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.




Linda Morrison

My memories of Kid's World dates back to the summer of 1986. My family enjoyed our visits there. I have a daughter who was crowned "Little Miss Princess of Kid's World" in July 1986. What memories we have of her getting crowned along side of the Little Prince of Kid's World. I took a few pics of the event and still have them in my photo album. She was the very first princess crowned (5 yrs. old) and it was to be an annual event, but unfortunately the pier was gone before the next prince and princess were crowned. We would go to the pier every chance we got and I enjoyed watching my kids play on all the fun rides. They absolutely loved the ball pit best. I just wish I had gotten a copy of the newspaper that it was printed in.

Ethan S.

Thanks so much for this site. I worked at the Haunted Mansion and Kids World the two years leading up to the fire. Amazingly it was the only job I could find as a 13 year old and Annie Reilly and the crew took me under their wings. I spent my days wandering the park as Kermit the Frog in addition to working in the mansion itself. I would come back at night to get in costume and work for free it was so much fun. Can't have imagined a greater experience at that age. 

To this day I remember exactly where I was when I heard the pier was going up in flames...and I knew I'd been part of something special that had come to an end. I still have a black silk screened jacket we all got that last year. My wife kids me about it but I'll never get rid of it - too much fun to come across it once in a while and think back to those summers. Hope everyone is well wherever their paths have led all these years since.


Bob K.

Wow, what a cool site. Well, again, like so many here before me, I too stumbled my way to get here and I'm so fricken glad I did. There's just something about memories and being human that tug at you as you slowly age. I myself remember the commercials of the mansion almost every night and I'm sure they did there job attracting many people to it. I never actually had a chance to visit but, ever since I knew of its existence and heard the many stories, I have been fascinated by it. Anyway, I would love to talk with others who share the same love. If anyone has some of the original Haunted Mansion pier brochures and may even have an extra to sell, I would be interested. Or any items for that matter that were available at that time. Here's my email: bobvander@verizon.net Thank you to all the people who took there time and love to put this site together. Bob K.---
9/22/09 While surfing through the Web I discovered this site and upon seeing it I was immediately brought back to a time when our family would often visit the Jersey Shore and let there be no doubt, that The Haunted Mansion was a MUST SEE!!!; I even had the "I survived The Haunted Mansion T-Shirt". Our family was waiting in line, my brother and I were hesitant to go inside, but my three older brothers couldn't wait. While my younger brother and I stood in line with our mother a hunchbacked man started coming towards us, it was at that moment my that my bother and I bolted down the boardwalk with our mother screaming for us to come back, all the while everyone was laughing. Eventfully my brother and I slowly came back, but I only wish I could have went inside before the big fire had burned it down. Ahh.. Those were the days.....THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES..... 

From a family in Piscataway N.J. 80-89


Susan O'Connor

I came across your website while doing research. I'm writing a novel about the north Jersey shore in the 1920s that includes rum-running, mansions, boardwalk amusements and romance, of course. Although the Haunted Mansion wasn't around then, it was great to remember the time I spent in Long Branch in the 1980s while attending Monmouth College (now 20 years later, it's a university).

Being a scaredy-cat, I only went on the Haunted Mansion tour once during the day. However, it's the evenings I remember most about the pier including "Thirsty Thursdays" at Pier Pub. I remember the day of the fire well. I was working at the mall in Eatontown when my roommate called me because she saw smoke towards the beach. Being a friend of owner Pat Cicalese's son Louis, I was very concerned for the family and the property. Thankfully no one was hurt including the always friendly security guard Dave.

I now live in rural northern New Jersey (black bear country). This February I took my daughters down to Long Branch for a long weekend and we stayed at the Ocean Place. We dined at the new restaurants and spent a lot of money in the boutiques, but I was so disoriented. There's not a single reminder of the old Long Branch. It's very sterile and the feeling is even creepier than a Haunted Mansion tour.


Tina Adney

I'm so glad that I found this site; it brings back so many memories. Back then I was known as Tina Manning and my favorite memories are the summer of 1981 when my oldest daughter Andrea Marie was a little baby. Everyday right after eating breakfast we would go and hang out all day on the boardwalk and beach (boy, I got a great tan that summer). We always ate lunch on the boardwalk, and the Haunted Mansion was the greatest. I remember my best friend Pinky and I with our two guy friends going in, and even though I screamed and cried through the whole thing (man, those black hooded people scared the sh*t...out of me...sooooo creepy!), I loved the thrill of being very scared. Very good acting, realistic feelings...no haunted houses since can ever come close to beating the Haunted Mansion. How I cried when I heard about the fire…such a shame they never tried to rebuild. Even though I live in Buffalo, New York now, it's never far from my thoughts. Thanks Long Branch, New Jersey for the everlasting memories. If anyone might remember me from back then here's my email to contact me if you want. I always answer back: tinaadney123@yahoo.com
8/11/09 Like many others, I stumbled upon your site, even though most of us don't sign onto our computers with the thoughts of, "I'm gonna look up the Haunted Mansion in Long Branch tonight." Somehow I made my way here and I'm glad I did. I grew up in the 70s and 80s seeing commercials almost every night on TV. I finally got to go on a trip with camp (from Queens) around 1980.

I have great memories of walking across a rat-infested bridge, seeing the headless woman, and being asked if we (our camp group) knew someone named Peter (who was part of our group). When we said we did, the crazy woman said, "Well he's dead!!!"

Fabulous place. So sorry to see it gone. :(


Maleina Valle

I stumbled across the website. I cannot believe that the mansion is gone. I worked a season at the Haunted Mansion of Long Branch back in early 80's. Back then people use to call me Angel. I started working at the mansion with Scott Coultor. As a matter of fact Scott was my ride to the mansion from Lakewood, New Jersey in his VW Bug. I even dated Mark McAvoy for a short period of time. 

I remember the long hours that we worked. Big crowds coming through. Playing all the different characters as Jack the Rippers's victim, Lizzie Borden, Reagan, the headless woman, the rat professor and so forth. I also remember a lot of interesting people that worked there. I remember the incident of the woman in white. How some of us freaked out about the woman in white. Remembering Lil telling us that there was no such thing as the woman in white and someone was playing a joke. 

I have to admit looking back on those times was a lot more fun and I am glad I had the experience of working there. I am now 45 years old and live in Dallas, TX working as Help Desk Analyst for a major health care system. What a difference huh?! I do tell my daughter of stories of the mansion. She understands why my favorite time of the year for me is Halloween. I see all the haunted houses nowadays and they do not hold a candle to what the mansion was. Not even close!!!! It is a shame that folks today cannot experience the original, the one and only true haunted mansion as it was meant to be. Thanks for the memories!!!


Joseph LoBello

Thank you so much for restoring some of my memories of my few years working at Kids World. Very emotional on how the June 8th Fire changed the direction for the rest of my life. I was 17, and days before the fire I had just painted the Romper Room in fun and crazy purple shapes and designs. I had worked at the Water Slide and on the Snake Slide next to the pool. Even saved a little boy in the pool while giving a lifeguard a break!  While not working summers at the boardwalk, I had found out I had a unique passion for coaching, and working with kids. Parents, the community, and all those who knew me were telling me how much a difference I was making in those kids of all talent levels, motivating and inspiring everyone. By age 21, I was the recreation director, coaching 3 teams, and working in a after school program.

On June 8th riding my bike home at 2:45, I saw the smoke and was one of the first ones there. Never did get many pictures but I do remember the fire was very small at first but those huge cement blocks prevented the fire trucks from getting close to the McDonald's near the fire. Well that day really did change my life, as a well known young coach in Monmouth Beach my neighbor knew I needed a summer job, and got me a job as teller at Monmouth Park. Back then that was a very prestigious job and I went from making $6 hour to $20 hour. What started as a negative I thought turned into a positive getting that job. But five years later gambling took a devastating effect on my life. I had been obsessed with trainers, jockeys, and world of horse racing. My focus changed from college, coaching, and now started chasing the horses, lost bets. My car was repossessed, credit ruined, dreams of coaching and working with the kids was gone. 

Today I am 10 years clean and have not been back to Monmouth Park since I left in 1995, and have turned everything around. If it had not been for that fire, I probably would have been a legendary coach and teacher. In a weird way, I am going back to where the water slide was in starting a company to handle all the local transportation at the hotels and events in the Long Branch and local shore area. I am incorporating my dream and the history of the boardwalk into my marketing and name of my company. I am looking for some old and current photos of the Long Branch beachfront to use in a brochure. After 20 years of sometimes searching for photos from the fire and before, while looking on the web for some Long Branch beach photos, I stumbled upon your website!!!

6/15/09 I love reading people's memories of the Haunted Mansion because I also used to hang around on the boardwalk and Haunted Mansion with my best homegirl pinky and lots of my friends.  I love and miss those days.  As a child my family used to live on South Broadway right across the street from the boardwalk and beach.  How I loved to go outside and smell the ocean and hear the Haunted Mansion's music.  I loved the Puerto Rican festival and the fireworks every Friday.  I loved the food on the boardwalk! 

It's been a real long time since I lived there and I have never forgotten even though I'm married with children.  I've told my children all about Long Branch and the happiest times of my life.  It just doesn't seem fair that it's all gone and that the future generations can't ever enjoy the fun.


Tony Serra

In 1987 I did my first stage show called Once Upon A Mattress, and as if by luck, one of the leads in the show was a long time employee at the Haunted Mansion; a very talented young guy named Carlo Durland. Well, as a cast of a show rehearses, you become sort of like a family, so Carlo invited us to all go to the Haunted Mansion because he was adding in a new character attraction, an evil wizard that wore a turban and had a huge crystal ball; plus his make up was unbelievable!  Very scary!  Well, we all went and had a blast. Carlo was incredible!  I was so excited to finally be inside the Mansion because I had seen the commercials on TV from when I was a kid. About a week later the mansion burned down.  It was very sad for so many people, especially the employees. So, to this very day I owe Carlo my thanks for the awesome experience I had visiting The Haunted Mansion at Long Branch. 

Cut to the year 2003, I meet an amazing woman full of life named Kim Demeter.  We became good friends and one day I was telling her how much I loved Sci-Fi and Horror, and she looked at me as if she was about to give me the greatest gift in the world and said "I used to work at the Haunted Mansion at Long Branch!"  Well, as you can imagine I flooded her with questions about it and told her my story of when I went.  She told me she was there in the 70's a long time back, and was going to give me a picture of herself in Haunted Mansion makeup! She gave me the picture, and I was amazed at how intense the makeup was.

Sadly, Kim passed away in 2006, but, she left me with another Haunted Mansion memory and, the best gift of all, I have become very close friends with her beautiful daughter Tiffany Demeter who also shares my love of horror.  We celebrate Halloween like two kids, we just love it. I have enclosed a copy of the picture Kim gave me.  She was not married yet so she would have worked at the Mansion under her maiden name Kim Rush.

I wish they would build a new Haunted Mansion somewhere along the Jersey shore, and get Carlo to be the artistic director.  I know he would bring back all of the original atmosphere and chilling charm that it once had!

The late Kim Rush

2/17/09 I have some good memories of the pier, but to see no one saying boo to all this fancy crap they wanna put up… And answer me this, who needs a amphitheater on a pier??? And what the hell is Sandy Hook for???? Come on, really. Since when did the locals give in to all this? I see change and some is good and some is crap. We are a shore community and should have some memories for our children also. There’s more than a beach and stores and clubs we can’t get in to and pay New York prices. The pier gave us a childhood to remember and where is that for all of us to see now?  I’ll tell you where, in someone’s living room or the middle of a store we can’t afford to shop in. When are we going to see this all change???  All the politics and none for the locals. All for fancy crap that blocks the view we all loved to see, and places we all loved to play...






© 2009 Dark in the Park.  This site was created by Bill and Seph Cherkasky.