the report.  It was as if someone was taking a large part of my childhood away.

I will never forget The Haunted Mansion or the countless hours I spent on the pier. I will always have fond memories of friends and family there.

I remember Mr. Cicalese as well as Chic.  I'm sure he won't remember me but may remember my father, Bud Bridges.






© 2003 Dark in the Park.  This site was created by Bill and Seph Cherkasky.