Gravestone Manor provides a unique twist on fright
Published: Friday, October 1, 2010
Updated: Sunday, October 3, 2010 17:10
During the month of October, there's nothing like a good scare to get you into the spirit of Halloween. Most people choose to visit local haunted attractions in order to get their fix of fear for the holiday.
Haunted attraction Gravestone Manor, located at 1095 Highway 315 in Plains, will be open for business Friday through Sunday throughout October. Their hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The attraction will be closed on Halloween night. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds benefit the United Way.
Gravestone Manor is the second longest running haunted attraction in Northeast Pennsylvania. Since 1998, it has been providing visitors with a unique spin on what you would typically expect from a haunted house.
Rather than being chased into dark corners by someone with a chainsaw, Gravestone Manor provides its scares through somewhat of a theatrical performance.
Producer Ray Haigh described the attraction as "a hybrid between a murder mystery dinner theater and a haunted house."
All performers at Gravestone Manor donate their time on a volunteer basis and are picked through an audition process similar one an actor or actress would go through in a theatrical performance.
The plot of the performance at the manor changes yearly. This year, the manor will be presenting a murder mystery theme. Visitors will be challenged to figure out who murdered the wedding party during a 1927 wedding that took place at the manor.
"We spend a lot of time on our story development," said Gravestone Manor director Robert Padden. "Every year, our writers group together and we have some story lines pitched. We then vote and decide which ones work best. Once the script is semi-finalized then we get to work on the set to match it to the story line."
Rather than being pushed through a haunted house, visitors are encouraged to take time to observe their surrounding and participate in the story line.
"The whole experience is very interactive for the visitors," Haigh said. "People who haven't been to this kind of thing before don't understand why the creatures pop out and start talking to you and telling you stories. That's what happens here."
The set of the haunted attraction is structured in a way that gives you bits and pieces of the story line within each room. As you pass through the rooms, you will experience different settings that tie into the plot of the murder mystery.
"We didn't just want to have you moving from one location to another similar location in a next room," Padden said. "You move throughout the setting of this house and each room gives you a little more to the mystery. By the end, when you're ready to solve the mystery, the things you've seen in each room make it all come together and allow things to make a bit more sense."
Haigh explained that reactions to the haunted attraction vary depending on what you're looking for in order to get your scare. It's suitable for those people who may be afraid of your typical haunted house, as well as enjoyable to those who love the attractions.
"Some people go through Gravestone Manor and say ‘Oh, well that wasn't a haunted house. Where was Freddy? Where was Jason?' In our show, we use more original characters and present our own story line," Haigh said "We try our best to know what will scare people. It's a gratifying experience when we see people react to it and hear their screams."
For more information on Gravestone Manor, visit its website at www.gravestone.manor.org.