Haunted Houses That Touch You
5 Most Extreme Haunted Houses in America
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REVIEW: The Uninvited: Awakening Skeleton Key Experience

The Uninvited: Awakening / Skeleton Key Experience
151 W 116th Street
New York, NY

The Uninvited: The Awakening is an immersive experience in the style of Sleep No More. Boasting a uniquely creepy environment within the historic architecture of Harlem’s Graham Court Building, the Uninvited takes place in the seemingly unchanged cellar, which was once used as a turn-of-the-last-century stable. The vast basement is filled with a variety of horror sets from a room filled entirely with antique baby dolls to a dig-your-own grave room. The spirits trapped there provide you with company ranging from darkly comedic to chillingly uncomfortable. The immersive experience has a choose your own adventure feel to it and requires you to really explore your surroundings to get the most out of your time there.

The Skeleton Key Experience takes things to a more extreme level. The 2-hour experience begins like a general admission ticket, but after 45-min you are kidnapped by one of the spirits and locked into one of the many rooms. There are a variety of Skeleton Key Experiences, but they all incorporate an intensely dramatic monologue into an uncomfortable or terrifying activity. Depending on who kidnaps you, you might face being buried alive, strangled, or submerged in cold water.


According to the Official Website: “Yes. Our intentions are to give you nightmares for months to come. However, everyone’s interpretation of scary is different- so it will vary per victim. However, we strive to make you jump out of your skin.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: The Uninvited has created an experience that can be tailored to the individual. From the biggest chicken to the bravest soul, the Uninvited: Awakening has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to be entertained or terrified is up to you.


Chatting with the Lillians and the creepy static-electricity-loving clown will easily put you on edge. Look forward to getting up close and personal with the spirits hiding in the seemingly empty long dark underground hallways. Other highlights include the Skeleton Key Experience, the Antique Doll Room, and having your Tarot Cards read.


The historic basement environment was so amazing that I wished that the sets were more interactive and that there was more to explore. It would have been amazing if every drawer you encountered contained something repulsive or mysterious inside.

The Skeleton Key Experience would have been even more over the top if you were able to experience more than one “kidnapping.” The experiences were so varied that you left wishing you got to experience more than one, but at the $100+ price point it is unlikely that many people will be willing/able to return for more.


The Uninvited succeeds in creating a uniquely terrifying environment that allows visitors to choose the level of horror that they wish to experience. It is a ghastly good time.



September 29 – November 5


General Admission:  $45.00 – $55.00

Student Tickets: $30.00

VIP Skeleton Key Experience: $100.00 – $125.00




“You must be at least 13 years old to attend. No one under the age of 18 may attend without a parent or legal guardian accompanying them into the experience.”


“Yes. Our experience is full contact, and the spirits so desperately crave to feel life once more. You will be touched. You will not, however, be intentionally harmed or touched in an inappropriate manner.”



Why We Find Extreme Haunted Houses Empowering

A response to Stephanie Sylverne’s article “Extreme Haunted Houses Aren’t Cool – They’re inhumane.”

We love Halloween. All of it – the history, the whimsy of pumpkin picking and bobbing for apples, and the ability to make yourself feel more alive by stepping outside of your comfort zone. We freely admit that we are adrenaline junkies. We love the adrenaline rush we get from performing on stage and we love the adrenaline rush we get from extreme haunted houses.

Extreme haunted houses provide a safe environment to test your physical and mental limitations within the realm of a fictional immersive theater experience. We have attended many extreme haunted houses (including the infamous off-season events of Blackout Haunted House) and we have never been placed in any real danger.

That being said, we are both women in our early 30s (one of us is even a mom) and we take our safety very seriously. We do not sky dive, bungee jump, or participate in events like the Tough Mudder extreme obstacle mud run because we are unwilling to risk our safety.

Extreme Haunted houses like Blackout and Freakling Bros create the illusion of an out of control experience, but the reality is that every moment is precisely planned and monitored. The actors are trained to handle different scenarios and many have backgrounds in stage combat and professional wrestling. This illusion allows you to push your boundaries and face your darkest fears in a safe environment where no real harm will come to you. Nearly all extreme haunts have a safe word. If the experience becomes too much for you then you say the safe word and it’s over. McKamey Manor is the one exception. They do not have a safe word and all participants are aware of that fact before they enter. No one enters an extreme haunt against their will.

The psychological aspect of these experiences allows you to project your deepest fears on the subject matter, which can be very personal and unsettling, so it is perfectly understandable that survivors of abuse like Ms. Sylverne might find the thought of these simulated experiences appalling.

Extreme Haunted Houses are not for everyone. Fear is subjective and affects everyone differently. I sleep just fine after visiting an extreme haunted house, but I can’t watch horror movies like Hostel, Silent Hill, or the Saw franchise because they give me nightmares. So, I believe that it’s inaccurate to suggest that extreme haunted houses exist solely because our society has become desensitized and dead inside. Everyone is different and it’s important to know your limits before you participate in any kind of extreme activity.

Extreme Haunted Houses are what you make of them. We find it very empowering that we are able to withstand the simulated violence and horror scenarios that others cannot. The adrenaline rush you get from playing the role of the lone survivor in a simulated horror movie comes with a sense of accomplishment and pride for having challenged your fears. Standing up to our fears makes us feel powerful and we’d like to think that in some small way our experiences in extreme haunted houses might help us to remain calm in dangerous real life situations. And it’s fun. Because it’s not real. It’s make believe, but when it’s over you return to your life with perspective and a deeper understanding of who you are.

In the future, we encourage news publications and journalists writing about these events to contact the haunt owners directly or speak to someone who actually participated when it comes to the content of these shows. Just because you think something happened, doesn’t necessarily mean that it did. There are numerous theatrical tricks that can be used to create illusions and the haunt owners can discuss how they safely create the moments that feel very dangerous.

REVIEW: Nyctophobia

Long Island, NY

Nyctophobia 2014 was like stepping into a Lynchian nightmare where garbled sounds and blurred visuals gave way suddenly to eerie scenes that drove forward themes of loss, longing, regret and obsession. An interrogation scene managed to get under my skin without being intimidating, but by forcing eye contact while probing my thoughts on love and failure.  I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable throughout the haunt, though a highlight was being guided through an open field with my vision impaired by scratched goggles.

While Nyctophobia deprived me of my senses to make me uneasy, it also directly assaulted them with great success. The smell… oh the smell of one gentleman I encountered inside the haunt…  just awful. And this is coming from someone who lives in NYC (subways, cab drivers, hipsters!) If I was not thoroughly creeped out by the first 90% of the haunt, the ending climax was enough to push me over the edge with understated acting that ranks with the best that I’ve experienced.

Final Thoughts

Nyctophobia is an intense immersive experience, but the intensity comes from the subject matter, from playing with your senses, and from the terrific performances inside the haunt.  It was never overly aggressive, nor did it rely on jump scares, but it was still one of the more affecting haunts of the 2014 season.

Nyctophobia’s 2014 Season

October 10 – October 26

Age Requirements

Not appropriate for children. No one under 16 permitted. You must enter in pairs, but you will be separated.

Additional Information



Waldorf Estate of Fear
6325 Interchange Road
Lehighton, PA

The haunt that got my adrenaline pumping the most this Halloween season was The Waldorf Estate of Fear.  Even though they told me not to run, I did anyway!  More on that in a bit…  Located in Lehighton, PA, Waldorf is celebrating their 10th terrifying year, with three attractions – a hayride (Terror in the Corn), a group walk-through haunt (The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel), and new for this year, an interactive zombie experience (Infection) where you don a flag football belt and attempt to juke your way through an onslaught of the undead while keeping your vital organs (three flags representing your brain, heart and lungs) intact.

Is It Scary?

According to the Official Website: “Come find out for yourself!!!

The Raven & Black Cat says: Our competitive nature took over during Infection and it’s hard not to get a jolt when a zombie jumps out at you that you are actively trying to avoid – especially while you’re running for your life!  Between the rush of this experience and some genuinely dark sets in the group haunt, Waldorf delivers solid scares.

What We Loved

Infection was an absolute blast.  Upon entering, we were told not to run and rather to just try to dodge the zombies who were coming for our flags.  I don’t know if it had been a slow night and the ghouls inside were extra hungry, but they seemed to be chasing us harder than I expected and as a result I ran.  I totally ran.  I tried to pull a spin move on one of the zombies coming for me, and I lost my balance and fell on my ass.  As I lay there, my head still spinning from dizziness, I quickly imagined the classic horror movie scenes of a horde of zombies descending on a poor soul, ripping out his innards and having themselves a feast.  Luckily for me, the Jaded Viewer selflessly pulled me off of the ground and saved me and my flags from that sad fate.

After Infection, with our adrenaline pumping, we were greeted at The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel by James Cudie (spelled CU Die), a cross between a demon bellhop and a stand-up comedian.  It was the start of a terrific trip through a haunted hotel that felt real because it’s built out in a space that was previously a restaurant.  The kitchen set was actually a kitchen.  The bar set was actually a bar.  Beyond the great use of space, the haunt was well paced and the monsters inside interacted with us well.

What Could Be Better

The hayride wasn’t on par with the other two attractions at the haunt.  Things started off on the wrong foot when we were instructed by a giant demon pumpkin not to smoke during the hayride – this could have been handled by attendees who are not supposed to be a part of the show as we were starting.  There were some enjoyable cameos by familiar characters and nice sets, but there was too much reliance on actors screaming as loudly as they could as they mounted the wagon.  I was mostly scared for their vocal cords.

Final Thoughts

The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel is dark, creative, and one of the better group walk through haunts I experienced this season.  But the star of the show is Infection and it’s a blast for anyone who has ever watched a zombie flick and thought ‘I could dodge those zombies easily.’  Guess what, you can’t!  I may have only lost one flag (I assume it was my brain – I didn’t use it much anyway), but I definitely lost some dignity lying there on the ground.  It’s hard to imagine enjoying being chased by the undead more.

Waldorf Estate of Fear 2014 Season

September 26  – November 1

Ticket Information

  • Terror Package (All 3 Attractions):   $35
  • Scream Package (Any 2 Attractions): $30
  • The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel Only:  $15
  • Infection Only:  $15
  • Terror in the Corn Hayride Only:  $20
  • VIP Upgrade (Skip to the front of the line): Add $15

Age Requirements

According to the Official Website: “There is no age limit, parents must use their own discretion. Our rule of thumb is 10 and over!”

Additional Information


I’ve always heard that you need to be careful when using a Ouija board.  Assuming you make contact with someone, it likely won’t be the person you were actually trying to reach, rather it could be someone pretending to be them.  You wouldn’t just dial up a random phone number and expect to get grandma, would you?  At least over the phone you can tell that the heavy breather on the other end doesn’t sound like her.  How are you supposed to know that you’ve gotten a faker with a Ouija board?  Realize that grandma wasn’t this good at spelling?

That’s essentially the premise behind the new Universal Pictures movie,

Ouija based on the game by Hasbro – which by the way is appropriate for ages 10+ (don’t you dare contact the dead if you’re 9).  Following a friend’s mysterious death, a group of teens decide to use a board to make contact and get answers.  Shortly after using it for the first time, the teens find themselves stalked in a particularly creepy and jump scare-worthy fashion.  For some reason, the teens think this is actually their dear friend trying to reach them, despite the fact that their encounters are scaring the crap out of them.  To all of my friends or loved ones – if you pass on and want to contact me from the other side, please just send me an email.  Or an edible arrangement.  Something non-threatening would be appreciated.

From there, our plucky group of teens look to unravel the mystery behind who they’re actually talking to, and how it all links to the death of their friend.

Ouija had its audience squirming in their seats in anticipation, jumping at the right places, and then laughing/groaning at their poorly controlled reactions (myself included…  I knew the scares were coming and I still jumped).  At a quick 89-minutes, the movie never drags and has the traditional horror bad judgment necessary to move the plot.  At one point, a character in the movie asked, “What should we do?”  During our screening, the woman next to me responded to that question with “Run, fool!”  That would have been the right answer, but in the movie they just used the Ouija board some more… which I suppose makes for a scarier and longer movie.

Is Ouija going to freak me out and make me turn on a night light tonight?  Nah.  But is it a movie to get you into the Halloween spirit with some solid jump scares that will have you grabbing the arm of the person next to you?  You bet.  Just make sure to introduce yourself first.

Ouija opens Friday October 24th.


GIVEAWAY: Ouija Merchandise

To celebrate the new OUIJA movie (in theaters October 24th!) we’re giving away some awesome OUIJA merchandise. Enter to win below!

Five Winners will be selected. Each winner will receive One of Three Prize Packages. Winners will be given their choice of available Men’s Grey T-shirt & Ladies Black T-Shirt sizes.  

The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on October 26, 2014.

OUIJA T-Shirt & Headband OUIJA T-Shirt & Headband

OUIJA T-Shirt & Necklace OUIJA T-Shirt & Necklace

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OUIJA opens in theaters October 24, 2014. Universal will be sponsoring a promotional event on Tuesday, October 21st, starting at 7:30 pm at LoveCraft in NYC. They will be giving away additional merchandise and tickets to an advance screening of OUIJA on Wednesday, October 22nd! 


REVIEW: Field of Screams

Field Of Screams
191 College Avenue
Mountville, PA

Imagine it’s Friday night and you’ve just come home from a long day of work/school/doing nothing and your sweetheart says to you, “I really want to have a local teenager run a chainsaw against the back of my legs, tonight.”  And you say, “I was hoping we could go have Italian sausages and some fried dough.”  And they say, “But I want a demented clown to braid my hair.”  And you say, “But I’ve been practicing throwing softballs at empty bottles in the backyard and I think I could finally win you an over-sized teddy bear.”  This is clearly a tense moment, but then you realize together that there’s a place you could go that would make you both happy and you say in unison: Field of Screams!  Field of Screams (saving relationships since 1993) is a terrific reminder that a little fear can be a whole lot of fun.  With three walk-through haunts (Frightmare Asylum, Den of Darkness and the new outdoors Nocturnal Wasteland), and a top notch hayride, along with a series of horror-themed carnival games and food, there are hours of scare-filled entertainment to be had. I’d offer my services to Field of Screams as a marketing consultant, but with a packed house on the first weekend in October, it’s pretty clear that they’re doing just fine.

Is It Scary?

According to the Official Website: “Live in your nightmares as you journey through each attraction and be prepared for the most horrifying experience of your life because Field of Screams takes fear to a whole new level.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: I saw a woman in a full on sprint being chased by a monster with a chainsaw… out in the main entertainment area!  I also watched the bravest preteen I’ve ever seen go nose to nose with the haunt’s inhabitants and barely blink (she had ice water in her veins!).  I had a few moments of anxiety myself, but more than anything I had a great time throughout.

What We Loved

Right when I entered the Frightmare Asylum, a “patient” snuck up behind me and took my arm like we were on a date.  It was sweet and it felt right, but just before I could ask her to prom, a fellow inmate popped up and screamed in my face.  I was not expecting to be touched and it wasn’t aggressive, but that automatically upped the intensity.  The walk through haunts are terrific, however the hayride is the star of the show.  Highlights included a creepy butcher family and some pig carcasses, a barn full of giant snakes and a spooky circus.  I was hoping for once that the spooky circus would be filled with trapeze artists or lion tamers, but nope… clowns.  Always clowns.

What Could Be Better

When I entered the creepy emergency room, the actor said “What are you doing in my emergency room?”  When I entered the creepy power plant the actor said “What are you doing in my power plant?”  “What are you doing in my kitchen?”  “What are you doing on my lawn?”  Guys, I’m at a haunted house, that’s what I’m doing. Encountering creative dialogue when you enter a room can make a huge difference.

Final Thoughts

Field of Screams is at the top of their game combining great sets and effects with engaged actors and clever scares.  A crazy doctor sprayed me with something and said it was Ebola.  That’s an actor having fun, and it translates to a guest having fun.  By the way, should I be worried about the cough I’ve developed?

Field of Screams 2014 Season

September 12  – November 9

Ticket Information

  • Scream Pass (All 4 Attractions):   $33
  • Triple Combo Pass (Any 3 of 4 Attractions): $30
  • Double Combo Pass (Any 2 of 4 Attractions): $27
  • Haunted Hayride Only:  $16
  • Den of Darkness Only:  $14
  • Frightmare Asylum Only:  $14
  • Nocturnal Wasteland Only: $14
  • VIP Upgrade (Skip to the front of the line): Add $15

Discount Tickets

  • 13Haunts Coupon: $8 Off VIP Scream Pass/ $5 Off Regular Scream Pass –Click Here!
  • Join the Field of Screams Mailing List for Additional Coupons and Discounts.

Age Requirements

Not recommended for children under 10 years old.  (They have a non scary daytime event for children and adults who are young at heart at Corn Cob Acres.)

Additional Information


The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
525 S Riverside Avenue
Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Imagine walking down a wooded path in the cool crisp autumn air while enjoying seasonal treats like pumpkin pie, hot pumpkin donuts, and apple cider. Now imagine the path is lined with the most incredible display of carved pumpkins you’ve ever seen. This exists.

It’s called The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze and it is a truly glorious display of pumpkin carving complete with its own original soundtrack. This family friendly event is appropriate for all ages and is spooky without being scary. The twinkling pumpkin art ranges from Frankenstein and spooky faces to large scale dinosaurs. The pumpkin carvings are gorgeous and you can eat pumpkin pie while you admire them. It just doesn’t get better than that.

Final Thoughts

Everyone should see The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at least once. It is an incredible autumn celebration worthy of becoming an annual family tradition.

2014 Season

October 3  – November 1

Ticket Information

Adults:  $20.00 – $25.00  |  Children 3 – 17: $16.00 – $20.00  |  Children Under 3: Free

Age Requirements

Family friendly. No age requirements exist.

Additional Information



Nightmare: New York
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY

Nightmare Haunted House has a new theme after retiring two years of serial killers. This year the scares are inspired by the real life horror and urban legends of New York City. Journey back in time to be cursed by the Lenni Lenape indians and fight your way through the crazy homeless people, drug dealers, and sexual predators of Ed Koch’s New York. Along your way you’ll also encounter mole people, Typhoid Mary, sewer alligators, and giant rats.  

Is It Scary?

According to the Official Website: “Yes. This isn’t a theme park ride. The whole purpose is to scare you. We have worked long and hard to create the most horrifying experience possible. Get ready for your adrenaline fix.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Nightmare: New York brilliantly displays the real and imagined situations that keep your relatives in fear of the visiting the big city.

What We Loved

The 1980s subway car set and the Dakota room are both gorgeous and filled with compelling actors to put you on edge. Opting to have a bloody red X painted on your forehead will allow the actors to touch you. Look forward to getting up close and personal with Typhoid Mary and the Headless Horseman.  

Other highlights include a sensory deprivation maze, Uncle Touchy’s Tunnel of Love, and meeting the giant Rat King.  

What Could Be Better

The amazing subway set is just asking to be the scene of a mugging. Throughout that entire scene I just kept asking myself, “Why is no one getting mugged?” That would be scary. 

Another missed opportunity is not dedicating a room to every New Yorker’s worst fear: BED BUGS. Forget roaches! Imagine a room covered in faux bed bugs and then the lights go out and oatmeal (or literally anything) is sprinkled on you as if you might be taking some of them home with you. Chills. 

Final Thoughts

Nightmare: New York is another solid offering from creator Timothy Haskell. History and urban legend combine to put you face to face with your worst inner city nightmares.

Nightmare: New York 2014 Season

September 26  – November 1

Ticket Information

Timed Ticketing:  $30.00 Online  |  $35.00 At The Door

VIP (Front of the line access): $50.00 Online  |  $60.00 At The Door


  • $20 Student Rush Tickets Available 1 Hour Prior to Listed Start Times.
  • Sunday, October 5th: Military Night – half off for all military personnel all night long at the Box Office.
  • Wednesday, October 8th: Public Servants Night – half off for all police, FDNY, EMT, etc at the Box Office.
  • 50% Off Timed Ticketing & VIP Tickets – Click Here!

Age Requirements

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted. 

Additional Information


Image via www.kjaggers.com

It’s officially October and there are so many exciting things right around the corner.

Stay tuned for lots of updates, reviews, and giveaways.

There are so many reasons to love Etsy. Here are 16 more…

A Black & White Vintage Inspired Halloween Decor Collection.


All Hallow's Eve

A Black & White Vintage Inspired Halloween Decor Collection.

Halloween Subway Art, Halloween Decor, Halloween Printable, Halloween Mantel, Halloween Word Art
Black Halloween Decor Pedestal Bowl Classic Black Paris Chic Decor
Halloween Burlap Boo Banner Halloween Decoration Rustic Decoration Scary Decoration Fall Halloween Door or home Decoration Halloween Decor
Elegant Halloween Decor Autumn Wreath Black Leaves Leaf Wreath Large 50th Birthday
halloween decor sale Vintage collector bottle with label watkins vanilla bottle vintage glass bottle collection decor wedding photp prop
1 Black Tissue Paper Pom / Gothic Wedding Decor / Halloween / Birthday Party / Anniversary / Black And White Theme Paper Decorations
Black Halloween Garland, Ten Foot Garland, Hearts, Gothic Decoration
Halloween Decor. 3D Cut Paper Spider in his Web. In Silver, Black and White.
Raven Art Print, Crow Art, Halloween Decor, Gothic Art, Black and White Animal Photography, Fine Art Print, Bird Photography, Wall Decor
Black Candlestick Holders / Set of 5, Halloween, Candle Holders, Spooky, Flea Market Chic, Grouping, Home Decor, Centerpiece, Mantel
Front Page Trick OR Treat Halloween Banner Garland Handmade Holidays Decoration German Glass Glitter Photo Prop Halloween Decor
Halloween Decor, Old Cemetery Photograph, Haunted Graveyard Photo, Fine Art Print, Black and White, Graveyard Photo, Gothic, Dark Art, fog
TIL DEATH DO Us Part Halloween Wedding Banner
24 Black Paper Doilies- 4 inch, black and perfect for a Gothic Halloween
Antique Cast Iron Candle Holder Gothic Halloween Decor Black Candelabra Ornate Shabby Chippy Original Patina Acanthus Leaves
All Hallows Eve - Printable Halloween Party Invitation - Party Decor - Adult Halloween Invitations

Powered By Toastie Studio – Etsy Tools

Check out our other Etsy Treasuries here.

REVIEW: Fright Dome

Fright Dome
Circus Circus
Las Vegas, NV

We visited Fright Dome during their 10 Years of Terror celebration in 2012. Creator Jason Egan pulled out all the stops for the massive celebration housed in the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. 

Fright Dome is an epic Halloween party. Five haunted houses, twenty-five amusement park rides, a stocked bar,  celebrity appearances, live music, and four scare zones all capped off with a nightly dance party led by a bunch of terrifying clowns.

Christine visits Fright Dome at Circus Circus

Christine visits Fright Dome at Circus Circus

The weekend we visited the celebrity visiting was one of the cars used in the film version of Stephen King’s Christine. Since my name is Christine, I am a huge fan. Thanks to Christine’s owner Bill Gibson, I had the privilege of sitting in Christine. I watched with awe as the car seemingly came alive.The dashboard lit up, the radio played “We Belong Together,” fog poured from the dashboard, and my seat lurched forward toward the steering wheel. It was AMAZING.

Back to the haunted houses. All of the haunts were stunning with a fast-paced tour guide format. We were completely wowed by their zombie themed haunt, Ward of the Dead, created in conjunction with George A. Romero. The facility was experiencing a breach and the tour guide shouted guidance about how to avoid the creatures. We jumped and dodged and ducked out of the way…. well, I did. Shelly, who was behind me, couldn’t hear the guide’s instructions and found herself fighting through hoards of zombies. We both had a spectacular time and the sets and costumes were incredibly detailed. 

Another highlight of our trip was riding the Adventuredome roller coaster in the darkened Fright Dome environment. You can’t see what’s coming next, which adds a delicious element of surprise.

Final Thoughts

Many haunts try to create a hip party-like atmosphere around their haunted attractions, but no one succeeds like Fright Dome. Fright Dome is the ultimate Halloween party.  

Fright Dome 2014 Season

October 3  – November 1

Ticket Information

General Admission:  $34.95 – $39.95  |  Fast Pass: $54.95 – $59.95  |  VIP Tour: $89.95

Age Requirements

Not appropriate for children under 12.

New For 2014

Six new haunted houses including a Texas Chainsaw Massacre themed haunted house that will incorporate scenes from the film. The new Isolation Haunted House is just for fast-pass and VIP ticket holders and must be entered alone.

Additional Information

2014 Vintage Inspired Halloween Decor
Pottery Bar 2014 Mad Scientist Halloween Collection

Pottery Bar 2014 Mad Scientist Halloween Collection

It’s that time of year again and stores are full of gorgeous Gothic, Victorian, and Literary inspired Halloween decor. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites below. Oh, if only we had unlimited ducats and storage space.

All Hollows Eve Platter $79 / Pottery Barn

All Hollows Eve Platter $79 / Pottery Barn

Faux Crows $24.50 / Pottery Barn

Faux Crows $24.50 / Pottery Barn

Black Branch Wreath $49.95 / Crate & Barrel

Black Branch Wreath $49.95 / Crate & Barrel

Halloween Skellie Toile Table Runner $49.95 / Williams-Sonoma

Halloween Skellie Toile Table Runner $49.95 / Williams-Sonoma

Skeleton Hand Serving Set $19.50 / Pottery Barn

Skeleton Hand Serving Set $19.50 / Pottery Barn

Skull Ceramic Vase $109 / Pottery Barn

Skull Ceramic Vase $109 / Pottery Barn

Morelia Cake Plate $14.95 / Crate & Barrel

Morelia Cake Plate $14.95 / Crate & Barrel

Chemistry Set $29.50 / Pottery Barn

Chemistry Set $29.50 / Pottery Barn

Halloween Skull Mug Set $39.95 / Williams-Sonoma

Halloween Skull Mug Set $39.95 / Williams-Sonoma

Set of Four Halloween Plates $59 / Grandin Road

Set of Four Halloween Plates $59 / Grandin Road


Blood Manor
163 Varick Street
New York, NY

Blood Manor is celebrating its 10th year of terror this October, with the usual dose of ghouls, gore, and good times, along with some new twists!  Conveniently located on Varick Street, Blood Manor opens this Friday, October 3rd.  We were lucky enough to get an early look at the haunt at their Media Preview event.

Is It Scary?

According to their Official Website: “Yes.  Blood Manor is designed to be the most intense, creepy and ‘scream inducing’ haunted house attraction in the New York tri-state area.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit with a classic, group walk-through style haunted house with lots of blood, incredible makeup, top notch sets, and 3-D effects, then Blood Manor is for you.

What We Loved

The look of the monsters was outstanding with real attention to detail paid to each actor’s makeup.  Even when interacting up close at the media event with better lighting than inside the house, they still looked terrific.  The characters also varied their approach to interacting with me.  One zombie took the classic ‘be threatening and scary tact’ and whispered in my ear that she wanted to drink the blood out of my heart like it was tea (which I assume means with some half and half and a twist of lemon).  Other characters injected some humor, while still lingering in your personal space to make you uncomfortable.  We met a foul mouthed blonde named “Tiffany” (don’t tell anyone, but I think Tiffany was a man) who asked “D” if he wanted to be her new boyfriend.  The role was available because she had killed her last boyfriend in a way that would have made Lorena Bobbitt blush.  Since he’s married, “D” unfortunately had to reject the offer.  He made a promise that only his wife is allowed to murder him through genital dismemberment.

What Could Be Better

There were some characters who seemed to really enjoy interacting with the Manor’s guests and played off of the crowd well.  Others jumped out and then didn’t offer much beyond the initial scare.  Since a group walks through a room at their own pace, being able to sustain creepiness after that initial jump scare is key.

Final Thoughts

Blood Manor continues to bring grade A presentation and classic haunt style to NYC.  This year, they’ve added ‘Touch Me Thursdays’ where you can opt to be touched by the actors, and Blackout Nights (November 7th and 8th) where they turn down the lights and you have to walk through with only a glow stick – both promise to up the fear factor.  There is also a new timed line system to reduce your wait to get in. 

Blood Manor Runs

October 3rd – November 8th

Ticket Information

  • General Admission (Online): $33.50

  • General Admission (At the Door): $35.00

  • R.I.P. Express Entry (Online): $53.50 (comes with free t-shirt!)

  • R.I.P. Express Entry (At the Door): $60.00 (also comes with free t-shirt!)

Discount Tickets

  • 50% Off General Admisison & RIP Tickets – Click Here

Age Requirements

Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Additional Information


REVIEW: Gateway Playhouse

Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse
215 South Country Road
Bellport, NY

Long Island’s Gateway Playhouse produces one of the best haunted houses in the country. With a new theme every year, it is always fresh, exciting and innovative. 

For the 2013 season, they combined dark fairy tales and creepy circus themes to create “The Grimling Family Travelling Circus.” The unusual combination was their finest and most detailed haunt yet.

The amount of sensory detail is astounding. The journey is covered with uneven and moving walkways, electric sparks, pungent smells, and spectacular visuals. The superb costumes and makeup help the talented actors create an environment straight out of your worst nightmare. 

Gateway also succeeds in creating the party environment that so many haunts are trying to achieve. There is an outdoor bar and food trucks to enjoy while you wait to enter the haunt. Their brilliant ticketing system limits wait time, so patrons can enjoy food, drink, and roaming characters and entertainers.   

Final Thoughts

Gateway Playhouse has once again created a brilliantly theatrical haunt. It is visually stunning and scary as hell. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse is a MUST SEE. You will not be disappointed. Their 2014 season begins September 26th! We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this year.

Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse 2014 Season

September 26 – November 1

Ticket Information

General Admission: $25.00   |  Fast Pass: $35.00

Additional Information


Long Island, NY

What is Nyctophobia?  Nyctophobia began as a haunted house and has grown into its own unique brand of immersive promenade theater. Every year it is completely different. We had the pleasure of visiting Nyctophobia in 2011 for its brick and mortar haunted house beginnings. (Read our review of Nyctophobia 2011.)


When we returned in 2012 for their invite-only event, we were thrilled to discover that Nyctophobia had become a story driven immersive theater experience. You had to enter alone and play an active part in the story. This required problem solving and following directions as a rookie investigator of a company called LI Ghosts, that was looking into the disappearance of a young girl. After an initial job interview, you were blindfolded and transported to an actual motel where a detective explained the case and directed you to the crime scene. Different motel rooms were used to create flashbacks and show you what had happened to the missing girl and a mysterious entity encountered in the restroom forcefully gave instructions on how to avoid a similar fate. A highlight was trying to steal a key from around then neck of a sleeping man. When he awoke, he chased you into the parking lot where the detective screamed for you to jump into a van to be whisked back to safety. There’s nothing like running for your life amongst complete strangers.

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012


For 2013, Nyctophobia became a 4 person team experience. Each team drove to a starting location and then with the aide of clues and a map made their way to four nearby locations. Each location provided a piece of the story and your team had to put the clues together to figure out what happened. The various locations included a ghost photographer by the side of the road, a car abandoned near train tracks, a campsite in the woods, and a corpse dumped near a lake. A highlight was running through the woods trying not to attract the attention of blind zombie-like monsters. We encountered a little confusion trying to finding locations and debating clues with teammates, but overall we had a great time.  


Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Final Thoughts

Nyctophobia continues to be one of the most unique haunted attractions in New York. Creator, Eric Striffler isn’t afraid to take risks and the ever-changing format is exciting and full of imagination. The interactive element combined with the fact that the actors can touch you makes for an unnerving and spine chilling experience. We can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2014. 


Nyctophobia’s 2014 Season

October 10 – October 26

Tickets Go On Sale: Friday, October 1, 2014 @ 7:00pm


Age Requirements

No one under 16 permitted. You must enter in pairs, but you will be separated.


Additional Information

Top 5 Horror TV Shows of 2014

Our friend, ‘D’ counts down the best horror tv shows currently on the air. Disagree? Let us know what tops your list of favorites!


Looking for great horror on television can be tough.  There are shows where the characters are “monsters” but the genre is most definitely not horror.  Take True Blood for example – there are vampires and werewolves, but the show is basically Twilight with titties.  There are also shows that are trying to be scary and disturbing, but just…. aren’t.  The Following is violent and gory for sure, but its model-pretty bad guys are about as creepy as a J.Crew catalog.  Here are my top 5 favorite horror TV shows that are still airing and you can watch now.

#5 – Hannibal (NBC)

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about this show.  4 books and 4 movies was about as much Hannibal Lecter as I needed, and what kind of fool would really want to attempt to walk in the Academy Award winning shoes of Anthony Hopkins?  Mads Mikkelsen, that’s who, and dang is he creepy!  I was hooked after episode 2, which featured the hunt for a serial killer who buried his victims alive and grew mushrooms out of them.  Hannibal is scheduled to “return soon” for season 3, but you can binge watch the first season on Amazon Prime like I did!

#4 – American Horror Story (FX)

Another confession – I found the first season of this show to be tawdry (so wait, you mean you’re going to have a ghost put on a gimp suit and rape Connie Britton?)  But AHS has figured out the right formula and has gotten better – less Dylan McDermott and more Jessica Lange.  Season 2 was fun and creepy, despite a serious lack of focus – I like to imagine some FX network exec being like: “Grotesque experiments on lunatics in an insane asylum?  A scary serial killer?  Sounds great you guys – but it just feels like it needs something…. how about aliens?  X-Files, now that was a scary show and they had aliens.”  American Horror Story kicks off Season 4 with Freak Show, starting October 8th.

#3 – The Strain (FX)

Y’know, vampires aren’t scary enough on their own.  How about instead of traditional fangs, we give these bad boys some messed up snake like stingers that they launch at you out of their mouths?  Oh, oh, and instead of just sucking your blood they inject you with worms that crawl around underneath your skin.  And then once your transformation to vampire is complete your peen falls off!  Ewwwww.  Sure the show is chock full of cliched characters (the good hearted work-a-holic dad who can’t get his shit together) and we’ve seen ‘reinvented vampire mouths’ before (Blade 2), but who doesn’t love an epic horror quest?  Band together a motley crew of CDC execs, a concentration camp survivor, a former gang banger and an exterminator to stop the vamps from taking over the world?  Sign me up Mr. Del Toro.  We’re currently mid-season 1, so catch up on demand now!

#2 – Penny Dreadful (Showtime)

Okay, so there are vampires, and werewolves, and titties (which I was just making fun of before), but Penny Dreadful pulls off what True Blood doesn’t by blending famous monsters in a new and creative way.  Our heroes need someone with a medical background and the morbid curiosity not to run at the site of a vampire corpse?  Sounds like Dr. Frankenstein to me.  And who to turn to when they need a hematologist with experience in strange blood disorders?  Hello Abraham Van Helsing!  But what truly sets Penny Dreadful apart is the spectacular performance from Eva Green, whose Vanessa Ives can barely keep her inner demons at bay.  Here’s hoping the show can keep up the momentum it established in a short 8-episode first season.

#1 – The Walking Dead (AMC)

I always figured that in the inevitable event of a zombie apocalypse that there would be strength in numbers.  If my gang ran into another gang out on the street then we would join forces to become an even bigger gang of zombie ass-kickers.  I guess I didn’t factor in the lack of food and resources, or the distrust that would come with the end of the world.  People who have lost patience with TWD want a show about zombies.  The real struggle here is the balance between being willing to do whatever it takes to survive and trying to hold onto what makes us human. This show takes its time, so you’ll care when a character dies.  It can be slow and plodding (like life might be like if you could no longer check into the zombie apocalypse on Foursquare), but that only makes the sudden danger of a violent attack all the more tense and terrifying.  The original comics, books, video games, and an upcoming spin-off… is TWD getting too big for its britches?  The answer is no.  The Walking Dead returns October 12th.  Seriously, watch this show.

We apologize for our lengthy absence. We had some real life horror to deal with, but we’re back and we have lots to share. 

Extreme Haunted Houses: Meet the Creators
Blackout Haunted House

Blackout Haunted House

McKamey Manor

McKamey Manor

Freakling Bros. Horror Shows

Freakling Bros. Horror Shows

The creators of the three most extreme haunted houses in America were interviewed by Rick West (Theme Park Adventure) for “Extreme Mazes: Pushing the Limits of Terror” at the 2013 ScareLA Haunt Convention. Watch and enjoy the evil genius of JT Mollner (Freakling Brothers), Russ McKamey (McKamey
), and Josh Randall (Blackout). 

Videos courtesy of McKamey Manor.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwS4pqoLuEA?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq51PriaQx0?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ0-o2kfKw8?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0o02ehC1cM?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]

The 7 Most Extreme Haunted Houses in America (Updated 2015)

UPDATED 2015: We seek out the craziest most extreme haunted attractions in the country. The haunted houses on our list cater to adult audiences and involve waivers, extreme physical contact, safe words, abduction, violence, nudity and electric shock. The 7 haunts below shatter the traditional rules and limitations of haunted attractions to provide the scariest, most intense experience the haunt industry has to offer. 


7. Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres

Pataskala, Ohio  |  Official Website   |  $25 – $45  |  Parental Advisory Explicit Content

Features: Violence, Sexual Undertones, Extreme Physical Contact.

When we attended the Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres an actor threw me over his shoulder and carried me off into a different room where he spun me around several times and then pushed me back in with my group. We were also cornered by men with chainsaws and one of us got hit in the head.  

A sign at the entrance of the haunt warns, “ATTENTION: Entering Dead Acres entails known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury. Risks may include among other things, slipping falling, collision with fixed objects or other participants…This may be the best haunted house you’ve ever experienced. Have Fun.”



6. D E A D  OF  N I G H T

Long Island, New York  |  Official Website   |   ?   |  Adults 18+ Only

Features: Violence, Sexual Undertones, Extreme Physical Contact, Submersion in Water, Humiliation, Must Sign a Waiver, There is a Safe Word.

In 2013, DEAD OF NIGHT on Long Island had one of the most brilliant haunt openings I’ve ever seen. Everyone waited in lines listening to a calming “we are here for your protection” recording, which was interrupted at intervals by an air raid siren and men in gas masks and suits, who each grabbed an unsuspecting patron and dragged them into the haunt.  Some people were dragged in, one girl was zipped into a body bag, and I was thrown over someone’s shoulder and carried inside. The haunt opened with this very strong abduction scenario, then the focus shifted to humiliation, the smearing of strange substances, and hitting people in the face with laughably large and painfully heavy fake penises. The experience has evolved quite a bit since 2013 and the theme changes every year.



ScareHouse, located in Pittsburgh, PA, is an elaborate haunted house attraction inside a nearly 100-year-old historic and haunted building. ScareHouse offers 3 differently themed haunts for just one price this Halloween season: The Forsaken, Creepo's Christmas in 3-D, and Pittsburgh Zombies.   New for 2013! Limited tickets available for "The Basement" – an intense, immersive, and interactive experience underneath ScareHouse.  No one under 18 will be admitted due to subject matter.   Tickets and more information about Pittsburgh's Ultimate Haunted House is available at www.scarehouse.com

5. ScareHouse: The Basement

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  |  Official Website   |  $35 – $50  |  Adults 18+ Only 

Features: Violence, Sexual Undertones, Extreme Physical Contact, Electric Shock, Religious Themes, Must Sign a Waiver, There is a Safe Word.

The Basement at ScareHouse is an intense, immersive, and interactive experience inside a nearly 100-year-old historic and haunted building. You may enter in pairs or alone. I chose to enter alone. It was a spectacular experience. There is a great deal of improvisation and dialogue with the actors as you make your way through each scene of your own personal horror movie. The actors were incredibly creative and fun to talk to as they doled out electric shocks and extreme physical contact. The Basement is a collaborative immersive theatre experience peppered with elements of extreme horror.



4. The Cult

North Conway, New Hampshire  |  Official Website   |  N/A  |  Adults Only  | No Longer Exists

Features: 18+, Must Enter Alone, Encounter Live Animals, Edibles, Extreme Violence, Sexual Undertones, Must Sign a Waiver, There is a Safe Word, Extreme Physical Contact.

Our visit to The Cult involved drinking faux urine, being bound and gagged and getting crawled on by cockroaches! Read a complete walk through of our experience here. 

**UPDATE: Cranmore Mountain Resort chose not to bring back The Cult for the 2013+2014+2015 season. Ask The Ghoullog Creators to bring back The Cult in 2016! Contact them now on Facebook or Twitter!** 


3. Blackout Haunted House

New York/California  |  Official Website   |  $45 – $150  |  Adults 18+ Only

Features: 18+, Extreme Violence, Full Frontal Nudity, Sexual Situations, Must Enter Alone, Edibles, Submersion in Water, Must Sign a Waiver, Extreme Physical Contact, There is a Safe Word.

Blackout Haunted House earns the #3 spot for their extreme OFF-SEASON EVENTS which combine their unique brand of immersive horror theater with elements that due to a gag order I am not permitted to disclose.  Their annual October haunt and exclusive off-season events are infamous. In the 7 events I have attended since 2010, I have been abducted in a van, faux-water-boardedrolled naked in a sheet of plastic and forced to walk barefoot down a used condom covered hallway. Blackout is never predictable. The experience is always shocking, upsetting, and exhilarating.

INFERNO is currently running in San Francisco Armory.

Blackout Reviews & Walk-Throughs

Blackout Off-Season Event Reviews & Walk-Throughs



2. Freakling Bros: Victim Experience III

Las Vegas, Nevada  |  Official Website   |  $100 – $150  |  Adults 18+ Only

Features: 18+, Extreme Violence, Deeply Personal Experience, Sexual Undertones, Partial Nudity, Submersion in Water, Electric Shock, Must Sign a Waiver, There is a Safe Word, Extreme Physical Contact.

The Victim Experience III is an uncensored, more extreme way to experience their 18+ Gates of Hell attraction. The Victim Experience is incredibly intense and you must go through alone. Participants will experience extreme physical contact, light torture, simulated drowning, and more. A member of our team made it all the way through and described the Victim Experience as, “intensely personal …more intense, scary and painful than the most intense Off-Season Blackout experience I have ever had.” 

Boy, do we believe him! We attended just the regular 18+ Gates of Hell attraction back in 2012 (before they started the Victim Experience) and that was deliciously intense! I watched a camouflaged attacker appear out of nowhere, grab my colleague by the foot, then knock her down and drag her away down a long hallway. I was left alone in the darkness until the attacker came back for me and threw me over his shoulder. We also faced electric shocks, professional wrestlers, and a firing squad. Read more about our experience here. Coming Soon: a no-spoilers account of what it’s like to survive the Victim Experience. 


and the Most Extreme (Possibly Unsafe) Haunted House in America is…

1. McKamey Manor

San Diego, California  |  Official Website   |  Dog Food Donation  |  Adults 21+ Only

Features: 21+, Extreme Violence, Small Enclosed Spaces, Edibles, Submersion in Water, Haircut, Covered in Blood, Must Sign a Waiver, Extreme Physical Contact, 4-7 Hour Experience.

McKamey Manor is the only attraction on the list that we have not personally experienced. This insanely extreme home haunt tops our list because it can use scare tactics that are off limits to professional attractions. We’re also not sure that what they’re doing is 100% safe. Participants are covered in blood, forced to eat disgusting things, threatened with power tools, stuffed into a clothes dryer, submerged in water, physically assaulted, and given a haircut. Don’t believe us? Just watch their 2013 promotional video below. Did we mention the experience lasts for 4-7 hours?! This one is too insane for even us!

Did we miss one? Let us know if there is a haunt that we should consider adding to the list!


If you love macabre Victorian horror then there are only two ways to spend the evening of Saturday, October 26th in New York City.



Edward Gorey Grand Halloween Ball 

October 26, 2013 – Halloween Saturday, 9PM

TICKETS: $30 General Admission / $40 at the Door / $25 Group Tickets of 6

LOCATION: One Hanover Square, New York, NY

Full Cash Bar, Must be 21+ ID to consume alcoholic beverages. 

DRESS CODE: Neglected Murderesses, Doubtful Guests, Gashly Crumb Tinies, Hapless Children, Gilded Bats. Anguishing Artists, Restless Widows, Lonesome Mourners, ect.


2) Gemini & Scorpio’s Masquerade Macabre

October 26, 2013 – Halloween Saturday, 9PM

TICKETS: $20 General Admission / $30 VIP (includes Absinthe Den) 

LOCATION: Grand Harmony Restaurant, 98 Mott Street, New York, NY

Full Cash Bar, Must be 21+, Costumes Required. 

DRESS CODE: Macabre Carnival, Aberrations of Nature, Cabinet of Curiosities, Dark Victoriana, Evil Funhouse, Steampunk, Jan Svankmaier & Brothers Quay Films, Freaks, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Think Dark & Creepy. Or Dark & Funny, Or wharever your Halloween costume happens to be. But if we have to ask, it’s not a costume.



Cougar Skull 7-inch Plate ($25.00)

Cougar Skull 7-inch Plate ($25.00)

Anatomical Heart 6-inch Bowl ($25.00)

Anatomical Heart 6-inch Bowl ($25.00)

 We love the exquisitely macabre pottery of Pirate Rose! You may remember her beautiful work from our March 2012 giveaway. We are so excited to announce that Pirate Rose will be awarding one of her beautiful custom pieces to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat

The winner will receive One Custom Pottery Piece of Their Choice from the Pirate Rose Pottery Etsy Shop. Here are a few of our favorites and instructions on how to enter.

The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on November 30, 2013.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pirate Rose is located in British Columbia, Canada. All of her pottery is handmade with the finest clay and glazed with a custom glaze that she makes herself to ensure that every item is food safe, microwave safe, oven safe, and dishwasher safe. She is a passionate artist and creates some delightfully creepy pieces. Visit the Pirate Rose Pottery Etsy Shop to see her entire collection of spooky and unique pottery. It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping!

Human Ribcage 9-inch Plate ($30.00)

Human Ribcage 9-inch Plate ($30.00)

Creepy Spider 5-inch Plate ($20.00)

Creepy Spider 5-inch Plate ($20.00)

Lady of the Dead 5-inch Plate ($20.00)

Lady of the Dead 5-inch Plate ($20.00)

Bat Skeleton 9-inch Plate ($30.00)

Bat Skeleton 9-inch Plate ($30.00)


Nightmare: Killers 2
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY

Nightmare Haunted House celebrates its 10th year in New York
City with Nightmare: KILLERS 2, a continuation of Tim Haskell and Steve
Kopelman’s smash hit serial killer haunted house. Killers 2 features a new cast
of real and fictional mass murderers. The new lineup is joined by a few
holdovers from last season. If you’re feeling brave, volunteer to be marked
with a bloody “X” and be touched and manhandled by the cast of psychopaths. New
for 2013, is the Dos Equis – sponsored Killer Stage Acts. Every hour a new
performer takes the stage to entertain those waiting in line. During our visit,
we watched a masked woman play creepy horror movie underscoring on the violin.    

Is It Scary? 

According to the Official Website“Yes.
This isn’t a theme park ride. The whole purpose is to scare you. We have worked
long and hard to create the most horrifying experience possible. Get ready for
your adrenaline fix.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Killers 2 presents real-life horror that will make you think twice about offering to help that injured man move a couch into his van.   

What We Loved

Our run in with Harrison Graham was particularly shocking. Make sure to
read up on him before you go. We also enjoyed getting hit on by coked up
psychopath Patrick Bateman. His twisted compliments are to die for. Other
highlights include an opening warning from a parent, a room with
three doors and a brain splattering surprise.    

The detailed sets and costumes are appropriately disturbing and a creepy soundtrack of original music by Chris Thomas completes each scene perfectly.

What Could Be Better

We loved encountering Patrick Bateman and his blood
splattered business cards, so the next day I tried calling the phone number printed
on the card.  I was hoping that it would
lead to a voicemail message of Patrick Bateman yelling over chainsaw background
noise. I was disappointed when a generic operator announced “your call has been
forwarded to an automatic voice message system…”

We loved last year’s Lizzie Borden ending and wish that
Killers 2 had a bigger final scare to chase you out of the haunt. 

Final Thoughts

Killers 2 offers a second dose of real-life horror that is
just as deadly as the first. 

Nightmare: Killers 2 Runs

September 27 – November 2

Ticket Information

Timed Ticketing:  $30.00 Online  |  $35.00 At The Door

VIP (Front of the line access): $50.00 Online  |  $60.00 At The Door




  • $20 Student Rush Tickets Available 1 Hour Prior to Listed
    Start Times.
  • Service Men and Women Night (Military, Policeman,
    Firefighter, EMT, ect.): Thurs., October 10th – Flash your Badge to get $10 Off
    All Night Long.
  • 50% Off Timed Ticketing & VIP Tickets – Click Here!
  • Age Requirements

    Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent
    or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted. 

    Additional Information


    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eovcv-Iq9V8?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]

    Nightmare: Killers 2 / Photo Credit: Anathema Photography

    Nightmare: Killers 2 / Photo Credit: Anathema Photography

    Nightmare: Killers 2 / Photo Credit: Jeff Eason

    Nightmare: Killers 2 / Photo Credit: Jeff Eason

    Nightmare: Killers 2 / Photo Credit: Jeff Eason

    Nightmare: Killers 2 / Photo Credit: Jeff Eason


    The Cult
    1 Skimobile Road
    North Conway, NH

    Mount Cranmore just became your worst nightmare. After years
    of producing the traditional walk through haunt, The Ghoullog, creator Lance Davis debuts an extreme, personalized haunt on the top of the mountain. The Cult is an hour-long  haunted attraction. You must walk
    through alone. You will encounter violent and sexual situations. You will be
    touched. It’s 18+ and requires you to sign a waiver.

    Is it Scary?

    Creator Lance Davis says, “The Cult is the ultimate in terror. It’s not for everyone, just for
    the die hard. It’s for those who want the true experience of ‘real life terror’
    to test your fears.”

    The Raven and Black Cat
    : I was one breath away from giving up my safety card and going home. I’ve
    never been so uncomfortable in a haunt. Well done. 

    2012 Walk Through

    This is the experience as I can remember:

    It’s the end of September, but it feels like the dead of winter
    as I wait to be let into The Cult. I’ve been to extreme haunts before, but I’ve
    never been to one at the top of a mountain. The bone chilling weather is slowly stealing my confidence and I’m getting nervous about what I’m about to experience. A military man approaches the gate and brings us to a debriefing area. We give him our
    personal items and are told to sit. The man asks if we have any problems with
    the following: darkness, heights, claustrophobia, eels, rats, bugs, needles,
    being fully submerged in water… what the hell am I getting myself into?

    given a red card on a lanyard. If we decide the experience is too much, we can give
    up our “safety pass” and the experience will be over. One by one we’re asked to
    walk towards the chair lift and follow the path. I board the chairlift and attempt
    to prepare myself for the long, cold ride. The anticipation is killer. It feels
    like the chair is moving at 2mph, did I mention I’m freezing?! It’s 24 degrees
    out and all I can think about is how awful it will be to ride back down the
    lift after being fully submerged in water. They won’t really do that, right?

    I finally reach the top and stumble off the lift. I gaze to
    the right- at the end of a dirt path there is a dimly lit cabin. I realize
    someone is calling my name and hurry towards the front porch. I’m blinded by a
    flashlight shining in my face. A man asks if I’ve ever done anything like this
    before, and I say, “Yes.” Immediately I’m reprimanded for replying. I’m only
    allowed to answer if the haunter says, ‘speak.’ Good to know. He shoves me into
    a booth and faces me towards the wall. Headphones are placed on my head. “Don’t.
    Fucking. Move.”  I can tell that there
    are others in the booths next to me because every few minutes he’ll scream at
    someone else to stop moving or drag someone inside.

    After what seems like
    eternity, the headphones are yanked off my skull and I’m being pushed into the
    cabin. A doctor is in the entryway. He asks, “How much do you weigh?” When I
    tell him he asks, “Are you lying?” I shake my head as he grabs a vial. He opens
    my mouth and shoots liquid into it. Instantly, a bag is over my head and I’m
    swept off my feet. I’m being carried completely perpendicular to the ground.
    The attacker carries me outside and slams me up against a wall. My legs are
    spread uncomfortably wide, and a man tells me not to move. I freeze, listening
    for any signs of my torturer. Suddenly, he presses his entire body into mine –
    so hard that all the breath is squeezed from my lungs. My heart begins to
    pound. I’m finally released and placed on a chair. Construction ear muffs are thrust
    on my head. I hear the sloshing of water. Suddenly I’m being sprayed and my
    gloves are soaked. I wait. When it seems my attacker has disappeared, I
    experience a terrifyingly loud thud as someone smacks the earmuffs.

    The earmuffs and bag are removed and I’m being forced back
    inside.  A girl says, “follow the string.”
    I’m shoved forward to follow it through a tunnel and into a different medical
    office. Straight ahead a television plays static. To my right is a table with
    medical instruments, urine and blood samples. The doctor asks me to take a
    seat. A camera is pointed towards my chair- I’m being filmed. He pours
    something into a Dixie cup and says, “Drink.” It’s warm, salty and utterly
    disgusting. My gaze wanders towards the urine samples as I gag.  I hear the snapping of latex gloves; he opens
    my mouth and uses his fingers to poke and prod at my gums. Soggy cotton balls are
    shoved into each side of my mouth. A plastic bag is placed over my head. The
    light of the camera combined with the fog from my breath makes it impossible to
    see what he’s doing. I feel my sleeve being lifted and a slight pinch on my
    arm. Blood is smeared across the plastic bag and my arm is bandaged. The doctor
    whispers, “Whatever he says, whatever he does – Don’t tell him where I put it!”
    He asks me to pick a number, I choose two. He removes the bag and shoves me
    through the second door in the hallway.

     I wait in the small,
    dark space hoping my eyes will adjust to the darkness. I feel someone approach
    me from behind. They begin to gently caress me, getting closer, smelling my
    hair, my neck. I’m shoved out another door and into an S&M chamber. Death
    metal is blasting. Another victim is handcuffed to a pole in the corner with a
    bag over his head. My captor is a shirtless man wearing an S&M dog mask,
    with a collar and a leash. I’m thrown onto a dirty bed and my attacker crawls
    on top of me. He tells me there’s two ways to survive, “Give up your card or
    fuck the devil.”  He asks, “Where did they
    hide it?” My silence causes him to search my body. He gives up and pulls a bag
    over my head.  I feel him bind my wrists,
    the cuffs are looped through a ring over the bed. He whispers, “Are you afraid
    of bugs?” I shake my head no, hoping that might be a deterrent to what torture
    he has in store for me. “You’re going to enjoy this.” The bag is lifted off of
    me and my captor is holding a cage of cockroaches. He grabs one and thrusts it
    towards my face. I close my eyes and the hood is pulled back over my head. My
    shoe and sock are removed. I’m immediately aware of the cockroach crawling up
    and down my leg. Fuuuuuck. I’m freaking out, and trying to keep it together. I
    begin to breathe when he finally removes the bug. My hood is pulled up, and he
    asks for my card again. I shake my head no and the hood is immediately pulled back
    on. This time the cockroach is placed under the hood! It’s crawling on my neck.
    I lose it. Expletives are erupting from my mouth. My torturer reminds me that
    speaking is not permitted and rips a band aid off his nipple and places it on
    my mouth to emphasize the point. I switch tactics. Remaining as still as I can
    actually seems to work! He removes the cockroach and starts to untie me. I’m
    lifted off the bed and pushed up against a wall. The hood is removed and I see a tunnel. Inside is my boot and sock. I crawl in put them on and enter
    into a kitchen scene.

    A 50’s style housewife is setting up for a tea party.
    Children’s drawings decorate the walls. She keeps trying to have a conversation
    with me but I can’t speak, so the scene seems pointless. She announces that
    it’s time for tea, so we pretend to sip tea out of demitasse cups. She asks
    if I’d like milk and cookies. I nod and she brings out a plate of cookies
    covered in fake cockroaches. It’s a completely lame attempt after the real
    cockroaches in the last room. Suddenly a man appears with a syringe of milk. He
    throws a bag over my head, lifts my sleeve and I feel a pinch as I’m given my
    ‘shot’ of milk.

    I’m ushered into a dark room. The hood is removed and a
    flashlight shines on a handwritten note. It says,          

    Find the Bowl

     2. Get the Key

     3. Unlock the Door”

    I love this! I confirm that I understand and the light goes
    out. I drop to my hands and knees and start searching for a key. The floor is
    covered in dirt. I run into a person who yells, “wrong way!” I turn and place
    my hand on something small, hairy and mouse-like. Finally, I find the bowl.
    It’s filled with fake worms. As soon as I get my fingers on the key, someone
    yanks it out of my hand and shoves me through the door.

    A girl opens 2 trap doors and leads me into an underground
    coffin. As I crawl inside, I glimpse fake spiders. The doors are slammed shut
    and I’m left in the dark to ponder if there are any real spiders inside with
    me.  Just in case, I hold my head above
    the ground. I’m not sure why I think that will help me, but if feels like the
    right thing to do. A few minutes later there’s a loud banging from underneath
    the coffin floor. I feel the coffin rolling and I emerge in a different room. A
    girl pulls me out and tells me to get on the floor and crawl over to a chair. There’s
    a table with a telephone and a few objects under a sheet. They ask for my pass,
    and when I refuse they say, “Then we’ll have to mark you.” The sheet is rolled
    back to reveal a machete, a blowtorch and a branding iron. The girl lights the
    blowtorch and begins to heat up the iron. The guy grabs my neck and asks if I’m
    sure I want to go through with it. I nod. As the iron approaches, a bag is
    pulled over my head and what feels like a staple gun is pushed up against my
    neck. The guy whispers, “If you ever tell anyone what happened here, we’ll find
    you and kill you.” I’m pushed into the freezing air. The hood is ripped off my
    head and the man shouts, “Get off my mountain! GO!” I stumble back toward the
    chairlift to ride back down to safety…and the bar. 

    What We Loved

    The Cult skillfully builds anticipation before the haunt begins. Having a list of possible scenarios that I had to agree to (both
    on the waiver and verbally) really had my imagination going. I spent almost the
    entire chair lift ride imagining how terrible it will be if I had to ride back
    down after being fully submerged in water…with eels. I love it when I’m given a
    task in a haunt. Having to find the key was challenging and interrupting me before
    I completed all the tasks made the startle scare more effective. I don’t think
    I’ve ever had to ingest anything for a haunt. Even though I saw the urine samples
    on the table, it never occurred to me that the Dixie cup would be filled with a
    warm, salty, DISGUSTING beverage. It was both shocking and disturbing. The
    cockroaches were TERRIFYING. I’m not even really afraid of bugs, but I
    definitely don’t want them crawling on me. I loved that I was given battle
    wounds; the staple gun was dipped in ink, leaving a black mark on my neck, and
    the ‘injection site’ was covered with a ‘bloody’ bandage.   

    What Could Be Better

    I liked the idea of the hidden medical implant and keeping
    it a secret, but certain scenes – particularly the 1950’s housewife scene – muddled
    the plot. Be clear about why we’re going through the experience, it grounds all
    the craziness in reality. In the beginning, there should be music/static in the
    headphones to block out outside noises. I could hear what was happening with
    other victims and as a result knew what to expect. I loved the idea of ‘marking
    us’ with a branding iron, and the blowtorch was definitely intimidating, but as
    soon as the staple gun touched my neck it was clear I wasn’t being burned. Use
    ice to make the gun so cold that it feels hot on the skin. I think there was a
    missed startle scare opportunity: after you take the chair lift back down you
    have to walk through a dark field back to the haunt area and it would be the
    perfect moment for one final scare after victims think the experience is over.

    Final Thoughts

    The setting is terrifying, the actors are committed and the
    scares are uniquely disturbing. If you’re looking for an extreme haunted
    experience, The Cult is everything you’ve been waiting for.

    The Cult 2012 Season

    September 28 – October 28

    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $30.00

    Age Requirements

    No one under 18 permitted and you must walk through alone.

    2013 Update

    Cranmore Mountain Resort chose not to bring back The Cult for the 2013 season. Ask The Ghoullog Creators to bring back The Cult in 2014!

    Contact them now on Facebook or Twitter

    Additional Information


    Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7, 1849 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 40 years of age.  A monument now marks his burial site, but at the time of his death he was buried in a grave marked only with a numbered stone. His remains were moved to their current location in 1875 and a marker was placed in the original location.

    Rest In Peace

    ‘Spirited’ October Events at The Merchant’s House Museum

     The Merchant’s House Museum has been called “Manhattan’s most haunted house.” The private residence, built in 1832, has been preserved intact and still contains the family’s original furniture and possessions. The home is seemingly frozen in time. A visit at any time of year can be creepy and filled with unusual occurrences, but their seasonal Halloween events are even creepier. 

    This October, the museum will offer several exciting new events in addition to their annual ghost tours and 1865 funeral reenactment. Perfect for those looking for an elegant blood-free way to celebrate Halloween. Don’t miss these unique opportunities to immerse yourself in New York City’s haunted history.      

    October 2013 Event Calendar

    October 9 – Lecture: Ghosts of Manhattan

    October 10 – Exhibition Opening: A 19th Century House in Mourning  

    October 18 – Chant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt

    October 22 – Lecture: Unsolved Murders of 19th Century New York

    October 24 – Reading the Rooms: A Psychic Talks with the Tredwells

    October 25 –  Candlelight Ghost Tours

    October 26 – Candlelight Ghost Tours

    October 27 – 1865 Funeral Reenactment and Graveyard Procession

    October 28 – Candlelight Ghost Tours

    October 29 – Candlelight Ghost Tours

    October 30 – Candlelight Ghost Tours

    October 31 – Tales of the Supernatural: Horror on Hallowe’en 

    Wednesday, October 9, 6:30 p.m.
    Lecture: Ghosts of Manhattan
    Author and actress Elise Gainer shares historical images and tales of local haunts from her new book, Ghosts and Murders of Manhattan, from Arcadia Publishing. See the faces of the dead that still cling to Broadway theaters, stately hotels, picturesque homes, and cozy taverns. Hear about apparitions, footsteps, phantom smells, and mysterious fires, and the events that still echo today. $15, MHM Members Free. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets.

    Thursday, October 10, through Monday, November 4
    Exhibition: A 19th Century House in Mourning
    Step back in time to 1865, when family patriarch Seabury Tredwell died at home in his bed. Poignant scenes of death and grief recreated in the House will explore mid-19th century mourning customs. Included with regular admission; reservations not required.

    Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m.
    Chant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt
    Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins haunt the music of the 19th century. Come be spooked by these harrowing tales as the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society bewitches your imagination and sings shivers down your spine, echoing sumptuous, rarely-performed songs in an authentic Victorian parlor. Singers Roberta Alessandra, Anthony Bellov, Jane Elizabeth Rady, and Dayle Vander Sande. Music by Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Loewe, Mussorgsky, and others. $25, $15 MHM Members. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets.

    Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 p.m.
    Lecture: Grisly Crimes and Unsolved Murders of 19th Century New York
    Ike Iikiw, licensed private investigator, retired NYC Police Detective, and founder/owner of NYC Adventure Tours shares “just the facts” of the most macabre, gruesome, and some unsolved crimes of 19th century Gotham.$15, MHM Members Free. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets.

    Thursday, October 24
    60-minute tours at 6:30, 8, and 9:30 p.m.

    Reading the Rooms: A Psychic Talks with the Tredwells
    A rare opportunity to walk the dark and hallowed halls of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” (The New York Times) with Certified Psychic Medium and Paranormal Researcher Cathy Towle. Ms. Towle will relate happenings and unexplainable occurrences from her several years of on-going paranormal investigations at the House – and deliver any messages from the beyond she might receive on the spot. Bring your questions. $60, MHM Members $30. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets.

    Friday & Saturday, October 25 & 26; Mon, Tues & Wed, October 28, 29 & 30
    50-minute tours begin every half hour from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
    Candlelight Ghost Tours of ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House’
    Updated with the latest eerie happenings!

    Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the night. Restoration work always ‘stirs things up’ at the Museum so we’ve had lots of new reports of especially strange experiences this year. We invite you to venture into the shadows of history to see the house where eight family members died and hear the newest tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them. And the creepiest of past ones.

    6 p.m. (includes 4th floor Servants’ Quarters) $40;
    6:30, 7, 7:30 p.m. $25; 8, 8:30, 9 p.m. $30;
    9:30 p.m. (includes 4th floor Servants’ Quarters) $40;
    MHM Members $15 all times. 

    Reservations essential, click here to purchase tickets. 

    Read The Raven & Black Cat’s review of The Merchant’s House Museum’s Candlelight Ghost Tours. 

    Sunday, October 27, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
    From Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment and Graveyard Procession
    In the 19th century, death and funerals took place at home. Join us in the Museum’s double parlors as we recreate the 1865 funeral service of Seabury Tredwell and discuss the funerary customs of 19th century New York City. After the service, mourners follow the coffin to nearby New York City Marble Cemetery – rarely open to the public – for the graveside service and cemetery talk. 19th century mourning attire is encouraged. VIP tickets include front-row seating, black crape armbands, and the opportunity to lead the graveyard procession as a pallbearer. $50, $65 VIP Seats, $25 MHM Members; $10 Graveside Service & Cemetery Talk only. Mourners attending the Graveside Service and Cemetery Talk only should arrive at the Merchant’s House at 4:30 p.m. 
    Reservations essential, click here to purchase tickets. 

    Thursday, October 31, Hallowe’en
    Performances at 7 and 8:30 p.m.
    Tales of the Supernatural: Horror on Hallowe’en
    Dramatic readings from 19th century Gothic literature and true ghost stories as reported by visitors of the Merchant’s House through the years told in the Museum’s parlors set for a Victorian funeral. $25, $15 MHM Members. Reservations required; click here to purchase tickets. 

    Sundays, 1 p.m.
    ‘Spirited’ Walking Tour of 19th Century Noho:  Glamour, Greed — & Ghosts

    The neighborhood surrounding the Merchant’s House was home to some of the most famous, and infamous, names in New York history. From the literary to the illegal, New York society was played out in the elegant parlors and dark alleys of the fashionable Bond Street neighborhood. On this tour, we’ll see the haunts of renowned figures such as Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving; the spirits of long ago firemen and stable boys; the high and low life characters of the Bowery — as well as a tale or two of haunted happenings at the Merchant’s House. And we’ll visit the site of the most grisly of all 19th-century New York murders and hear tales of more contemporary ghosts that just won’t leave the neighborhood.

    Tour is 50 minutes and begins promptly at 1 p.m.

    Promenaders will return to the Museum in time to take the 2 p.m. GUIDED TOUR if they wish.
    $10, Students $ Seniors $5, FREE for Members.
    Reservations not necessary.

    NOTE: Tours are canceled in the case of heavy rain, snow, or extreme heat and cold advisories. 


    The Haunted Mansion
    Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
    Orlando, FL

    The Haunted Mansion was the first haunted house I ever
    attended. (Leave it to Disney to create a haunted attraction where a 4 year-old
    can make it through unscathed) The Mansion’s 999 ghouls have been haunting
    guests since 1971, but that doesn’t mean the scares are old as dirt. Disney
    continues to update technology, while paying homage to everyone’s favorite
    unearthly characters. A recent update includes an interactive queue that allows
    guests to play ghastly tunes, help a ‘posthumous poetess’ complete a rhyme, and
    decode a ‘cryptogram’. Despite its mild scare factor, The Haunted Mansion remains
    a favorite of adults and children alike, providing spooktacular entertainment
    that the whole family can enjoy. 

    Is it Scary?

    Disney says: “The
    Haunted Mansion contains some mildly frightening subject matter. But there is
    no gore, the ghostly residents are friendly and the experience is appropriate
    for all ages.”

    The Raven and
    Black Cat Says
    : Disney’s Haunted Mansion is the perfect introduction to the
    Haunt world, particularly for timid guests that want to experience something
    spooky without startle scares and gore.  

    What We Loved

    There are many spooky moments that make The Haunted Mansion a classic. The stretching
    portrait chamber never fails to frighten a few unsuspecting children. I always
    look forward to the transparent ghastly dancers in the Grand Ballroom. I love
    all the singing ghosts in the graveyard; there are so many ghosts you always
    seem to catch something you haven’t seen before. The new animation of the
    hitchhiking ghosts is really fun.  

    What Could Be

    In terms of a
    family friendly haunt experience, The Haunted Mansion is ‘practically perfect
    in every way.’ However, I wish that Disney World’s Haunted Mansion had a Nightmare Before Christmas theme during Christmas time. It’s unfair
    that only the west coast gets to experience such a treat. 

    Final Thoughts

    The Haunted
    Mansion is an eerie ride that the whole family can enjoy.  Since it’s open year round, it’s a great way
    to experience some spooky Halloween fun at any time of the year. 

    The Haunted Mansion Runs


    Ticket Information

    Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom 1-Day Pass

    General Admission: $95.00  | Children 3-9: $89.00

    Age Requirements

    There are no age requirements. 

    Additional Information


    Haunted Acres
    446 Raymond Road
    Candia, NH

    There’s something about driving down an unlit road through acres of woods that really gets you in the Halloween spirit.  Haunted Acres is the first water park haunt I’ve ever been to and I’m not quite sure what to expect, but the rural setting provides a blanket of darkness to swallow any hints of jovial summer festivities and provides a sinister tone for a spook walk.  The haunt is made up of 5 separate attractions encircling the central bonfire and the Toxic Tavern, where guests are encouraged to hang out and sip on adult beverages or hot cocoa. If you’re feeling extra brave, buy a ticket for the zombie zip line – a zombie themed adventure ride!

    There are five haunted attractions to choose from. Cell Block 13: a prison filled with flesh eating inmates, Maze From Hell: a maze cloaked in darkness, 3-D Nuclear Accident House: a sabotaged nuclear plant where a breed of mutant lunatics wait to torture you, Quarter Mile Nightmare Walk: Haunted Acres signature walk-through haunt filled with handmade sets, interesting effects and familiar horror legends, and make your exit through Graveyard of the Damned: an abandoned graveyard filled with real hand cut gravestones, a ‘human floor’ and the creepiest crypt keeper I’ve ever encountered.

    Is It Scary?

    Haunted Acres says: “Haunted Acres continues to maintain its reputation as the scariest, most terrifying, blood letting attraction in New England!”

    The Raven and Black Cat says: Haunted Acres is a nostalgic Halloween experience perfect for those looking to avoid the overproduced store bought haunts packed with gore. 

    What We Loved

    It’s fun to navigate through the confusing design of Cell Block 13. The false and hidden doors keep you on your toes and allow for some fun startle scares. The Maze from Hell has an equally confusing design, but uses pyrotechnics to startle unsuspecting victims. The Graveyard of the Damned‘s mausoleum and vampire section is incredibly detailed and is really enhanced by the fresh graves and real hand carved headstones. The star attraction is the Nightmare Walk, filled with unique handmade sets, which explore an array of themes from witches to hillbillies, a bloody princess trapped in a castle, even pirates…it’s a fun, nostalgic haunt where everyone will find something to love and something to startle them. My favorite moment had to be crossing an amazing drawbridge –  it’s covered in a thick blanket of fog, a slew of Alice in Wonderland-esque wrong way signs, and a blinding strobe light that sets you up for a brilliant startle scare.

    What Could Be Better

    Haunted Acres has mastered the art of the startle scare – actors are trained to get in and get out, avoiding that awkward moment when they have nothing else to say or do. That being said, with five haunts to explore you need more variation. Hire a few actors that can improvise and utilize at least one in each haunt. Use actors as living set pieces to breathe life into scenes. The success of the handcrafted Nightmare Walk proves that you don’t need high tech effects or expensive sets to be spooky, but when animatronics are dated and poorly timed or the handmade sets are sloppy it starts to take away from the experience. Retire old animatronics or mask them in strobe and fog as a distraction for startle scares. 

    The Maze isn’t truly dark, so try using disorientating effects like extremely bright lights followed by darkness, strobe, fog, unsure footing and unpleasant wall surfaces to make it more challenging and fun. Most of the attractions are missing a final scare – everyone loves a big finish that sends them running out the door. With such a fun Halloween party atmosphere, it’s a shame that so much time is spent waiting in line. You will have happier guests and more business at the Toxic Tavern if you utilize a timed ticketing system.

    Here’s A Tip

    Haunted Acres is a great haunt for a group to attend. Plan on going on Date Night (Thursdays) when tickets are two for $40 or upgrade to VIP and enjoy a complimentary beverage. The lines will be shorter and you’ll get all the scares without some of the teenage crowd.

    Final Thoughts

    If your ideal Halloween experience is telling ghost stories by the campfire, you’ll enjoy Haunted Acres. It’s the perfect wooded traditional walk through haunt without all the blood, guts and gore and you don’t have to worry about the actors touching you. 

    Haunted Acres 2012 Season

    October 5 – October 31 

    Ticket Information

    Adult Combo: $27.00  |  Child (12 and under) Combo: $19.00

    Adult VIP: $39.00  |  Child VIP: $27.00

    VIP: Skip the lines and get a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage

    Thursday Date Night Adult Combo: 2 for $40 

    *Haunted Acres also accepts competitors coupons, so put those $5 off Spooky World coupons to good use. 

    Age Requirements

    No age requirements are specified.

    Additional Information

    Happy October!
    via Jim's Victorian Halloween Cards

    via Jim’s Victorian Halloween Cards

    It’s finally October!  The next 31 days should be filled with devilish delight. Enjoy them and let your imagination run free. There’s no wrong way to celebrate Halloween. 


    What are your favorite Halloween traditions? 


    The Bates Motel
    1835 Middletown Road
    Glen Mills, PA

    Hauntsmith Randy Bates has been scaring area residents for over 20 years
    with his top ranking haunted attraction, The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride. Located
    just outside of Philadelphia, the Bates Motel, has drawn national attention
    with several features on the Travel Channel and in USA Today. So, when I arrived
    at Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, I had some understandably large
    expectations, but I learned very quickly that Mr. Bates does not disappoint.

    Visiting the
    Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is like experiencing the pivotal scene from
    every horror movie on your Netflix queue back to back. Not only do they have a
    haunted house inside a full size replica of Hitchcock’s famous “Psycho” mansion,
    but Arasapha Farm is also home to an equally elaborate haunted corn maze, and
    one of the most incredible haunted hayrides in the country.     

    What makes the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride unique isn’t the incredible
    Hollywood-quality sets and special effects, but a solid understanding of how sensory
    details complete an environment and create tension and distraction for an
    audience. For example, no horror movie is complete (or scary!) without a
    soundtrack and Bates Motel incorporates detailed customized music and realistic
    sound effects to set the tone for each section of every attraction. 

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Website :  “America’s Most Horrifying Motel.”

    The Raven & Black Cat says:  Imagine
    being surrounded by a series of horror movie sets and special effects in the
    middle of the woods. Then add monsters that can touch you.  

    What We Loved

    A common problem with hayrides is that once the zombies and crazed
    killers reach the side of the wagon, they have nowhere to go. This is not the
    case at the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride! When these monsters reach the wagon they launch themselves into it! Realizing
    that the usual rules don’t apply creates the ultimate feeling of unease and adrenaline. We
    also loved the hayride’s mine shaft section. The sound effects and downward
    movement created a chilling claustrophobic feeling of being trapped. Other
    highlights include the man-eating crows and gators in the corn maze and the Bates
    Motel’s greenhouse and room of taxidermy.   

    What Could Be Better

    The set design and special effects are so complex and detailed.
    It would be incredible to see the same time and attention applied to the acting.
    A complex character (with a back story) that reacts to their environment and
    moves with intention is more real and infinitely scarier. 

    Final Thoughts

    The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is perfect Halloween entertainment that will scare most and captivate all. Even the most fearless will enjoy visiting the dark and imaginative
    world of Randy Bates.

    The Bates Motel 2012 Season

    September 28 – November 4

    Ticket Information

    • Haunted Hayride: $12 – $20
    • Bates Motel:  $12 – $15
    • Corn Maze: $12 – $15
    • Combo Special (All 3):  $25 – $40
    • VIP Pass (No Waiting):  $60 – $75

    Discount Tickets

    • 13Haunts Coupon: $5 Off Combo Tickets (Sunday Thru Thursday) – Click Here!
    • Wed., October 17th is Military Appreciation Night: 50% Off w/ Military ID. (All Vets get group rate any night w/ ID.)
    • Wed., October 24th is Family Night: $10 Off the Combo Ticket when you Buy 4 or More.
    • Sign up to have Discount Coupons Emailed to you.

    Age Requirements

     Children ages 2 and under are free with a paid adult. 

    Additional Information

    The Bates Motel

    The Bates Motel

    The Haunted Hayride

    The Haunted Hayride

    The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride

    The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride


    New York City’s Nightmare Haunted House celebrates its 10th year with Nightmare: KILLERS 2, a continuation of Tim Haskell and Steve Kopelman’s smash hit serial killer haunted house. Expect terrifying encounters with a whole new cast of psychopaths, including Harrison Graham, Aileen Wournos and Charles Manson. KILLERS 2 opens September 27th and runs through November 2, 2013 in NYC. 

    We are thrilled to announce that Nightmare NYC will be awarding a ticket to one very luck reader of The Raven & Black Cat. 

    Read Our Review of Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House (2012) 


    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on October 4, 2013.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Click Here to enter using your mobile device. 

    Nightmare: KILLERS 2


    (107 Suffolk Street, NYC)

    September 27 – November 2

    Tickets: $30.00 – $60.00

    Additional Information



    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eovcv-Iq9V8?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]


    Freakling Bros.’ Trilogy of Terror
    2321 North Rainbow Boulevard
    Las Vegas, NV

    A pedophile priest has asked me to sign a waiver and a
    fire-breathing clown has bitten my ear. ‘S’ & I are waiting to enter “Gates
    of Hell,” the R-rated Freakling Bros. attraction and we can already tell that
    this is going to be one hell of a good time.  

    Freakling Bros.’ Trilogy of Terror looks like a small carnival
    in a shopping center parking lot. You’d never guess that a semi-circle of
    trailer haunts would house such brilliant and horrifying immersive theatre. “Circus
    of Horrors” and “Castle Vampyre” are thematically detailed, interactive and full
    of creative startle scares. They are excellent one-of-a kind haunted houses,
    but the R-rated “Gates of Hell” is where Freakling Bros. really shows off. The
    excess and shock value of Vegas is channeled into an extreme haunt that can not
    only touch you, but lift you right off your feet. “Gates of Hell” utilizes
    intense physical contact, professional wrestlers and the legal amount of
    electricity that can be used for entertainment purposes. It is deliciously
    intense and well worth a trip across the country.

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Facebook Page: “We have the most
    intense haunts in town!”

    The Raven & Black Cat says: Freakling Bros. Trilogy of
    Terror is the most intense and terrifying haunt in Las Vegas. 

    What We Loved

    Freakling Bros. has mastered the art of theatrical illusion
    and they pair it with over the top interactive concepts that are terrifying and
    fun all at once. We loved struggling to escape the room filled with large
    rubber balls, surviving the firing squad, and swinging on a rope over a very convincing
    bottomless pit. The detail is impeccable. Each room contains an unsuspecting
    surprise and they take great care to make you feel very safe right before they
    pull the rug out from under you. Inside “Gates of Hell,” I watched a
    camouflaged attacker appear out of nowhere, grab ‘S’ by the foot, then knock
    her down and drag her away down a long hallway. Easily one of the most frightening
    visuals I have ever experienced inside a haunted house.  

    What Could be Better

    When we visited there was a flirty (ear biting)
    fire-breathing clown entertaining guests waiting in line. (Scorch The Clown) The spacing in between
    groups is near perfection, but it means that lines can be a bit lengthy. A
    timed ticketing system would cut wait time significantly and open up potential for
    additional entertainment like creepy games and performances. 

    Final Thoughts

    Freakling Bros. has been terrifying Las Vegas for more than
    30 years. The ‘Trilogy of Terror’ is a must-see for horror enthusiasts, adrenaline
    junkies, and anyone who’s never before been scared by a haunted house. 

    Freakling Bros. 2012 Season

    September 28 – October 31

    Ticket Information

    Circus of Horrors:  $12.00  |  Castle Vampyre:  $12.00  |  Gates of Hell :  $15.00

    Freak Pass (All 3):  $30.00  |  All Night Pass (Unlimited Trips Through All 3): $40.00

    Add On:   T-Shirt VIP Line Pass (Good All Season):  $10.00

    Age Requirements

    Circus of Horrors & Castle Vampyre: No one under 7 years old admitted.

    Gates of Hell :  Must be at least 17 years of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

    Additional Information

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOT-xhwvQ8I?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]

    Circus of Horrors

    Circus of Horrors

    Circus of Horrors

    Circus of Horrors

    Scorch The Clown

    Scorch The Clown

    Cardinal Sin & Gates of Hell

    Cardinal Sin & Gates of Hell

    Scorch The Clown 

    Scorch The Clown 



    Few things divide haunted house fans like whether or not they want to be touched by the horrifying characters lurking within. Here is our list of haunts that push the limit by invading your personal space and literally wrap their icy fingers around you.    

    Note: This feature is updated frequently. Please email contact@ravenblackcat.com regarding any information that is no longer accurate or to add a haunted attraction.


    Our list ranges in intensity from the most extreme (haunts that grab you violently, lift you off your feet, grab you by the throat, have sexual undertones or touch you with electricity, ect.) to a subtle and spookier use of an unexpected soft touch or touch with an object. 

    New York, New York

    18+, Extreme, Violent, Sexual Undertones, Must Enter Alone, Must Sign a Waiver. There is a safe word.


    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Gates of Hell Attraction: 17+, Extreme, Violent, Sexual Undertones, Uses Electricity, Must Sign a Waiver, Rated-R. There is a safe word.


    Pataskala, Ohio

    Extreme, Violent, Sexual Undertones, Parental Advisory Explicit Content


    North Conway, New Hampshire

    18+, Extreme, Violent, Must Enter Alone, Encounter Live Animals, Must Sign a Waiver. There is a safe word. NOTE: The Cult will not return for 2013. **Fingers Crossed For 2014**


    Suffolk County, New York

    Completely New Every Year, 16+, Violent, Must Sign a Waiver. There is a safe word.


    New York, New York

    Violent, Being Touched is Optional, Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted.


    Spring City, Pennsylvania

    No age requirements are specified.


    Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

    No age requirements are specified.


    Mountville, Pennsylvania

    Not recommended for children under 10 years old.


    Mishawaka, Indiana

    Use of light touch. No age requirements are specified.


    Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

    Use of light touch, No age requirements are specified.


    Jefferson, Louisiana

    No age requirements are specified.


    Taylorsville, Utah

    Optional 18+ Hands-On-Horror and X-Scream Upgrades, Must Sign a Waiver.


    Newnan, Georgia

    Optional 13 XTREME Attraction, 18+ and Must Sign a Waiver.


    Abington, Massachusetts

    For 2 Nights Only, Barrett’s Haunted Mansion turns off the lights and allows their ghouls to touch you. There is a safe word. Not recommended for children under 7.


    Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    On Specific Nights: 18+, Must Enter Alone, Must Sign a Waiver.


    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    For The First Time Ever: Being Touched is an Option, Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 7 will be admitted.


    San Diego, California

    18+, Extreme, 2-3 Hour Experience, Must Sign a Waiver.


    Etna, Pennsylvania

    18+, Enter 1 or 2 at a time, Sexual and Violent Situations, Must Sign a Waiver.


    Los Angeles, California

    17+, Interactive Horror Theatre, Must Sign a Waiver.


    Los Angeles, California

    18+, Secret Location, Psychologically Spine-tingling Experience, Must Go Through Alone, Must Sign a Waiver.




     October 17 -19, we will be visiting Sleepy Hollow, New York to see how they celebrate the Halloween Season. We’ve scouted out the creepiest events, tours and attractions that the Headless Horseman’s hometown has to offer. We’ll be sharing our experience when we return, but here’s our guide to all things Sleepy Hollow.  

    Celebrating Halloween In Sleepy Hollow

    (and the surrounding areas.)

    The Creepiest Halloween Events in Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, and Croton-on-Hudson. 

    Sleepy Hollow, New York
    (Haunted House)

    After the sun sets,the Historic Philipsburg Manor becomes Horseman’s Hollow. The historically accurate 18th century Haunted House, inspired by Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow, spans both indoors and outdoors as guests follow a half-mile long candlelit path.

    Sleepy Hollow, New York
    (Guided Tour)

    A 2-hour walking tour of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in the dark.

    Sleepy Hollow, New York
    (Self-guided Tour)

    The church and churchyard mentioned in Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

    Tarrytown, New York
    (Haunted House)

    Historic Lyndhurst Manor was used in the “Dark Shadows” films from the 1970s, and now hosts a seasonal haunted house at night. The architecture alone is terrifying. I can only imagine what waits inside.

    Tarrytown, New York
    (Guided Tour)

    During the day, Historic Lyndhurst Manor offers guided tours to see the special autumnal decor and learn about the history of Halloween and how the Victorian times influenced many of the customs that we associate with Halloween.

    Croton-on-Hudson, New York
    (Walking Tour)

    4,000 hand-carved illuminated Jack O’Lanterns create large scale art set to seasonal music.

    More Sleepy Hollow

    Can’t make a trip to Sleepy Hollow, NY? No worries. You can get your headless horseman fix from home or here in NYC.


    Mondays at 9PM/8PM Central on Fox
    (Television Show)

    The new television series premieres September 16 on FOX.

    HOLLOW: A New Musical Inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    New York, New York

    Saturdays at 5:00PM at The Players Theatre. Innovative Theatre Award Nominee.

    Amazon Instant Video
    (Motion Picture)

    The 1999 Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.

    (Animated Film)

    Disney’s 1949 animated classic has a legend of its own. Many people mistakenly believe that the film was banned.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_VsSckm3ws?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]


    BLACKOUT: elements
    164 11th Avenue
    New York, NY

    I attended a preview of BLACKOUT: elements on Saturday, September 7. Blackout Haunted House has developed a cult following for its extreme brand of immersive horror theater. Creators Josh Randall and Kristjan Thorgeirsson are infamous for obliterating the traditional rules and limitations of haunted attractions and bending the genre to encompass darker, more extreme, scare tactics.

    This was the seventh Blackout event that I have attended. Having previously been faux-water-boarded and abducted in a van, I had no idea what to expect. Blackout Haunted House is many things, but it is never predictable.   

    BLACKOUT: elements takes its inspiration from the four basic elements (earth, water, air, fire) and includes indoor exterior environments, unusual tasks and encounters with both odd and incredibly frightening, characters. The scares are still physical and psychological, but the experience feels less like an abduction and more like a journey through a ‘Narnia’ or ‘Wonderland’-like fantasy world gone terribly, terribly wrong. 

    The interactive set requires climbing, crawling and feeling your way through paths obscured by fog or darkness. Forked paths require a choice be made and create the illusion of being in control of your fate. With multiple courses and tormentors, no two experiences are the same. The experience is a barrage of horror and phobia scenarios capable of triggering a wide range of emotions. The illusion of having control over how you explore the haunt makes the experience intensely personal and absolutely exhilarating.

    It’s safe to say that you will experience nothing else like BLACKOUT: elements this Halloween season. You will want to buy tickets now, while you still can.


    BLACKOUT: elements Runs

    NEW YORK CITY | September 7 – Nov 10

    LOS ANGELES |  October 4 – November 10

    CHICAGO | December 2013

    Ticket Information

    Preview Performances:  $45.00  |  General Admission: $65.00 

    Age Requirements

    “No one under 18 permitted and you must walk through alone.”

    Additional Information

    Blackout Haunted House Reviews & Walk-Throughs

  • Blackout Haunted House Review (2012)
  • Blackout Haunted House Walk-Through & Review (2011)
  • Blackout Haunted House Walk-Through & Review (2010) 

    Blackout Haunted House Exclusive Invite-Only Off-Season Event Reviews & Walk-Throughs

    More Blackout Haunted House

    Blackout Haunted House will be featured on the Travel Channel:

    Halloween Craziest Premieres: Sunday, Oct. 13th, 2013, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdNpZ2sPL9M?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]


    Eli Roth’s Goretorium
    3717 Las Vegas Boulevard
    Las Vegas, NV

    Horror legend Eli Roth can create blockbuster films on a shoestring budget, so we were excited to see what kind of mayhem he would conjure up with $10 million and a prime location on the Las Vegas strip. Eli Roth’s Goretorium is Sin City’s first year round haunt and with the tag line, ‘You’re F#@ked’ it promises all the gore and terror that Eli Roth fans have come to know and love. 

    In typical Vegas fashion, upon entering you’re invited to sip on some liquid courage at Bloody Mary’s bar. The namesake drink is apparently all the rage (we didn’t get to try one) and comes in a gloriously bloody cup. Once you’ve had your fill of beverages, you’re led into the lobby of the haunt. You learn the history of the Delmont hotel, an iconic but unsavory family-owned establishment with rumors of missing guests, torture, cannibalism and worse. There’s a fun photo-op (what attraction would be complete without one?) and then you begin the tour of the hotel, where you’ll encounter buckets of blood, guts and gore. The haunt exits into the Babydoll Lounge, a club with soul-sucking views of the strip, libations and of course, a wall of creepy, creepy dolls. Shudder. Make sure you check out the bathrooms –they’re amazing! No Vegas attraction is complete without a Wedding Chap-Hell and gift shop; Goretorium has a plethora of bloody merchandise in case you don’t want to come home with a generic Vegas souvenir like fuzzy dice or the clap.


    Is It Scary? 

    Eli Roth Says: “We are creating the most intense live terror experience a person can have, incorporating the latest technology with old-fashioned scares. This will be the premiere haunted experience in the world, filled with all kinds of surprises. I’ve spent years planning this, and all my nightmares are finally coming true. No matter which haunted houses you’ve been through, you have never been through anything quite like the ‘Goretorium’.”

    The Raven & Black Cat saysGoretorium will splash you in the face with an unhealthy dose of gore.

    What We Loved

    We love the elevator bit in the beginning. The actors do a great job making it feel like a show and the effect is really fun. The body part infinity tunnel is a great use of an effect that is often florescent and cheesy; Goretorium manages to make it equally gross and disorienting.  We’re always amused by interactive elements, so the dry cleaning scene is one of our favorite parts. The partially burned bodies in toxic acid are the perfect excuse for a black light. The wax figures in the wedding chapel are super creepy, and the zombie reception guests do a great job of creating living, breathing scenery; you really feel like you’re walking into a zombie feast. The incredibly detailed, original sets combined with gruesome effects (dismemberment, burning flesh, and squirting blood) help Goretorium live up to its name.  

    What Could Be Better

    The set and effects designers are top notch. Everything is so gross and so detailed that you want to stop and study it; unfortunately the lighting is so poor that there are times you can barely tell where you’re supposed to go let alone see the sets in front of you. The lighting should guide you from room to room, showing you where to look to set you up for the scares. Speaking of which…where are the scares?

    Yes, Goretorium is jam packed with gore, but blood and guts don’t make you jump or scream.  While we applaud the use of actors as living scenery (one of our favorite things) there needs to be more startle scares to keep us on our toes. I appreciate that Sin City can get away with an R Rated haunt in terms of gore, sexual innuendo and language (one of our favorite moments was when an actor yelled, “Hey, Blondie!  Do the drapes match the curtains and can I have a taste?”) Unfortunately, I’m not sure if that’s enough to live up to the tag line, ‘You’re F#@ked.’ If you’re going to be an adult only, R Rated haunt then you should provide an option to be touched.

    Final Thoughts

    It seems like Goretorium is marketed towards Eli Roth’s hardcore horror fans, but designed for the touristy Vegas crowd. The sets are amazing, there’s tons of gore and it’s not so scary that the more timid haunted house crowd won’t make it through. As a bonus, Eli Roth promises to change it up seasonally, so we’re definitely looking forward to checking out Goretorium in the future.

    Eli Roth’s Goretorium Runs


    Ticket Information

    Standard Admission:  $29.95 | Death Row VIP Pass: $50.00

    Chap-Hell Weddings: $666 and up (Includes VIP admission)

    Age Requirements

    No age requirements are specified.

    Additional Info


    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2VGkL9x1UA?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]


    The Walking Dead Escape New York City takes over Pier 86 on Octobr 12th from 6:45pm – Midnight.  Experience a zombie apocalypse as a Survivor or a Walker and navigate an intense obstacle course.

    Tickets are currently available for purchase. Prices start at $65 for Survivors and $85 for Walkers. Ticket prices will continue to increase as the event date gets closer. 


    Additional Information


    The Old Jail Museum Ghost Tour
    128 West Broadway
    Jim Thorpe, PA


    Carbon County Prison  in Jim Thorpe, PA was modeled after Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary and was operational from 1871 until 1995. It may look like a miniature version of Eastern State, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in capital punishment. (There were never any executions held at Eastern State Penitentiary.) Not only were inmates executed at Carbon County Prison, but the gallows were located in the middle of the cell block for all to see. The site holds a place in history for the 1877 hangings of the ‘Molly Maguires,’ a group of Irish coal miners sentenced to death after a sensational and corrupt trial. After the prison closed its doors in 1995, it was reopened as the the Old Jail Museum.

    Our Visit

    We arrived in the adorable/creepy Victorian town of Jim Thorpe on a chilly Saturday evening to attend one of the Old Jail Museum’s seasonal ghost tours held on select Saturdays in October. Tours begin every 20 min and the line is entirely outdoors, so don’t forget your mittens. The guided ghost tour is an opportunity to experience the building at night with dim lighting.  Various ghost sightings and other unexplained events are recounted along the tour. The most famous is a ghostly hand print left behind by one of the Molly Maguires as proof of his innocence. The wall has been scrubbed, painted, and partially replaced and the eerie hand print remains.

    Is It Scary? 

    According to the Official Facebook Page: “Hear Tales of Strange Happenings & Hunt Ghosts!”

    The Raven & Black Cat says: No one is going to jump out and scare you, but the history and energy of the building is truly chilling. 

    What We Loved

    The story of the mysterious hand print is very creepy, but the most horrifying parts of the tour are the gallows at the end of the cell block and the dark basement dungeon used for solitary confinement. It’s terrifying to think about the fact that it was still being used as a prison as recently as 1995. 

    What Could Be Better

    The ghost tours are only held on select Saturdays in October and most likely staffed with local volunteers. The guides sharing the mysterious happenings ranged from high school students reading awkwardly from note cards to spirited amateur actors. Overall, we felt that the ghost tours would benefit from a less is more approach. The building is so incredibly scary that it can get into the Halloween spirit just by dimming the lights. Adding store bought Halloween decor to an actual prison dungeon comes off looking silly. A few flameless candles would be simple, elegant, and downright scary. 

    Final Thoughts

    Real life horror leaves something behind. You can feel it as soon as you set foot in the Old Jail Museum. If you find yourself in the Jim Thorpe area, the Old Jail Museum is a must see.   

    The Old Jail Museum Ghost Tours 2012 Season

    October 13, 20, 27

    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $10.00   |  Students: $7.00

    Age Requirements

    No children under 12 permitted. 

    Additional Information

    The Old Jail Museum 

    The Old Jail Museum 

    The Old Jail Museum 

    The Old Jail Museum 

    The Old Jail Museum 

    The Old Jail Museum 

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaHIht9lRO8?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]

    The Raven & Black Cat Photo Coverage



    Pottery Barn consistently offers the most elegant Halloween decor. I love their creepy Victorian-inspired style. Every year, I add a new piece to my collection. Here are a few of my favorites from Pottery Barn’s 2013 Halloween Shop. 

    Polished Nickel Candle Tray  ($129.00)

    Polished Nickel Candle Tray  ($129.00)

    Faux Burgundy Pumpkins ($19.50 - $39.50)

    Faux Burgundy Pumpkins ($19.50 – $39.50)

    Faux Bugs on Stand ($12.50 - $14.50)

    Faux Bugs on Stand ($12.50 – $14.50)

    Witches Brew Salad Plates ($38.00)

    Witches Brew Salad Plates ($38.00)

    Flameless Raven Pillar Candles  ($59.00 - $79.00)

    Flameless Raven Pillar Candles  ($59.00 – $79.00)

    Bird Cage  ($129)

    Bird Cage  ($129)

    Taper Candelabra ($39.50)

    Taper Candelabra ($39.50)

    Skeleton Hand Serving Set  ($19.50)

    Skeleton Hand Serving Set  ($19.50)

    Faux Crows ( $24.50)

    Faux Crows ( $24.50)

    Floating Candle String Lights  ($49.00)

    Floating Candle String Lights  ($49.00)


    Fright Kingdom
    12 Simon Street
    Nashua, NH

                For 2012, Tim and Angela Dunn have teamed up with haunt veteran Steve Kopelman (The Nest and Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House) to create 70,000 scream inducing square feet of haunted house goodness. Fright Kingdom admission includes 5 different walk-through attractions:

    Apocalypse Z is a terrifying journey through a government quarantined, zombie infestation. Try to avoid contamination as you encounter infected prisoners and militants. Bloodmare Manor introduces you to the Victorian haunts of the Bloodmare family. This more traditional haunt features fun startle scares and creepy décor. Carnival Of Corpses is the circus themed 3D attraction starring a cast of demonic clowns and sideshow freaks. Grim features a twisting, turning maze of absolute darkness. As you feel your way through the dark, you encounter shocking pyrotechnics, shifting floors and hidden ghouls. The last haunt leads you through Vampire Castle where a throng of blood thirsty immortals invite you to be their guest of honor…for dinner.


    Is It Scary?

    Fright Kingdom
    : “We’re not Spooky, We’re Scary!”

    The Raven and Black Cat saysEveryone’s definition of spooky or scary is different, but with five varying themes Fright Kingdom provides an opportunity for everyone to be scared. Whether it’s zombies, vampires, clowns or complete darkness, 
    Fright Kingdom  will expose and embody your deepest fears. 




    What We Loved

    Long lines are practically impossible to avoid when it comes to haunted attractions, but Fright Kingdom does their best to entertain you while you wait. You’re free to roam the ‘Monster Midway’ – play gore inspired games, have your fortune read, and peruse autographed slasher movie posters while you wait for your party’s turn to enter the haunt. Between attractions, themed queues are packed with animatronics, creepy artifacts and detailed sets. Our favorite was a delightfully disorienting circus tent maze filled with maniacal clowns. 

    We love how the infirmary section of Apocalypse Z smells of sickness and decomposing flesh. The startle scares in Bloodmare Manor are really fun, especially the haunted staircase.

    Thank you for using plastic 3D glasses in Carnival of Corpses!  We can’t tell you how many times we’ve had those stupid paper glasses blown off our face by an air cannon. 

                Many haunted houses have a “pitch black” attraction or section that is meant to deprive you of your eyesight, but most fail to deliver a heart-stopping sensory deprivation experience that will leave you disoriented and blindly grasping the air. By virtually avoiding all spillover lighting, Grim successfully utilizes the universal fear of the unknown and forces participants to reach out and discover who and what is lurking within the labyrinth



    What Could Be Better

    The problem with traditional walk-through haunted houses is that sometimes traffic gets backed up, and groups get stuck in a room. Once the startle scare has been achieved, it can become awkward if the actor doesn’t know what to say or how to react when their victims linger rather than run. Creating a specific character for each actor, with an action and potential dialogue will help solve this problem. Building upon that, create a story for the entire haunt and think of the event having an arc. Vary the type of scares…loud, soft, slow, fast to keep guests on their toes. 

    Animatronics have many uses in a haunt, but when they’re outdated they can be silly and take you out of the moment. Hide older models in a mask of heavy fog or strobe and use them as a distraction for an actor to sneak in for a startle scare.



    Final Thoughts

    In a region where Halloween often brings sleet or snow, it’s nice to have a haunted option that’s entirely indoors. An indoor location also means the haunt owners can rework during the winter and maybe even offer off-season events – pretty, pretty, please? Fright Kingdom is more than a fun, traditional haunted house – it’s a whole nights worth of Halloween entertainment, and with it’s ‘Spooky’ competition offering lower quality haunts, outside for twice the price, it’s a fun affordable way to celebrate the Halloween spirit.


    Fright Kingdom 2012 Season

    September 28 – October 31


    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $17.00 – $24.00

    VIP Fast Pass: $22.00 – $29.00


    Age Requirements

    “New England FearFest recommends parental discretion for children under the age of 12. Although we will not refuse the entry of children, we ask each parent to make the judgment call, as you know your child best. If you think that you, or your children, just aren’t up for all the thrills and chills of New England FearFest, you should consider our “Hardly Haunted” Matinee Performance.”


    Additional Information

    Fright Kingdom 2012

    Fright Kingdom 2012

    Fright Kingdom 2012

    Fright Kingdom 2012

    Fright Kingdom 2012

    Fright Kingdom 2012


    Las Vegas Haunts:
    Hotel Fear & Asylum
    Las Vegas, NV

    Hotel Fear and The Asylum have been spooking Las Vegas residents and visitors alike for more than 15 years! In that time, R&J Productions has been leading the way in developing trailer haunts: entirely mobile haunts that are self-contained within groups of customized trailers. We had never been to a trailer haunt and were excited to check out what the genre had to offer. It’s amazing what’s accomplished in such a small space. Both attractions explore the life of Mortimer Feoray, a troubled child that goes mad (Hotel Fear) and is eventually institutionalized (The Asylum). Even with a limited budget, Hotel Fear and The Asylum create a fun and innovative story-driven haunt that’s likely to make you scream for more.


    Is it Scary?

    R&J Productions says: This is the REAL DEAL…the Real Fear you NEED to experience!

    The Raven and Black Cat says: The Asylum and Hotel fear provide the perfect midrange haunt: it’s not too gory and it’s not so scary that you won’t make it through. You’ll be delightfully horrified by the carefully designed story and the actors will actually scare you out the door.


    What We Loved

    We love story-driven haunts! Hotel Fear starts out perfectly, picture this: You walk into an old Hollywood style hotel lobby. A sign says ‘ring bell for service’. The moment you ring the bell the lights go out and chaos ensues. It’s fantastic. You’re sent on a quest to find Mortimer in Room 13, but that’s no easy task. The hotel is specifically designed to trap and confuse you. Many rooms have hidden doors and it creates an awesome feeling of distress that you’ll never make it out alive! The key to this scare tactic is the small size and ample spacing between groups.  There is plenty of time to get lost in the maze of the hotel without creating a backup, and if you’re the least bit claustrophobic you’ll be terrified. The fact that both haunts stay true to the theme adds to the realistic nature of the scares. Every scene supports the story and every scare is designed around the theme- you get lost in the story and experience some fun scares along the way.


    What Could Be Better

    There were a few actors that really stood out, particularly the woman in the spa and the man in the white out room – they encouraged you to interact with them and were very successful at creating the perfect atmosphere and set up for the scares to follow. Unfortunately, many of the other actors utilize the scream-in-your-face tactic, which is much less effective. Not every actor is a star and not every actor is able to improvise, but vary the tone and tempo of the startle scares. A whisper is often creepier than a scream and discovering a silent actor in a pitch black hallway would be truly disturbing. Use the actors as living set pieces and get rid of some of the tired animatronics. We love the sections of complete darkness – our first reaction is to reach out for the walls, so make them feel sticky or wet, and maybe add some elements of unsure footing to add to the disorientation.  

    It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on younger actors.  Unfortunately, we spotted one high school age asylum patient listening to her ipod. 


    Final Thoughts

    If you’re tired of haunts that jump from theme to theme just for the sake of a scare, then Hotel Fear and The Asylum are your new haven of horror. 


    Las Vegas Haunts 2012 Season

    October 3 – October 31

    Ticket Information

    Hotel FearGeneral Admission: $15.00   |  VIP: $20.00

    Asylum: General Admission: $15.00   |  VIP: $20.00

    Combo Pass: $25.00   |  VIP Combo Pass: $35.00

    Additional Information


    For our September Giveaway, we will be awarding 2 tickets to the ‘Spirited Stroll Through Green-Wood’ Cemetery Walking Tour on either October 26th or 27th from 1pm-3pm in Brooklyn.

    “Celebrate the fall season with tales of murder, mayhem, spirits and ghosts on our annual autumn tours led by Green-Wood Historian Jeff Richman.

    Visit the graves of The Wizard of Oz, George Washington’s favorite dentist, the founders of Spiritualism, and many more. The tour includes a visit to the Catacombs, usually closed to the public.

    Get into the autumnal mood and enjoy a cool, crisp day exploring our 478 acres of beautiful fall foliage.”


    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on September 30, 2013. 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Tickets are currently on sale for the NYC production of BLACKOUT: elements, a new immersive theater experience from Blackout Haunted House. Buy your tickets early before they sell out. A little bird told us that an ‘element’ of choice will make you want to experience the haunt more than once.   

    We will be attending a preview performance Saturday, September 7th. 

    Look Out NYC. Blackout is Back!  


    From the Official Press Release: 

    After five years of revolutionizing the haunted house industry, BLACKOUT will premiere a new type of horror theater this fall: BLACKOUT:elements. The immersive performance takes inspiration from the four basic elements, thrusting BLACKOUT fans into an intense world of fear unlike anything they’ve experienced before. After signing a waiver, all audience members must walk through the experience completely alone. Immersing themselves in the elaborately designed set pieces, audience members are forced to interact with the characters in a series of twisted and petrifying scenarios. 

    Longer, more intimate, and significantly more intense; BLACKOUT:elements takes terror to a whole new level. Each experience is approximately 30 minutes per person. Tickets start at $65 and can be purchased through the website: www.blackouthh.com 


    NEW YORK CITY: Sat, September 7th – Sun, November 10th, 7pm-11pm

    at the VORTEX THEATER, 164 Eleventh Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    Advanced reservations strongly recommended.


    LOS ANGELES: Fri, October 4th – Sun, November 10th, 7pm-11pm 

    at the VARIETY ARTS CENTER, 940 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    Advanced reservations strongly recommended.


    CHICAGO: December, 2013

    Specific dates and Location to be announced soon


    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdNpZ2sPL9M?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]


     'Windowpane' by Twisted Oak Press

     ‘Windowpane’ by Twisted Oak Press

     'Swathed in Sorrow' by Twisted Oak Press

     ‘Swathed in Sorrow’ by Twisted Oak Press

    We are pleased to welcome back artist Dean Kuhta of Twisted Oak Press for our August giveaway!  Dean’s original art is a delightful blend of horror and fantasy. We are thrilled that he will be awarding 2 gorgeously creepy art prints to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat!

    The Collection Will Include:

    1- ‘Windowpane’ 8×10 Art Print

    1 – ‘Swathed in Sorrow’ 8×10 Art Print

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on August 31, 2013.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Dean Kuhta and Twisted Oak Press are located in Washington, D.C. Their work covers a vast range of genres and styles. View more fabulous artwork below and check out the official website of Twisted Oak Press to admire the full scope of Dean’s talent.


    The Darkness
    1525 South 8th Street
    St. Louis, MO

    Touted as “America’s Best Haunted House,” The Darkness has been on our list of must see attractions for quite some time. This juggernaut of the haunt industry first entered the scene in 1994 and has since dominated the genre by expanding into manufacturing and distribution of their haunt sets and props. They’re also responsible for the Transworld’s Halloween and Attractions Show and produce and distribute HauntWorld magazine.  This self-proclaimed “King of Scream” is located in downtown St. Louis, and includes three attractions. Darkness Haunted House is a massive two-story traditional walkthrough haunt filled with Hollywood style props and sets, state of the art animatronics and professional lighting design.  In Terror Visions 3D you’ll experience a slew of maniacal clowns, including an Ice Scream Truck and a surprising Jack in the box. The haunts exits into The Monster Museum and gift shop, which is filled with replicas monsters from numerous feature films such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Alien and Predator. 

    Is It Scary

    According to their Official Website: “The Darkness  is not like any other haunted house you’ve ever experienced. Because of its national reputation, the creative team behind this St. Louis haunted house believe they must go above and beyond what any other haunt across the nation can do. The Darkness continues to set the standard across the World for what a premiere haunted attraction should be modeled after.”

    The Raven and Black Cat says: “Visiting The Darkness is like walking into a museum of mayhem and horror. No phobia is overlooked in this massive walk-though haunt, filled with Hollywood quality sets, detailed costumes and realistic props. The Darkness is a scenic designers dream come true and the faint of heart’s worst nightmare.” 

    What We Loved

    There are so many awe-inspiring, innovative elements to The Darkness that there’s a lot to love. From the moment you step into queue, you’re surrounded by waterfalls, an alligator infested moat, a giant cobra – it feels like a twisted version of a Disney ride in the most horrifically delightful way. Every set piece and prop is realistic and no detail is overlooked. The lighting is impeccable and effectively draws your attention to the focus of each room. Every possible theme is explored and chock full of Hollywood quality sets and effects. My favorite animatronic is the Outbreak inspired caged monkeys. They’re truly disturbing, and a nice change from the typical zombie outbreak. I found the hallways of broken pipes particularly fun and surprising with its foggy mist and air cannons. The Darkness has many creative effects, and has mastered the art of unsure footing – one room tilts from side to side as you walk over the floor, a drawbridge drops from under your feet and as you climb into the ‘Ice Scream Truck’, the vehicle rumbles and bumps along with the video footage to create an incredibly terrifying ride.

    What Could Be Better

    This is a really long haunt. By the time you’re halfway through, you’ve almost forgotten what happened in the first few rooms. As a haunted house enthusiast and connoisseur, I can appreciate the amount of money that has been spent to develop the effects, animatronics and sets. It’s not surprising that they’re the dominating manufacturing in the horror world, but it’s just a little gratuitous. The event is so over produced that you find yourself studying the sets instead of experiencing the haunt as it was intended. There are surprisingly few actors in the haunt – many rooms solely rely on animatronics and all of the actors choose a startle scare method. Despite the effectiveness of the startle scares, after the first 15 minutes the scares were too predictable and in need of variation.

    The Darkness creative team has spent so much time and money building the framework for a haunted masterpiece – it would be incredible if the characters and script were developed with the same attention to detail. Create variations in volume and tone of voice. Use actors as living set pieces to breathe life into the scenery. I don’t understand why haunts are still enthralled with 3D attractions, but if you’re going to have a 3D section that is that long (way too long in my biased opinion) you need to invest in plastic glasses that don’t fall off your face and fit over your four-eyed fans glasses. 

    Final Thoughts

    If you’re looking to immerse yourself in state of the art scenic design then The Darkness is the perfect haunt for you. If you can’t get enough of those special effects, there’s more where that came from – be sure to check out their other haunts: The Haunting of Lemp and Creepyworld.

    The Darkness 2012 Season

    October 12 – November 3

    Ticket Information

    General Admission:  $23.00   |  Speedpass Admission: $30.00

    Children 10 & Under: $20.00

    Age Requirement

    No age requirements are specified.

    Additional Information


    The Darkness, 2012

    The Darkness, 2012

    The Darkness, 2012

    The Darkness, 2012

    Terror Visions 3D, 2012

    Terror Visions 3D, 2012


    Pennhurst State School / Spring City, PA

    Pennhurst State School / Spring City, PA

    We are thrilled to announce that we will be returning to Pennhurst State School for a second Paranormal Investigation on August 3rd. This time around we will be attending a private event, which will begin with a tour of the Pennhurst Campus! We are beyond excited. After the investigation we will be staying at the Shearer Elegance Bed & Breakfast, a Victorian mansion built in 1897. Swoon…    

    Shearer Elegance Bed & Breakfast / Linfield, PA

    Shearer Elegance Bed & Breakfast / Linfield, PA


    We are still mourning the cancellation of Camp Nightmare, which would have taken place this past Friday and Saturday. The event was cancelled on June 28th due to a lack of ticket sales. You can read about what would have been in a Fangoria interview with creator Tim Haskell. There is still hope that this event will happen someday. Below is an excerpt from the cancellation email. 

    We like the idea of this event very much, and we know that what we had planned was going to knock your socks off, so we are going to recalibrate what we could have done differently so that someday we can mount Camp Nightmare and treat you to the scares you deserve.


    The 2013 Midwest Haunters Convention kicked off on June 7th in Columbus, Ohio and we were there to catch all the horror and mayhem of this gore-filled convention full of off-season haunts, bus tours, backstage tours, horror karaoke, a trade show, and a masquerade party.

    Our adventure began on June 4th for the Pre-Convention Bus Tour. A 63-hour experience covering 20+ attractions at 8 haunted houses in 3 different states. (Coverage Coming Soon!!) 

    The convention officially kicked off on Friday, June 7th. An all day Paranormal Bus Tour was offered to tour the Ohio State Reformatory and the Bissman Building in Mansfield, OH, but we opted to catch up on our sleep after the epic pre-convention bus tour. 

    Friday Night Bus Tour

    After catching up on our beauty sleep, we prepared ourselves for the Friday Night Bus Tour. The festivities kicked off at the Hyatt next to the convention center for “Scare You to Death: An Interactive Haunting Experience” presented by Shutter Productions.    

    This make-shift haunt assembled in one of the hotel’s event rooms packed a surprising punch. The winding maze was filled with entertaining actors dying to make a personal connection. The mini haunt was delightful from beginning to end with one slight hiccup. An actor covered in heavy chains clipped one of his chains to a decorative chain on my handbag and tried to drag me away. It was funny until the decorative chain on my $200 bag broke, but I was still able to enjoy the rest of the haunt even after that accidental annoyance. Following the presentation from Shutter Productions we boarded the bus.

    Unit 70 Studios

    The first stop on the Friday Night Bus Tour was Unit 70 Studios, a huge warehouse/art studio where they design and construct terrifyingly realistic props for haunted attractions. We were given the opportunity to take a self-guided backstage tour of the studio and enjoy some light refreshments.

    Artist (and model) Lea Gray was on hand to provide guests with some festive face painting. After chatting with us and taking our business card, she dreamed up this fabulous concept to turn our logo into body art. We swooned. Then re-boarded the bus.


    Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres

    The night’s main attraction came in the form of Haunted Hoochie. An extreme haunt with a reputation for playing rough. Haunted Hoochie/ Dead Acres will be covered in detail in its very own post/review. For now, I’ll just say that it did not disappoint and it was a highlight of our trip.

    Haunted Hoochie / Dead Acres

    Haunted Hoochie / Dead Acres

    Haunted Hoochie/ Dead Acres WARNING

    Haunted Hoochie/ Dead Acres WARNING


    We returned back to the Hyatt in time to catch the end of Scary-Oke, which was essentially just costumed regular karaoke. We both signed up looking forward to showing off our hot new logo-inspired body paint, but they didn’t have S’s song, so I was the only one who got to sing.

    Saturday Trade Show

    Saturday morning we grabbed some coffee and headed over to the Convention Center for the 2013 Midwest Haunter’s Convention Trade Show. It was an impressive display of horror makeup, sets, props, special fx, and more. Browse through our photo gallery to get a taste of the atmosphere.

    2013 Trade Show Photo Gallery 

    Masquerade Party

    Saturday wrapped up with a spectacular masquerade party where everyone dressed to impress. Click the link below to see the professional photo gallery of all the fabulous costumes.

    2013 Masquerade Party Photo Album

    We had a fabulous experience at the 2013 Midwest Haunter’s Convention and we met a lot of great haunters and haunt enthusiasts. We look forward to returning again sometime in the future.


    We absolutely adore the beautiful Victorian inspired teacups, candles, and home décor by Burke & Hare Company. We are beyond thrilled that they are hosting a second giveaway and will be awarding a gorgeous Black Ouija Decorative Plate to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on July 31, 2013. 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Burke & Hare Company is located in Providence, Rhode Island and takes inspiration from the “body business” of William Burke and William Hare. They offer a variety of fabulously creepy products. Check out some of our favorites below and stop by their Etsy Shop to see their entire collection. They are constantly adding new items, so check back often! They also take requests for custom orders! We love love love the ‘Treacherous Tea Party’ and ‘Skull Plate.’    


    Pennhurst Paranormal Association
    Church Street & Bridge Road
    Spring City, PA

    Have you ever watched a marathon of ‘Ghost Hunters’  or ‘Ghost Adventures’ and wondered what it would be like to venture into an abandoned historic building filled with the tortured souls of the deceased?

    Well, now you can. Pennhurst Paranormal Association is offering both Private and Public Investigations of the Mayflower Building, one of the oldest buildings on the Pennhurst State School campus. When it was built in 1908, the school was known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic. It was designed to separate developmentally and intellectually disabled individuals from traditional society.

    Unfortunately, there were no guidelines for admittance; in addition to diagnosed patients, the School was also home to the criminally insane, unwed pregnant teens, wards of the state and disobedient children. The expansive 1,400-acre estate wasn’t intended to be a dumping ground for anyone deemed undesirable to society, and within two years of opening there were reports of overcrowding and understaffing. Despite the grandiose exterior, children spent years in cribs, conditions were unsanitary and unsafe, physical and sexual abuse ran rampant and many patients died within its walls.

    Pennhurst Paranormal Association gives you the opportunity to connect with some of the spirits that still roam the abandoned campus. 

    Pennhurst State School circa 1934

    Pennhurst State School circa 1934

    It’s 9pm, as we slowly make our way down a bumpy, unpaved road.  Thanks to the full moon we can see Pennhurst Asylum looming in the distance. I can’t help but wonder what the hell we’re getting ourselves into and if it’s a good idea to spend the night in such a terrifying place. As we pull up, we’re greeted by Mara, a member of Pennhurst Paranomal Association…who also happens to be a medium. We sign a waiver and go over the rules for the night: No Provoking, No Séance or Ouiji Boards and No Alcohol. That’s it? Then Mara takes us on a tour of the building. She points out particularly active rooms and tells us about what she’s experienced at Pennhurst — whispers, footsteps, objects being thrown and people being pushed down stairs. You don’t need to hear her spooky stories to know that something is looming within the walls of the Mayflower building. When you look past the peeling paint and graffiti, remnants of daily life in the Asylum are a chilling reminder of the horror that happened at Pennhurst – adult sized cribs, rubber furniture with restraints, communal showers and windowless classrooms.

    Before our imaginations get too carried away, John and Katie from South Jersey Soul Searchers take over the group. John is the founder of SJSS and hosts the Dead Air Paranormal radio show.  Katie is SJSS’s case manager and lead investigator. They introduce us to a slew of technological gadgets to assist us – electro magnetic frequency meters, the ovilus ghost box, thermal gun, laser scope, and a plasma globe. Since many of the spirits are children or child-like, they also bring candy and toys to entice activity. Night vision video cameras and audio recorders are used to document the investigation, later they’ll review them to see if we can catch an Electronic Voice Phenomenon. EVP recordings are the holy grail of ghost hunting and actual proof that spirits are trying to communicate with the living. We grab a video camera and head out to explore the epically creepy building. Pennhurst’s Paranormal investigations allow you the freedom to choose your own experience. If you’re a veteran hunter or just crazy enough to want to wander alone, you’re welcome to. If a guided experience is more your style, you can spend the entire 6 hours with John and Katie. We chose to do a little of both.

    So, did we meet any Ghosts?

    We’re not sure. We’re new in the paranormal circuit and it’s definitely something we’d like to continue exploring. We didn’t see any apparitions or feel anything touch us, but we experienced some interesting moments throughout the night:

    When we were in the back stairwell, the ripped window screen shook when we asked the spirits to play with us. We thought it could be a fluke, so we asked for a repeat and the spirit gladly obliged, two more times.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s2nBAKXFQE?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvInq6GvywM?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]

    We also had a fascinating experience with a ball on the 3rd floor. Once again, we asked if anyone wanted to play. At times, it seemed as though the ball was rolled right out of my grip and later, I could feel the ball pushing into my hand. It was surreal.

    There was a closet door on the 3rd floor that seemed to be locked shut. John had each of us take turns trying to open the door. One by one, we knocked on the door, asked to be let in and tried to open it. As I pulled on the handle, I could feel the door start to open, suddenly it was violently pulled back to shut. Other members of the group had a similar experience and there was some banging that seemed to come from within the closet.

    So… that was really creepy and weird, but the Jaded New Yorker in me has to ask:

    Could there have been three strong gusts of wind moving the ripped window screen? Was the ball some kind of trick? Was there someone actually locked in the closet?

    I could create a hundred excuses, but my gut tells me, No.

    Pennhurst Paranormal Association separates itself from the Halloween haunted attraction. The owners have dreams of restoring all the historic buildings and educating the public about the atrocities that occurred there.

    All I know is that we’re dying to go back. We had a blast exploring the equipment and techniques used to connect with the other realm. We’d also love to have a historic walking tour of the property and explore the other buildings—especially the tunnels. I know it sounds crazy, but 6 hours definitely isn’t enough.  

    The Pennhurst Paranormal Association offers both private and public paranormal tours and investigations from March through August. Tickets are $125 each for the public investigations and $1,000 for private investigations with up to 20 guests.  

     If you’d like to learn more about the dark history of the Pennhurst State School, watch “Suffer The Little Children,” the 1968 NBC10 Expose on Pennhurst State School (below) or Read the Autobiography of Former Patient, Roland Johnson.

    Additional Information

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG33HvIKOgQ?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]


    We absolutely LOVE the Merchant’s House Museum, so we’re giving you an opportunity to win 2 Tickets to their Off-Season Candlelight Ghost Tour on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 7pm or 7:30pm in New York City. 

    “Doors slam, floorboards creak, voices call into the night.  Venture into the shadows of history to see the house where eight family members died (and The New York Times called “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House”) by flickering candlelight and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from the people who actually experienced them.” The tour is 50 minutes long.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on May 31, 2013.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Our Review of The Merchant’s House Museum’s Candlelight Ghost Tour.



    **  The winner is responsible for their own transportation to NYC to attend the Merchant’s House Candlelight Ghost Tour on Friday, June 21, 2013. **


    In October, we reviewed the Pennhurst Asylum Haunted Attraction, but tomorrow we return to Spring City, PA to experience Pennhurst Paranormal. A 6-hour Paranormal Investigation of the Mayflower Dormitory Building on the abandoned campus of the Pennhurst State School & Hospital .

    The Pennhurst Paranormal Association offers both private and public paranormal tours and investigations. Tickets are $125 each for the public investigations and $1,000 for private investigations. Care to join us tomorrow? Buy Tickets Now

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter from 9 PM – 3 AM EST to Live Chat and Receive Photo Updates during our 6-hour Paranormal Investigation.

    Additional Information

  • Official Website
  • Pennhurst Paranormal Facebook Page
  • Twitter 
  • Pennhurst Asylum Haunted Attraction
  • 2012 Pennhurst Asylum Review

  • exc-5159e2d4e4b01cd3b0224d38

    Ginny’s Boutique creates whimsical jewelry and accessories with a steampunk twist. We absoolutely love their gothic and Alice in Wonderland-inspired pieces. We are thrilled that they will be awarding a gorgeous Vampire Bat Pendant to one lucky reader of  the Raven & Black Cat.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on April 30, 2013.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Ginny’s Boutique is located in Rochester, NY where each piece is handcrafted with great care and attention to detail.  Check out some of our favorites below like the Antique Skeleton Key Charm Necklace  and the Steampunk Orb Watch. Visit the Ginny’s Boutique Etsy Shop to see their entire collection and join the Ginny’s Boutique Mailling List here.


    Tickets are currently on sale for the Great Horror Campout. Two 12-hour camping experiences will takes place in Los Angeles State Historic Park on Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th, 2013. Tickets are $149 each and include overnight accommodations, dinner, continental breakfast, parking, the “Hell Hunt Experience,” horror Movies around a bonfire, roasting mashmallows, and a reusable canvas bag.

    The Official Website description of the Hell Hunt Experience:

    First Rule: We can change the rules. When we want, for any reason we want and without any notice. You’ll need to be listening for the camp announcements for the rule changes if you have any hope of escaping elimination. The interactive “Hell Hunt” experience will give campers whom wish for a more extreme experience a run for their money as they come face to face (and closer) with their worst nightmares in order to retrieve the items for which they are hunting. The Hell Hunt will be an extremely high-octane hunt for items that will send campers bathing in the blood of a “Pope Lick,” partaking in a sacrificial voodoo ritual, digging through road kill amongst “Beasts of Bray” and more. Campers will have to use creative thinking and problem solving to find the most coveted items. Those “Hell Hunters” who complete the task will go home with a Golden Ticket to LA’s Most Popular Halloween Attraction, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. The bearer of a Golden Ticket allows unlimited rides at LA Haunted Hayride 2013.

    Will you will be attending the Great Horror Campout? Contact us to have your experience featured on The Raven & Black Cat. We want to hear all the gorey details. 


    We are thrilled to announce that this June, we will be travelling to Columbus, Ohio for the 10th Annual Midwest Haunters Convention.  Our trip will begin with a Pre-Convention Bus Tour that will take us to 8 different haunted houses in 3 different states for a total of over 20 haunted attractions. The 2013 Pre-Convention Bus Tour will feature:   

    Necropolis (Indianapolis, IN)

    Indiana Fields of Fear (Lafayette, IN)

    Fear Itself (Mishawaka, IN)

    Niles Screampark (Niles, MI)

    The Haunt (Grand Rapids, MI)

    Phobia House (Kalamazoo, MI)

    Terror Town (Toledo, OH)

    Scare Fair (Lima, OH)

    Our Midwest adventure continues with Haunt You To Death: An Interactive Haunting Experience presented by Shutter Productions, a tour of Unit 70 Studios, and a trip to Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres. The journey concludes with an enormous trade show, seminars, and a masquerade party.

    We will be providing our readers with in-depth coverage of our trip to the Midwest. You can expect lots of photos, haunted house reviews, exclusive interviews, trade show secrets, and more.      

    Will you be attending the 2013 Midwest Haunters Convention? 

    For more information, tickets prices, and travel information visit their Official Website.


    The Merchant’s House Museum recently announced that they will be holding their popular Candlelight Gost Tours the third Friday of every month. The tours, which were previously only available in October, are 50 minutes long and tickets are $20.00 each. We are thrilled that they will be celebrating their status as ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House’ all year long,

    Upcoming Dates

    Candlelight Ghost Tours:

    March 15, April 19, May 17, and June 21 at: 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm, and 7:30pm

    Lecture: Investigating ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House’ with paranormal expert Dan Sturges on March 26th at 7pm.

    In Other News

    A second Landmarks Preservation Commision hearing was held today on the proposed 9-story hotel at 27 East 4th Street. We are thrilled that the LPC sent the developers back to the drawing board. For more information on the hearing  —  click here.


    Asylum Laser Tag at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, NY is a haunted house laser tag field with a moving maze. They use real semi-automatic paintball guns that are modified for laser tag, so they actually make noise when you fire. The field is an asylum themed haunted house that moves to create an ever changing environment. Friday nights from 9pm – Midnight they amp things up by adding zombies to the mix. Their weekly ZombieFest surrounds you with hoards of super zombies that reanimate 30 seconds after being shot. In between rounds you can watch zombie movies in the Asylum Lounge.

    I’ve never had any desire to play Laser Tag, but I might have to check this out. A haunted house where I can shoot zombies? Count me in.


    We are obsessed with the gorgeous cards, labels, logos, and designs of Damn French Desserts. Their dark Victorian style is elegant, macabre, and oh-so-very swoon worthy. We are thrilled to have them sponsor another giveaway. You may remember their custom card set from February 2012. This time around they will be awarding a ‘Do Not Disturb… Already Disturbed’ Victorian Door Knob Hanger to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat!

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on March 31, 2013.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Damn French Desserts is located in Madrid, Spain and offers an array of truly incredible products. Check out some of our favorites below and stop by their Etsy Shop to see their full collection. I am swooning over their Skull Cards and Matching Envelopes. OK…I’m swooning over everything!


    On May 25th, we will be participating in a private paranormal investigation at The Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, NY. This haunted hotel was built in 1895 after the original hotel (built in 1845) burned down to the foundation on March 18, 1895. The Inn is comprised of 35 rooms, a hidden basement room, secret passages inside closets, and a former bordello.

    “Upon entering the Bordello, people have reported feeling lightheaded, shortness of breath, heaviness and feelings of joy/sadness. The ‘Bordello’ is considered the most active place in the Hotel.” – The Shanley Hotel

    We look forward to sharing our experience with you. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to Live Chat and Receive Photo Updates on our Paranormal Investigation.

    Have you visited The Shanley Hotel?  Tell us about your experienc in the comment section below. 

    Additional Information

    A Postcard of The Shanley Hotel from 1906.

    A Postcard of The Shanley Hotel from 1906.


    Lakeville Haunted House
    28 Precinct Road
    Lakeville, MA

    It’s a crisp autumn night, when I pull up to the former Ted Williams Camp, to visit Lakeville Haunted House. Despite being early November, the Haunt is on in full effect: the parking lot is full, a DJ is spinning to a crowd of dancing teens and the aroma of spooky concessions wafts through the air. Delightful. I love to be surrounded by fellow haunt lovers, all dying to stretch the Halloween season a little longer.

    I am really excited. Lakeville Haunted House is the first haunt we’ve visited that is entirely non-profit. All of the proceeds are donated to scholarships and local charities. In their ’21 years of ‘blood and tears,’ Lakeville Haunted House has raised a monstrous $200,000 for the community.


    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Website: “No matter where you turn, you can feel the eyes of someone or something watching you. A snap of a twig, the rustling of leaves, the howling wind and screams of fear fill you with fright as you travel through the twisting, turning maze of horror.”

    The Raven and Black Cat says: Lakeville Haunted House explores many different themes and phobias for your terrifying pleasure. If you tremble at chainsaws, run from clowns, and are afraid to walk through the woods alone then Lakeville Haunted House will definitely scare you.


    What We Love

    I love that they have embraced their roots by starting out with a Crystal Lake-inspired camp section. Lakeville is a rural area and there’s nothing scarier than running through cabins and seeing Jason slowly approach your group. 

    The fabulously creepy clown maze had a ton of disorienting effects and hidden doors; my group got stuck on multiple occasions trying to find the exit. The troll blocking the path, was my favorite character. When I asked him what the toll was to pass, he whispered, “Your Soul!” and proceeded to ‘suck my soul’ with conviction. It was a fantastic touch. The drawbridge is another great and unexpected effect.                


    What Could Be Better

    Children are absolutely terrifying in a haunt, and the little kids at Lakeville were some of the best actors we’ve seen. Unfortunately, the teenagers were significantly less intimidating, especially when they broke character to say hi to their friends that were attending the haunt. Haunted attractions that rely on a volunteer staff have to work with what they’ve got, but you can increase the intimidation factor by placing teens in a victim role and employing detailed masks or makeup.

    Everyone loves a good chainsaw scare, but when there’s a chainsaw around every corner you lose the element of surprise and it becomes banal. Try exploring different power tools like drills, angle grinders, or dental equipment – they’re just as threatening, but will vary the experience and keep your audience on edge.


    Final Thoughts

    If you’re looking for a traditional walkthrough style haunt in the woods, you should definitely pay a visit to Lakeville Haunted House. It explores all the basic horror themes, features original handcrafted sets and costumes, and enthusiastic actors. There are a lot of scary elements, but you don’t have to worry about anyone touching you and it’s not so terrifying that your kids can’t enjoy the fun too. Lakeville Haunted House is a fun-filled family-friendly attraction for a good cause.  


    Lakeville Haunted House 2012 Season

    October 19 – November 3


    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $15.00

    (Anyone with a military ID can get in free!)


    Age Requirement

    No age requirements are specified.


    Additional Information



    Today is the 88th Birthday of the late, great Edward Gorey.  The macabre writer and artist known for his ghoulishly illustrated books. Our personal favorites are The Gashlycrumb Tinies and The Doubtful Guest.

    Celebrate his birthday by paying a visit to the Gorey Store for a vast selection of Gorey collectibles or plan a visit to his home in Yarmouth Port, MA. The Edward Gorey House has been a museum since his death in 2000 and will reopen with a new exhibit on April 18, 2013.

    Visit GoreyStore.com today and use coupon code: DOODLE for 10% off orders of $35 or more.






    Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors
    5750 Sunrise Highway
    Sayville, NY


    Step right up to Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors! It’s easy to scare people in an abandoned asylum or warehouse, but creating an unsettling environment in a strip mall is an adventurous endeavor. Haunt veteran, Marty Arominski has done just that. What Chamber of Horrors lacks in atmosphere, it makes up in spirit.

    When we arrived, we were elated to hear blood curdling screams as two zombies chased a teenage girl through the parking lot…at a full on run. Moments later, a chainsaw wielding clown ran through the crowd, eliciting another round of shrieks. Chamber of Horrors is filled with a cast of demonic characters dying to scare you over, and over and over again.


    Is It Scary

    According to Proprietor Slim Chance: “We have sights and sounds to thrill you, entertain you, entice you and ultimately leave you and your gallant party of friends and family, screaming, begging, pleading, running for the exits in terror and crying for the very mothers that birthed you!”

    The Raven and Black Cat says: Chamber of Horrors is a faced paced, carnival inspired haunt bathed in blood and loaded with disorienting effects and startle scares. If you’re afraid of clowns, spiders, living dead, and can’t help but scream when things go bump in the night, than this is the haunted house for you.


    What We Loved

    The clever set design allows for multiple points of entry in each room. Instead of lingering after a scare, the actors rush off, creating a glorious wtf moment. Before you can process what just happened, they’re back again for more, sometimes following you through multiple rooms. The heavy use of strobe lights is disorienting and sets you up nicely for startle scares from porcine demons, crazy clowns, and blood thirsty zombies. Favorite moments include a pitch black maze of directional arrows, a Long Island housewife dying to feed us a home baked fetus and a silly sing-a-long rendition of Highway to Hell.


    What Could Be Better

    We would love to see a unifying theme or story line to tie the rooms together. Character development is always more effective when the actor has a very clear idea of who or what they are portraying. A few characters at Chamber of Horrors had fabulous depth and detail, but many of the actors just screamed in our faces, which is ineffective and irritating. Come up with a story for each room and a background for the characters in it. When the actors know exactly what’s happening and what their objective is, then they can react to the audience as they enter instead of relying on a set script or constant volume. Some of the most unsettling moments can come from just a whisper.

    The caged mad doctor throwing entrails is a brilliant idea; the effect will be perfect when you dye the wash cloths dark red to look like bloody  flesh.


    Final Thoughts

    Chamber of Horrors is an evil carnival loaded with startle scares, hair-raising creatures and dizzying effects. The weekend after we visited, Attius Plaza hosted an actual carnival surrounding the haunt with rides, games and food. The combination of the two events makes for a perfect Halloween celebration.


    Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors 2012 Season

    October 5 – November 4


    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $15.00  |  RIP Fast Pass: $20.00  |  Timed Tickets: $25.00


    Age Requirements

    According to the official website: “This attraction was not designed for very small children. It’s up to parents to decide if their kids are mature enough for The Chamber. If their age is in single digits and you hope for more, give this careful consideration.”


    Additional Information


    According to Tim Haskell’s blog, Nightmare Haunted House will present a 15-hour overnight Horror Camping Experience July 12th + 13th complete with campfire dinner, overnight accomodations and horror surprises that will keep you up all night. The camp site will be located about 2 hours outside NYC in Lexington, NY. The camper deemed the sole “survivor” will win a big prize.  More details coming soon….  

    Do you have what it takes to survive Camp Nightmare?

    “No Electricity. No Cell Service. No one to hear you Scream.”

    'Bleeding Hearts' Cake / Lily Vanilli Cake Design

    ‘Bleeding Hearts’ Cake / Lily Vanilli Cake Design

    Happy Valentine’s Day from The Raven & Black Cat!

    Feast your eyes on this decadently grotesque red velvet cake by UK-based cake artist, Lily Vanilli. Making it possible to literally eat your heart out.


    We love our romance with a little blood and gore. Here are a few ways to make your Valentine’s Day Spooky and Sweet in the New York City area.

    Blood Manor’s Bloody Valentine’s Weekend

    This bloody valentine’s themed off-season haunt is open February 14th – 17th. 50% Off Discount Tickets can be purchased here on Goldstar.  www.BloodManor.com

    Brighton Asylum’s Dark Valentine

    Head to Passaic, NJ February 15th – 16th to have your heart broken at this off-season haunted house. We loved their Christmas-themed haunt and we’re sure their anti-cupid offering will be just as fabulous. General Admission is: $25.00. RIP Fast Pass is: $35.00. Use Promo Code: ASYLUM to get 20% Off Tickets. www.Night-Mares.com

    Warm Bodies

    Planning on Dinner and a Movie? Catch this Zombie Romantic Comedy based on Isaac Marion’s novel of the same name. Click Here to buy tickets online at a theater near you.

    Times Scare

    Times Scare is offering Valentine’s Specials including a three course valentine’s meal and an absinthe tatsing.  www.TimesScareNYC.com

    The New Jekyll & Hyde Club

    The brand new Jekyll & Hyde Club in Times Square hasn’t even had it’s official grand opening yet. The new website is intriguing. This Jekyll & Hyde Club promises to be leaps and bounds above the last incarnation. We look forward to checking it out. 



    Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse
    215 South Country Road
    Bellport, NY

    A plague of mysterious origin has spread through a 1940s era Bellport, NY. Upon entering its doors, you realize that the source of the outbreak is the Gateway Playhouse. To survive this airborne illness you must journey through a labyrinth of infected military, civilian, and hospital employees covered in the telltale facial pustules. This infection spreads fast and quickly begins to degrade the brain. Will you survive?


    Is It Scary?

    This sickening love letter to zombie infection will terrify kinemortophobics (fear of the undead) and germaphobes alike!


    Here’s A Tip

    Get there early for some food and liquid courage at their bar and dining area. Their timed ticketing allows you to wait in the bar/dining area until your number is displayed, which means shorter lines for everyone. 


    What We Loved

    Gateway Playhouse always has amazing actors, original custom made props and sets, and a historic venue full of authentically creepy sights and smells. We were impressed with their 2011 haunted house, but they have out done themselves for 2012. Everything is more detailed and each scene expounds on the infection theme in a new way.

    The blood smell in the chapel where the zombie groom was eating his bride was both disturbingly perfect and nauseating. The mirrored medical room of mannequin doctors was unsettling and visually stunning. The talented actors induced fear and anxiety as they coughed uncontrollably into your personal space. Textured, uneven, and unpredictable floor coverings were used in certain areas to make the detailed environments come alive. The grotesquely fabulous makeup and 1940s era costumes are exquisite and largely responsible for the success of the haunt’s stylized period look.  


    What Could Be Better

    Each room is dressed with the perfect vintage era props and sets with one exception. There are a few areas papered with missing person fliers that have clearly been printed on crisp white computer paper. The photos showcased on the fliers are of contemporary 21st century faces that seem very out of place next to a cast of meticulously designed 1940s zombies. Having gone to such great lengths to create a detailed period piece, it’s odd that they dropped the ball here.


    Final Thoughts

    Gateway Playhouse has once again created a brilliantly theatrical haunt. It is visually stunning and scary as hell. The addition of a unified theme has helped them to create a perfect walk-through haunted house.


    Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse 2012 Season

    September 28 – November 3


    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $20.00   |  Fast Pass: $25.00


    Additional Information


    Sapling Naturals creates imaginative soap products for the imminent zombie apocalypse. We love their creativity and tongue-in-cheek style! We are thrilled that they will be awarding 3 Bars of Zombie Repellent Soap to one lucky reader of the Raven & Black Cat!

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on February 28, 2013.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Sapling Naturals is located in Readsboro, VT and clearly state that the soap’s Zombie Repelling Powers “have not been evaluated by the FDA, or anyone for that matter, and are quite possibly fictitious.” We love a good sense of humor as much as we love zombies. Make sure to check out the Sapling Naturals Etsy Shop to see their entire line of amazing luxury soaps and natural goods. We are so in love with their Felted Soap Monsters + Zombies. It’s a soap and washcloth in one! 


    Dear Readers,

    S & I visited 40 Haunted Houses in 8 different states in 2012. We had the opportunity to meet many haunt owners and get a special behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the country’s top haunted attractions.

    What started as a joke of a challenge became an incredible journey into the haunt industry and how America celebrates Halloween. 

    In the coming weeks, we will be working hard to add all of our 2012 reviews to the site.

    Check out the map of our 2012 haunted house tour below.   Click on the markers for haunt information, when we visited, and links to posted reviews.

    We met some amazing people and visited some brilliant and innovative haunted attractions. We can’t wait to share our adventure with you.




    View 2012 Haunted House Tour in a full screen map


    I love the artwork of Francesco Francavilla, but I’m particularly taken with his imaginings of Edgar Allan Poe. Just Gorgeous. Check out his Official Website to see more of his stunning art.

    Francesco Francavilla

    Francesco Francavilla


    Warm Bodies, a zombie romantic-comedy, opens today. Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Sure… we’ll give Zombie Love a chance. Check out the trailer below.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07s-cNFffDM]


    We have our tickets. Were you lucky enough to snag one? There are only a few left so act quickly: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/920896

    This freezing cold Winter Edition of Blackout will take place in the East Village at an undisclosed location from January 28 – February 2. The experience will last 45 min.

    The $135 ticket includes: “one admission to the January NYC event, a Blackout t-shirt, and a special pre-sale ticket offer for the Halloween show.”

    We have no idea what to expect. Luckily, we don’t have long to wait.


    Looking to celebrate the most romantic day of the year with blood and gore instead of flowers and chocolate?

    NYC’s Blood Manor is celebrating once again with their Bloody Valentine’s Weekend, which runs from Feburary 14 – 17. Online Presale Tickets are $30.00 for General Admission and $50.00 for RIP Entry.  http://www.bloodmanor.com 

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7l3QNjUFsE]

    Brighton Asylum in Passaic, NJ is following up their 2012 Christmas Haunt with a Valentine’s Day Haunt called Dark Valentine on February 15th & 16th. General Admission Tickets are $25.00 and RIP Tickets are $35.00. http://www.night-mares.com


    Get ready New York! The shockingly early email just went out. They teased us for months about the 2011 Off-Season Event, but for 2013 the shock is that the event will start in 3 days. Hope you didn’t have plans this weekend. A small amount of tickets will be released sometime soon and they will be available to anyone

    It’s seriously cold in NYC. Will there be nudity in this year’s Off-Season Event? The Frostbite would be terrifying. Tension is running high as we wait for the limited number of tickets to be released. Will you be one of the lucky few?

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJpZzAL9gys&w=560&h=315]


    Christmas Nightmares
    2 Brighton Avenue
    Passaic, NJ

    On December 8th, we paid a visit to Christmas Nightmares presented by Night-mares Haunted Attraction in Passaic, NJ. We have always loved the idea of a walk-through haunted house with a Christmas theme and Christmas Nightmares didn’t disappoint. 


    Is It Scary

    Christmas Nightmares offers creative startle scares and surprises that will terrify some and delight others.


    What We Loved

    We loved getting attacked by man-eating Christmas lights, the interactive set pieces, and the enthusiastic actors. The surprise ending was particularly fabulous and reminiscent of Beetlejuice. We applaud Nightmares Haunted Attraction for providing a delightfully dark haunted Christmas experience. I mean, who doesn’t love the visual imagery of Santa Claus clutching a chainsaw?


    What Could Be Better

    Christmas Nightmares is an outstanding off-season haunt, but we always find ourselves wanting a little more. We would have liked to see a few more Christmas details in certain areas, like labeling the hanging body bags “Naughty Children” or “Inefficient Elves.” A creepy soundtrack of seasonal songs and sounds would have added an ominous tone.


    Final Thoughts

    Christmas Nightmares is a fantastic off-season haunted house. They have fully committed to the Christmas theme and it may become one of our favorite yuletide traditions. We can’t wait to see what they dish out for Halloween.


    Christmas Nightmares 2012 Season

    December 1st, 8th, and 15th


    Ticket Information

    General Admission: $25.00

    RIP Fast Pass: $35.00


    Additional Information


    Christmas Nightmares 2012

    Christmas Nightmares 2012

    Christmas Nightmares 2012

    Christmas Nightmares 2012

    The Christmas Skull / Monochrome Clown

    The Christmas Skull / Monochrome Clown

    Merry Christmas from The Raven & Black Cat!


    Celebrate the season by dragging Halloween into December. The 13 Days of Creepmas are in full swing and there are two Christmas themed Haunts in the NY/NJ area to get you in the Creepmas spirit. 

    Nightmares Haunted Attraction in Passaic, New Jersey becomes Christmas Nightmares for 3 Saturdays on December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 8-10pm. Explore Santa’s workshop and hope you get out alive.  Tickets are $20.

    Nightmare (Before Christmas): The Experiment returns for a second year! This new and expanded version of Nightmare: New York’s audience participation haunt  runs December 7th – 23rd at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center on the Lower East Side. Tickets are $30.


    Paige Reynolds creates stunningly creepy art. We are thrilled that they will be awarding a set of art prints to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat. The set will include 6×6 art prints ‘Release‘  and ‘Cog.’ 

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on  December 31, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Paige Reynolds Art is located in Toronto, Canada. Check out a few of our favorites below and visit the Paige Reynolds Etsy Shop to see their entire grotesquely gorgeous collection.  



    Shirt.Woot now offers a catalogue, so you can buy nearly all of their past shirts. Check out some of our favorites above! Have a Happy Black Friday and Be Safe.

    Turkey End/xtopherknight

    Turkey End/xtopherknight

    Happy Thanksgiving from The Raven & Black Cat!

    Green-Wood Cemetery/ Brooklyn, NY

    Green-Wood Cemetery/ Brooklyn, NY

    This Sunday, journey down to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery for their Murder, Mayhem, & Disasters Walking Tour.  

    Sunday, November 18, 2012  |  1:00 PM – 3:30 PM  |  Green-Wood Cemetery  | Brooklyn, NY

    Murder, Mayhem & Disasters Walking Tour/Green-Wood Cemetery  

    Murder, Mayhem & Disasters Walking Tour/Green-Wood Cemetery  


    Tickets: $15.00

    Official Website   –   Buy Tickets

    The Haunted House/Daniele Montella

    The Haunted House/Daniele Montella

    Still celebrating Halloween? The following Haunted Houses are open this week:


    Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel
    Brooklyn, NY

    Open  Nov. 5   |  Tickets: $6.00

    Blackout Haunted House
    New York, NY

    Open Nov. 5 – 10   |  Tickets: $50.00

    2012 Review

    Blood Manor
    New York, NY

    Open Nov. 8 – 11   |  Tickets: $30 – $60

    Discount Tickets   –   2012 Review

    Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House
    New York, NY

    Open Nov. 9 – 10   |  Tickets: $30 – $60

    Discount Tickets   –   2012 Review

    Times Scare Haunted House
    New York, NY

    Open Year- Round   |  Tickets: $27.00


    Terror Behind The Walls
    Philadelphia, PA

    Open Nov. 10   |  Tickets: $29.50

    2012 Review


    Las Vegas, NV

    Open Year-Round   |  Tickets: $25 – $60



    Haunted Houses

    Dr. Havock’s Sideshow of Curiosities
    The Stratosphere Hotel & Casino
    Las Vegas, NV

    October 31st  | 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM

    Tickets: $12.50

    This spooky interactive sideshow is a delicious morsel of Halloween entertainment.

    Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror
    2321 N. Rainbow Boulevard
    Las Vegas, NV

    October 31st | 7:00 PM to Midnight

    Tickets: $12.00 – $35.00

    Don’t miss this brilliantly theatrical terror fest. Three attractions ranging from clown-themed startle scares to an intense R-Rated Haunt that will scare even the bravest horror fans. 

    Fright Dome
    Circus Circus
    Las Vegas, NV

    October 31st | 7:00 PM to Midnight

    Tickets: $37.95 – $52.95

    Fright Dome is the ultimate Halloween Party! 5 Haunted Houses, Live Shows, Premium Rides and Attractions, Scare Zones, and one of the best Zombie-themed Haunted Houses we’ve ever seen.

    Harmon & Las Vegas Boulevard
    Las Vegas, NV

    Open Year-Round | 2:00 PM to 2:00 AM

    Tickets: $25.00 – $60.00

    Eli Roth’s Goretorium will not “F*ck you” as their tag line suggests, but this year-round attraction delivers on their promise of gore and a good time. 

    Las Vegas Haunts
    Two Locations
    Las Vegas, NV

    Hotel Fear is located at Craig Road and Revere. Asylum is located at The Fremont Street Experience.

    October 31st | 6:30 PM to Midnight

    Tickets: $12.00 – $15.00

    Two traditional walk-through style haunted houses with a haunted hotel and insane asylum theme. Fun haunted houses for all ages.

    The Screamont Experiment
    Vegas Club Hotel & Casino
    Las Vegas, NV

    October 31st | 7:00 PM to Midnight

    Tickets: $20.00 – $30.00

    The Screamont Experiment has taken over part of the Vegas Club & Casino on Fremont Street. This clever maze of mayhem and deception is a fun Halloween adventure.


    Evil Dead The Musical
    Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino
    Las Vegas, NV

    October 31st | 8:30 PM & 11:30PM

    Tickets: $49.99 – $69.99

    The only Halloween Event in Las Vegas that will send you home literally dripping with blood. 


    Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the east coast over the last two days. NYC suffered massive flooding and power outages.

    Our thoughts go out to those impacted by the storm.  For information about donating to Red Cross Hurricane Relief – Click Here.

    Frankenstorm Sandy introduced real life horror into the lives of many and tried to destroy one of our favorite holidays.  For the first time in its history the NYC Halloween Parade has been Cancelled. If you refuse to let this bitch of a weather system ruin your Halloween, there are still a few ways to celebrate in NYC.


    Bronx Haunted Warehouse
    Bronx, NY

    Crypt Crawl at St. John the Divine
    New York, NY

    Nosferatu: Live Music + Silent Film
    Brooklyn, NY

    Times Scare Haunted House
    New York, NY

    Long Island

    Chamber of Horrors
    Sayville, NY

    Darkside Haunted House
    Wading River, NY

    Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse
    Bellport, NY

    UPDATE: The NYC Halloween Parade may be rescheduled for sometime next week.

    Know of a Haunted House, Halloween Attraction, or Ghost Tour open tomorrow that we missed? Contact Us ASAP to add it to the list.


    Haunted Houses


    Blackout Haunted House
    115 West 27th Street
    New York, NY

    September 27  –  November  4  

    Tickets: $50.00

    All advance tickets are SOLD OUT. A limited number of walk up tickets are available and a wait list program is in place.

    Official Website  –  2012 Review

    This infamous adults-only haunted house draws from the horrors of real life. You must sign a waiver. You must go through alone. There is a safe word and they will touch you. You won’t find more extreme Halloween entertainment. 

    Blood Manor
    163 Varick Street
    New York, NY

    October 5  –  November 3

    Tickets: $30.00 – $45.00

    Official Website  – Discount Tickets  –  Review

    A blood-drenched traditional walk-through style haunted house. Blood Manor is like the haunted houses of your childhood — on steroids. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent.

    Crypt Crawl: A Halloween Tour
    1047 Amsterdam Avenue
    New York, NY

    Sat., Oct. 27, 2012   | 1:30PM, 3,PM 4PM, 5PM
    Wed.,Oct. 31, 2012  |   5:00 PM

    Tickets: $15.00 – $20.00

    Official Website  –  Buy Tickets

     The Cathedral of St. John the Divine allows visitors to creep into the Cathedral’s crypt to learn the origins of Halloween on this spooky guided tour.  

    Merchant’s House Museum
    29 West Fourth Street
    New York, NY

    • Candlelight Ghost Tours  |  Oct. 25 – 30
    • 1865 Funeral Reenactment  |  Oct. 28
    • Ghost Stories of the MHM  |  Oct 31

    Tickets: $10.00 – $40.00

    Official Website   –   Buy Tickets  –  Review

    This Halloween visit a real haunted location for an authentic ghost experience or an 1865 Funeral Reenactment. The New York Times calls it, ‘Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.’  

    Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House
    107 Suffolk Street
    New York, NY

    September 28 – November 3

    Tickets: $20.00 – $60.00

    Official Website  –  Discount Tickets  –  Review

    A terrifyingly theatrical haunt inspired by the monsters that walk among us:  serial killers. Having them touch you is optional. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted.

    A theater and two themed bars keep Manhattan’s only year-round haunted house company at Times Scare. Stop by for a creepy cocktail and a scare and stay for Silence! The Musical and Dan Sperry’s Magic Show.

    Times Scare
    669 8th Avenue
    New York, NY

    Open Year-Round

    Tickets: $22.00 – $27.00

    Official Website  – Buy Tickets


    The Bronx Haunted Warehouse stores the most terrifying monsters from Nightmare’s past and a gaggle of grotesque zombies. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted.

    Bronx Haunted Warehouse
    1157 Commerce Avenue
    Bronx, NY

    October 5 – 31

    Tickets: $13.00 – $30.00

    Official Website  –  Discount Tickets


    Dirty Work At The Wax Works is a demented story told by the 1970’s Night
    Watchman of Coney Island’s infamous Presidential Wax Works. This after hours tour though the Hall of Presidents is peppered with excessive swearing and encounters with  excessive graphic violence. A perfect mash-up of Halloween Horror & Horrifying Presidents!

    Creep Show at the Freak Show
    1208 Surf Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY

    October 24 – 31 | 6:00 PM – Midnight

    Tickets: $10.00

    Official Website – Buy Tickets

    Then She Fell
    2 Kingsland Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY

    October 3 – November 18

    Tickets: $65.00 – $250.00

    Official Website  –  Buy Tickets  –  Review

    This trip to Wonderland explores the dark psychological elements of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale in an immersive non-linear multi-sensory theatrical adventure. Sheer perfection for those looking for an elegant blood-free way to celebrate Halloween.

    Long Island

    Chamber of Horrors
    5750 Sunrise Highway
    Sayville, NY

    October 5 – November 3

    Tickets: $15.00 – $25.00

    Official Website  – Buy Tickets

    Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors has turned a simple strip mall into a full out horror carnival complete with rides, food, and games!

    Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse
    215 South Country Road
    Bellport, NY

    September 28  –  November 3

    Tickets: $25.00 – $30.00

    Official Website  –  Buy Tickets

     Try to escape a 1940s era Gateway Playhouse without  contracting a deadly virus that is driving everyone insane. This year’s offering is very theatrical and very scary. Visit their festive outdoor bar for some liquid courage.

    HV Asylum
    426 Mill Road
    Coram, NY

    October 5  –  28

    Official Website  – Tickets $25.00

    Mayhem takes over this 13-Acre paintball field to create a creepy entirely outdoor experience that is fun for  the whole family.

    Victorian Inspired Halloween Events

    Phantasma Gorey 2012: The Grand Victorian Halloween Ball
    91 Claremont Avenue
    New York, NY

    Sat., Oct. 27, 2012  |  8:00 PM – 12:00 AM

    Tickets: $25.00 – $30.00

    Official WebsiteBuy Tickets

    “Dance the night away beneath the majestic Neo-Gothic arches of Riverside Church in an elegantly deranged celebration of all things whimsical, dark, and Edward Gorey. This legendary Halloween stomp features the hot jazz syncopations of Brian Carpenter’s GHOST TRAIN ORCHESTRA, digital art by VJ HOLLY DAGGERS, and an ominous all-star cast.”

    Gemini & Scorpio Present: Masquerade Macabre
    227 Fourth Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY

    Sat., Oct. 27, 2012  |   9:30 PM – 5:00 AM

    Tickets: $20.00 – $50.00

    Official Website  –  Buy Ticket

    “A marvellous and mysterious event…a Halloween celebration of the extravagant and the grotesque…an all-night spectacle of atmosphere, costumery and diverse entertainments…an explosion of live music, dancing, circus arts, fire and late-night revelry, snake-charmed into an absinthe-fueled early-morning speakeasy.”

    Nosferatu: Live Music + Silent Film
    136 Metropolitan Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY

    “This is a LIVE + SOUND + CINEMA event!
    MORRICONE YOUTH play live music & soundscape for NOSFERATU: A Symphony of Horror. Pre-show by Morricone Youth includes classic horror movie scores set to a horror montage, costume contest, prizes, and candy!”

    Sun., Oct. 28, 2012  |  12:10 AM

    Wed., Oct. 31, 2012  |  10:00 PM

    Tickets: $16.00

    Official Website  –  Buy Tickets


    The Raven & Black Cat is headed to Las Vegas tomorrow! We’ll discover what horrors Sin City has to offer. Our itinerary includes at least 5 haunted houses and one blood-drenched musical! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter  to Live Chat and receive Photo Updates about our Vegas Adventure.


    If elaborate costumes aren’t your thing, here are our favorite creepy casual looks.

    Ouija Icons/HotTopic

    Ouija Icons/HotTopic


    Zombie at Tiffany's/Threadless

    Zombie at Tiffany’s/Threadless

    Boo M*Fcker/Urban Outfitters

    Boo M*Fcker/Urban Outfitters




    Our favorite holiday is just around the corner! Halloween is exactly two weeks from today. Plan accordingly…  


    Blackout Haunted House
    115 West 27th Street
    New York, NY

    Blackout Haunted House has upped the ante this year. No matter what you’ve read. No matter what you’ve heard. Everything you think you know is wrong. There’s no way to prepare for this.

    Blackout Haunted House is an immersive theatre experience that draws on the horror scenarios of real life. It will test your limits and push you to your breaking point. If it becomes too much for you, uttering the safe word will abruptly end your experience and bring you back to safety. 

    This is the fifth Blackout event (formerly NYC Halloween Haunted House) that I have attended and while every experience is like starring in your own horror movie, it’s getting progressively more intense. 

    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –     –    –    –    –    –    –    –    – 

    Upon arrival you sign the infamous waiver and are assigned a number. There is a convenient coat check system this year to store your belongings.   

    Fog circulates through the dimly lit waiting area. Three chairs face a roped off section of the room that glows with light. There is even some cleverly devised entertainment to enjoy, while you nervously wait to enter the house.  

    When they call my number ( #35) I feel myself go to a place of calm acceptance. I’m in their hands now…

    …and I mean that quite literally.   

    From the moment it begins, it is disturbing and artful. I spend the first part of the haunt giggling with delight beneath my protective mask. Then without warning, I find myself pushed to the edge of my rather extensive comfort zone.  

    This barrage of bizarre images and horrifying situations is mixed with masterfully employed sensory deprivation. Then they bring it to a boil and add a heaping tablespoon of WTF.  

    Blackout Haunted House is the ultimate adrenaline rush. It is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Don’t miss it.


    A detailed walk-through of my experience will be posted in mid-November.


    Blackout Haunted House Runs

    September 27th – November 4th

    Ticket Information

    • General Admission (NYC): $45.00 – $50.00

    Age Requirements

    No one under 18 admitted.

    Additional Information

    Blackout Haunted House/Waiting Area

    Blackout Haunted House/Waiting Area

    Blackout Haunted House

    Blackout Haunted House

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHF01wJRg-Y?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]

    Halloween Signature Collection/Crumbs Bake Shop

    Halloween Signature Collection/Crumbs Bake Shop

    Yummy Mummy Colossal Cupcake/Crumbs Bake Shop

    Yummy Mummy Colossal Cupcake/Crumbs Bake Shop

    Thing One Colossal Cupcake/Crumbs Bake Shop

    Thing One Colossal Cupcake/Crumbs Bake Shop

    Behold the 2012 Halloween Cupcake Collection from Crumbs Bake Shop. We are loving the Black Cat Cupcake… Crumbs Bake Shop ships their treats all over the country, so you can enjoy these ghoulish goodies no matter where you live.


    VignetteNoir creates dazzlingly dark art. We are in love with their gorgeous Cat Skull Silhouette painting and are thrilled that they will be awarding an art print to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on  October 31, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    VignetteNoir is located in Philadelphia, PA. Their motto is “the creepier…the better.” Check out the VignetteNoir Etsy Shop to see their entire Collection. A few of our favorites are below. 

    Broken Heart/VignetteNoir

    Broken Heart/VignetteNoir

    Home Sweet Home/VignetteNoir

    Home Sweet Home/VignetteNoir

    His Master's Voice/VignetteNoir

    His Master’s Voice/VignetteNoir




    Nyctophobia Haunted House is very hush-hush this year. A Confidential Guest List has been compiled for the 4-day Secret Event. All the spots have been filled, but Shhh… don’t cry. They will be awarding 2-Tickets to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.   

    Only Enter If You Are Able To Attend:

    • WHAT: 2 Tickets to Nyctophobia
    • WHEN: Saturday, October 27th | Time Slots:  9:40pm & 9:50pm
    • WHERE: Suffolk County, NY / Long Island – The exact location will be revealed to the winner. (Here’s a hint: Exit 68 on the LIE and Exit 58 on Sunrise Highway)

    Add contact@ravenblackcat.com to your address book, so we can notify you if you win.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on  October 23, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    HV Asylum
    426 Mill Road
    Coram, NY

    A 13 acre paintball field is a spectacular venue for a haunt. As the sun sets, High Velocity Paintball becomes HV Asylum. We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we first arrived. Gun-toting zombies, perhaps?   First off, it’s in the woods. There’s nothing creepier than what your subconscious imagines to be lurking behind a gnarly old tree. Second, they’re equipped with all kinds of eerie settings ranging from a life-sized militaristic plane crash to a western ghost town complete with livestock, saloons and a creepy old church. A live soundtrack provided by a church organist and a spooky cast brings everything together to make for a really fun haunt.

    HV Asylum is split into two sections. A delightfully undead tour guide leads you through the western-style ghost town, where you encounter a slew of living dead wielding farm tools. As you move deeper into the forest, you’re taunted by menacing creatures of the night. A trip though the graveyard and a fantastically executed crypt leads you to the main event: The Asylum. Inside, you encounter fun special effects, tortured souls and all the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Website : It’s “The biggest and scariest haunted attraction Long Island has seen to date.”

    The Raven and Black Cat says : If you’re afraid of being alone in the dark, then you’re going to love HV Asylum. The unnerving setting combines with a cast of ghastly characters and shocking animatronics to create a spooky, traditional walk through haunted house.

    Here’s A Tip

    HV Asylum is entirely out doors. It can get pretty cold, so make sure you bundle up.

    What We Loved

    We really love the pacing of this haunt. In the wooded section, there’s just enough time between the startle scares to get your imagination going. The asylum itself is filled with gory animatronics that provide just enough of a distraction for the live actors to sneak in for a startle scare. Favorite moments include hearing the asylum door being nailed shut behind us, a crazy clown assaulting us with a severed head, and being ensnared between a demonic zombie and a flame throwing prison guard. 

    What Could Be Better

    Why are we visiting the asylum? I think this kind of haunt would really benefit from a backstory and the tour guides are the perfect ones to deliver it. Also, it’s fun that the tour guide leaves you to your own devices, but there’s no motivation for them to abandon the group. This could be the perfect situation for the creatures in the woods to attack or for the guide to turn against the group and have them committed. In the woods, most of the creatures wait until they’re discovered to run in for the “kill.” Instead, alternate your methods of scaring; some ghouls can linger menacingly, taunting the crowd with their pitchforks and shovels, meanwhile others can run in quickly for a fly by scare.

    Final Thoughts

    HV Asylum is a fun and spooky attraction that is big on startle scares and gruesome characters. It’s perfect for those looking for an outdoor haunting experience that emphasizes entertainment rather than terror. A lot of the haunts in the area are focusing on an adult-only crowd, where the actors invade your personal space or touch you, but more timid thrill seekers don’t have to worry about that at HV Asylum. You’ll have a blast making your way through this spokky, but family friendly haunt. 

    HV Asylum 2012 Runs

    October 5th – 28

    Ticket Information

    • General Admission $25.00

    Discount Tickets

    Additional Information

    HV Asylum

    HV Asylum

    HV Asylum

    HV Asylum

    HV Asylum

    HV Asylum



    Visiting Blackout Haunted House Tonight.


    Half  Excited.   Half  Terrified.


    You Never Know What They Have In Store For You…


    Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House
    107 Suffolk Street
    New York,NY

    For 2012, Timothy Haskell has teamed up with Steve Kopelman to create what they describe as “a horrifying, immersive, haunted house experience.”

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Website:  “The most haunting experiences are those that are real. There is nothing more frightening than the monsters that walk among us.”

    The Raven & Black Cat says:  Damn straight.  Last year, when Nightmare asked us to write down what we find most terrifying, we gave them a tip: serial killers. The contrast of brutal, methodical, carefully crafted murders perpetrated by someone who could be the clean-cut boy-next-door, is enough to send us to bed clutching a security blanket and kitchen knife. The intense creepiness of these real-life monsters, portrayed by top-notch actors in detailed, realistic settings combined with some very effective startle scares, is a state-of-the-art design for nightmares.

    What We Loved

    When you visit haunted houses night after night, you tend to see a lot of similar rooms and themes.  “Killers” is unlike any other attraction. It provides a starkly real glimpse into the life and mind of a cold-blooded killer and invites you to play the victim. You don’t have to imagine the terror of  Jack the Ripper grabbing your throat, pushing you up against the walls of dark alley. Here, the actual sensation is available. It’s always a touchy subject in the haunt world, but giving individuals a choice of whether or not they will be touched ensures the right combination of safe and edgy for everyone. And those who choose to allow touching will appreciate how sparingly it is applied. The haunt designers know well that the anticipation is as important to the experience as the actual moment you are physically drawn into the action.

    The costumes, sets and makeup are unnervingly realistic, especially John Wayne Gacy’s house. Nothing is exaggerated for dramatic effect. From the outside it could have been any house in Middle America…until you’re behind closed doors.  When you’re dealing with real-life horror you have to walk a fine line and Nightmare is careful not to sensationalize or glorify these tragic events. In one room, a victim’s mother asks “Why did you come here? These are real people. Why are you here?” and for a moment, your heart really does break. Despite the theatrical focus, Nightmare still includes some shocking special effects and fun startle scares. Our favorite moments include a trash bag full of body parts hitting the floor, the Jeffrey Dahmer trial, and a, shall we say “whacky” grand finale that will send you running for the exit.

    What Could Be Better

    In the Andrew Fish section, the audio recording is nearly impossible to hear over the noise in the other rooms. Our group huddled in the corner and missed the video while trying to figure out what was going on. This could be avoided by having an actor tell the story or using additional speakers. I would love to briefly smell something foul when Pogo opens the trap door. If you’re hiding 26 bodies beneath the floor, it’s certainly going to provide some sensory evidence. For any audience members not familiar with the killer, this would provide a clue as to what’s really going on down there. 

    Final Thoughts

    We love and respect that Nightmare is willing to take risks. Last year, Fairy Tales was incredibly fun but more performance art, than haunted house. This year, Nightmare has combined a top-notch theatrical experience with the scream-inducing horror their audiences have come to expect. It’s intelligent, artistic, terrifying and hopefully, a blueprint for the haunted house of the future. 

    Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House Runs

    September 28th – November 3rd

    Ticket Information

    • Timed Ticketing: $30 (online) or $35 (at the door)
    • VIP (Front of the Line Access): $50 (online) or $60 (at the door)

    Discount Tickets

    • 50% Off Timed Ticketing & VIP Tickets – Click Here!
    • $15 – $20 Student Rush Tickets Available 1 Hour Prior to Listed Start Times.
    • Military Personnel Night: Sun., Oct. 14th – Buy One Get One Free w/ Military ID.
    • Public Servant Night (Policeman, Firefighter, EMT, ect.): Wed., October 10th – Flash your Badge to Buy One Get One Free.

    Age Requirements

    Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted.

    Additional Information

    Jack the Ripper/ Photographer: Joshua Hoffine

    Jack the Ripper/ Photographer: Joshua Hoffine

    Elizabeth Bathory/Photographer: Joshua Hoffine

    Elizabeth Bathory/Photographer: Joshua Hoffine

    John Wayne Gacy/Photographer: Christopher Brielmaier

    John Wayne Gacy/Photographer: Christopher Brielmaier

    H. H. Holmes/Photographer: Christopher Brielmaier

    H. H. Holmes/Photographer: Christopher Brielmaier


    Nightmare: New York is back with a vengeance. Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House is a serial killer themed haunted house located in downtown Manhattan. We had the opportunity to experience it this past Thursday and it is a chilling masterpiece of horror theatre.  We are thrilled that Nightmare: New York will be awarding 2 Tickets to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on  October 16, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHaeA8MjbK0?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]


    Field of Screams
    191 College Avenue
    Mountville, PA

    I took one look at Field of Screams in Mountville, Pennsylvania, and was bowled-over by what has to be the scariest looking cornfield I have ever seen…and I grew up in Pennsylvania. It’s with good reason that this ghastly overgrown cornfield and the haunted attractions it surrounds have been scaring area residents for the last 20 years. Field of Screams resembles a County Fair from Hell, complete with an entertainment area with food vendors, horror-themed games, and a stage. This midway of the macabre sits between an elaborate Haunted Hayride and two creepy old barns that house the walk-through attractions Frightmare Asylum and Den of Darkness.

    Frightmare Asylum is a twisting walking tour through insanity, chock full of detailed environments, clever special effects, and disturbing themes. Look out for a seriously creepy homage to clowns.

    The Den of Darkness received a massive redesign for 2012. From the outside it looks like your run of the mill Haunted Mansion, but inside there is a tantalizing variety of horror and special effects ranging from a dark dungeon full of spark throwing angle grinders to a small passage in the wall that requires crawling on all fours into total darkness. A surprise photo-op captures your screams for posterity on their Facebook page.

     The Haunted Hayride loads you onto a wagon for a journey into that dreaded corn. Each stop is a grand display of impressive sets and dazzling special effects.

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Website“We terrify all who visit, so come prepared to scream.”

    The Raven & Black Cat says:   They have taken great care to zero-in on many common phobias. If dolls, darkness, cornfields, tight spaces, and clowns (with chainsaws!) are your idea of a frightful good time, then the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

    Here’s A Tip

    Visit Field of Screams on a Sunday, or spring for the VIP Upgrade to skip the lines. Without timed admission, you could be waiting in line for a while. 

    What We Loved

    We love the sensory details used at Field of Screams. Creative lighting techniques, the light touch of an actor’s hand, the strong smells of the old barn, and an interactive set fully engage you in the experience. We also loved the use of unusual and detailed movement in the asylum. One girl looked like she was straight out of ‘Silent Hill.’  

    Other highlights are the room full of menacing faceless nurse mannequins, a ‘shockingly’ dark hallway, and the hayride’s horrifying porcine slaughter scene.

    What Could Be Better

    We wish that Field of Screams would apply the same exquisite attention to detail that is so apparent in their sets and special effects to all of their actors. Detailed characterizations and compelling acting would give the haunt an eerie element of realism.

    That said, some rooms can be scarier without any actors at all. Dolls make me really uncomfortable. The doll room would be so much scarier if it were just lots of dolls. I found the girl dressed in the doll costume oddly comforting because she was a person and not a doll. Fear isn’t rational. If you want to scare people that have a fear of dolls, all you need is dolls. Underscore the scene with a creepy music box melody and then have one doll move.  

    Final Thoughts

    Field of Screams delivers a perfect evening of entertainment that will drag you into its  dark underworld of horror and then spit you out to console yourself with a funnel cake.

    Field of Screams Runs

    September 22nd – November 4th

    Ticket Information

    • Scream Pass (All 3 Attractions):   $28
    • Combo Pass (Any 2 Attractions): $25
    • Haunted Hayride Only:  $15
    • Den of Darkness Only:  $13
    • Frightmare Asylum Only:  $13
    • VIP Upgrade (Skip to the front of the line): Add $10 – $20

    Discount Tickets

    • 13Haunts Coupon: $8 Off VIP Scream Pass/ $5 Off Regular Scream Pass – Click Here!
    • Join the Field of Screams Mailing List for Additional Coupons and Discounts.

    Age Requirements

    Not recommended for children under 10 years old.  (They have a non scary daytime event for children and adults who are young at heart at Corn Cob Acres.)


    Additional Information

    Frightmare Asylum

    Frightmare Asylum

    Frightmare Asylum

    Frightmare Asylum

    Frightmare Asylum

    Frightmare Asylum

    Den of Darkness

    Den of Darkness

    Haunted Hayride

    Haunted Hayride

    Haunted Hayride

    Haunted Hayride


    Last weekend we visited Then She Fell,  Nightmare New England,  Field of Screams,  Jason’s Woods,  and The Bates Motel.

    This weekend is going to be pretty intense. We experienced Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House last night and tonight we are headed uptown to Bronx Haunted Warehouse.

    Saturday night, we will make the journey out to Long Island. The first stop is HV Asylum in Coram, NY.  Then it’s on to Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse of Horrors in Bellport, NY. As if that isn’t amazing enough, we will also be given a private ghost tour of the 100 year old property and then get to spend the night in the gorgeously creepy Edwardian mansion.  

    On our way home, we will be paying a visit to Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors in Sayville, NY.

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to Live Chat and Receive Photo Updates about this weekend’s itinerary.

    The Gateway c. 1880 - from Bellport Village and Brookhaven Hamlet  by Victor Principe 

    The Gateway c. 1880 – from Bellport Village and Brookhaven Hamlet  by Victor Principe 

    The Gateway - Present Day

    The Gateway – Present Day


    Then She Fell
    2 Kingsland Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY


    Then She Fell is an extended version of last year’s Steampunk Haunted House, Through The Looking Glass.  

    Our Visit

    Last Friday, I traveled to what was once the outpatient wing of Greenpoint Hospital in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a sneak-preview of Third Rail Projects’ Then She Fell presented by Arts@Renaissance. Entering through a small courtyard garden, I found myself in a room with 14 other people. Separated in small groups and sometimes completely alone, we were led through a labyrinth of detailed rooms. Sterile medical facilities provide stark contrast to the pockets of whimsical madness that wait just around the corner. You discover you are a guest at a spectacular portrayal of the mad tea party alongside the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, White Queen, and Red Queen.  A moment later, you are observing the Red Queen in a medical setting. The movement-based storytelling that was so magical a moment before, now seems like a compulsive outburst of the mentally deranged.

    This trip to Wonderland explores the dark psychological elements of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale in an immersive non-linear multi-sensory theatrical adventure. 


    Is It Scary?

    Then She Fell is a haunting whimsical journey through the lore of Alice.  Sheer perfection for those looking for an elegant blood-free way to celebrate Halloween. 

    Here’s A Tip

    Take the opportunity to talk with other audience members after the performance. Everyone has a different experience and not everyone visits the same rooms.  

    What We Loved

    The Mad Tea Party and the Mad Hatter herself are both stand outs in this intricate and detailed masterpiece. Other highlights are an eerie bedtime story told by the White Queen, exploring the detailed sets, and sampling the fine elixirs and tasty morsels that rounded out this complete sensory experience. 

    What Could Be Better

    I found myself wanting the characters to be a bit more forceful with their instruction. I was sometimes unsure of what they wanted me to do and would have loved the use of verbal direction with a playful or funny tone rather than relying so heavily on delicate gestures. 

    Final Thoughts

    Then She Fell is a truly unique Wonderland experience that will have Steampunk Haunted House fans swooning.  

    Then She Fell Runs

    October 3rd – November 18th 

    Ticket Information

    $65 – $85

    *  All Performances are currently sold out. Join their Mailing List to be notified if additional tickets become available.

    Age Requirements

    No one under 18 will be admitted. 

    Additional Information

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    Photographer: Adam Jason Photography

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ0FKKfxygM?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]


    Blood Manor
    163 Varick Street
    New York, NY

    Blood Manor is dishing out a hot serving of gore-filled mayhem this October. The Varick Street haunt opens its doors this Friday, but we caught a sneak-peak at their Media Preview event last Wednesday.

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Official Website: “Yes. BLOOD MANOR is designed to be intense, creepy, and “scream inducing.”

    The Raven & Black Cat says: Fear is subjective, but if you’re looking for a gory walk-through style haunted house full of murderous monsters and 3-D effects then Blood Manor will seem like a home away from home

    What We Loved

    Blood Manor gets high marks for its fun startle scares and gruesome sets. Marion Le Coguic is a stand out as an artfully real member of the undead. Other highlights are the black sensory deprivation maze, the crazed nursery-rhyme singing surgeon, and the loud surprise ending. It’s a grotesquely blood-drenched tribute to your favorite B-movie slasher films. 

    What Could Be Better

    We would love to see the order of the rooms change completely, so that returning victims don’t know what’s ahead. If the layout must remain the same from year-to-year, then finding more extreme ways to startle or disorient will make the experience feel completely new. In addition, a stronger focus on character development would really take things to the next level. I can only imagine what the experience would be like if everyone inside was as scary as Marion Le Coguic‘s undead monster.


    The Media Preview Bacardi-sponsored cocktail reception was hosted at W.i.P, where an enthusiastic actor escorted guests around the corner to Blood Manor. His performance and costume were so convincing that someone on the street called the police and reported a monster running down Varick Street with an axe! When we left the bar the poor actor was surrounded by police officers.

    Final Thoughts

    A visit to Blood Manor guarantees that you’ll get your annual dose of blood, guts and gore this Halloween season.

    Blood Manor Runs

    October 5  –  November 3

    Ticket Information

    • General Admission (Online): $28.50
    • General Admission (At the door): $35.00
    • RIP Express Entry (Online): $43.50 (Oct. 5- 14)
    • RIP Express Entry (Online): $48.50 (Oct. 18 -Nov 3) 
    • RIP Express Entry (At the door): $50.00

    Discount Tickets

    • 50% Off General Admisison & RIP Tickets – Click Here

    Age Requirements

    Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

    Additional Information

    The very creepy Marion Le Coguic. - Blood Manor Media Preview

    The very creepy Marion Le Coguic. – Blood Manor Media Preview

    The Monster on Varick Street with an Axe. - Blood Manor Media Preview

    The Monster on Varick Street with an Axe. – Blood Manor Media Preview

    Blood Manor Media Preview

    Blood Manor Media Preview

    Blood Manor Media Preview

    Blood Manor Media Preview

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5gNxmSWoK8?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]


    The Ghoulog at Cranmore Mountain is a haunted attraction located at a ski resort in North Conway, NH. ‘S’ will be there to experience it on Friday, October 12th and we are thrilled to announce that The Ghoullog will be awarding 4 General Admission Tickets  to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat. The tickets are valid any Friday night in October.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on  October 7, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJQRfynXAQk?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]


    Pennhurst Asylum
    Church Street & Bridge Road
    Spring City, PA


    Nestled in the woods beside Spring City, Pennsylvania lies the remains of the Pennhurst State School and Hospital (originally known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic.) The massive compound for the mentally and physically disabled was built in 1908. It was completely self-sufficient with its own power supply, dairy, green houses, fire department, movie theatre, and underground tunnel system. At the turn of the last century, it was thought best to segregate disabled individuals from the rest of society, but a 1968 exposé uncovered that over-crowding and under-funding had led to conditions that were unsanitary, inhumane, and dangerous. Ultimately, the Supreme Court found institutionalisation to be unconstitutional (Halderman vs Pennhurst State School) and Pennhurst was abandoned in 1987.

    The buildings and everything within them were left to rot for the next 23 years. Pennhurst became popular with trespassers (particularly those with an interest in “urban” exploring and vandalism) until it was reopened as the haunted attraction Pennhurst Asylum in 2010 by hauntsmith Randy Bates (The Bates Motel.)

    Our Visit

    We arrived in Spring City, PA late on Saturday night. The Victorian architecture of the town is lovely, but under the mask of darkness it takes on a very different aesthetic. 

    We arrived at the address listed on the Pennhurst Asylum website and were directed to park in a field. Reaching Pennhurst requires a 10 min walk through the woods. Go ahead and read that last sentence again and really let it sink in.

    The buildings rise out of the woods and you are instantly transported to the early 1900s. Pennhurst Asylum  is straight out of your worst nightmare. The haunt is made up of 4 separate attractions: ‘Pennhurst Asylum’ in the old Administration Building, ‘The Dungeon of Lost Souls’ explores the basement of the Administration building, ‘Ghost Hunt’ is a self-guided flashlight tour through two floors of the abandoned untouched remains of the Mayflower Dormitory, and ‘The Tunnel Terror’ a walk-through haunt located in a 900-foot section of Pennhurst’s underground tunnel system. There is  a centrally located ‘picnic’ area with food and refreshments if you need to take a break.  

    Is It Scary?

    According to their Facebook Page: It was “Voted the Scariest Real Haunt in America for 2012!”

    The Raven & Black Cat says:  We agree! Fear is subjective, but the remains of the Pennhurst State School would be terrifying on its own. Pennhurst Asylum is a top-notch haunted attraction that can be placed in two very exclusive categories:  A Real Haunted Location & The Actors Can Touch You. 

    Here’s A Tip

    Visit Pennhurst on a Thursday or Sunday, or spring for the VIP Pass to cut the lines. Without timed admission, you could be looking at some outrageously long lines. 

    What We Loved

    Wow. There is a LOT to love here. The attraction entitled ‘Pennhurst Asylum’ is housed in the old Administration Building. You walk through the actual rooms of the historic building and greet deliriously dark staff and human experiments of the mad Dr. Chakajian. (A fictional legend, in which a mad Austrian Doctor houses his human experiments in abandoned Pennhurst buildings, was created in order to be sensitive to the history of Pennhurst.)  Many of the rooms contain equipment and artifacts that were abandoned in the buildings in 1986.  Animatronics and clever special effects are employed to  distract you while actors grab at your ankles. The element of soft touching is very effective. It is quite unsettling to have your personal space invaded in a traditional walk-through style haunt. One girl even tried to stick her fingers in my ears!

    The ‘Ghost Hunt’ Attraction is what we wanted to do from the moment we set foot on the Pennhurst campus. The Mayflower Building was featured on ‘Ghost Hunters‘ and ‘Ghost Adventures‘ and was found to be a hot spot for paranormal activity. It is outrageously creepy. The walls are covered in graffiti from the vandalism years. The odd messages commingle with remnants of dormitory life in a state institution like an abandoned metal walker still labeled with a patient’s name and ward number. The energy of the building is heavy with human suffering and I honestly believe I would be in tears if I had to sit in there for an hour by myself. It is that scary.  

    What Could Be Better

    ‘The Tunnel Terror’ is another fabulously inventive attraction with gorgeous elaborate sets. The lagoon section, in particular, is amazing, but I couldn’t help but wish that I could see the walls of the historic underground tunnel system. Perhaps by accident, we caught a glimpse of the original tunnel through an open door that was propped open by a chair. The tunnel is something I could not dream up. It is real life horror complete with secret passageways. A fifth attraction walking through a portion of the original tunnel would be an incredibly scary experience.

    The attractions of Pennhurst Asylum are so detailed and effective that we were surprised that they didn’t capitalize on the opportunity for a large and definitive ending for any of them. Instead of building towards a memorable last scene, all of the attractions end very abruptly. Creating a unique and memorable way to exit each attraction would be the perfect finishing touch to what is otherwise a flawless, fun, and frightening experience. 

    Final Thoughts

    Pennhurst Asylum is a must-see. It is a chilling and effective haunted attraction masterfully combined with the horror of human history.  

    Pennhurst Asylum Runs

    September 21st – November 4th

    Ticket Information

    • Pennhurst Asylum: $15.00  
    • Dungeon of Lost Souls: $15.00
    • Ghost Hunt: $15.00
    • Tunnel of Terror: $15.00
    • Combo Pass (All 4 Events): $40.00  
    • VIP (very important patient) PASS: $75.00


    •  $5 OFF All Tickets (Promo Code: ghost ) – CLICK HERE!
    • 13Haunts Coupon: $5 Off Combo Ticket (Thurs. + Sun.)  – CLICK HERE! 

    Age Requirements

    No age requirements are specified.

    Additional Information

    Then (1922)

    Then (1922)

    Now (Google Maps)

    Now (Google Maps)

    Pennhurst Haunted House


    Terror Behind The Walls
    22nd & Fairmount Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA

    Terror Behind The Walls is a walk-through haunted attraction located within the Historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA. Built in 1829, this massive stabilized-ruin is still one of the top 5 creepiest places I’ve ever been.

    ‘S’ and I arrived around 3pm for a daytime audio tour of the penitentiary (Photos) and a behind -the-scenes tour with Creative Designer Jason Ohlsen. ( Behind-The-Scenes Feature: Coming Soon! )  

    A major addition for 2012 is, Detritus, a 7th attraction that adds an extra 5-7 min to the Terror Behind The Walls experience.  Detritus is located behind the Greenhouse, and provides an opportunity to explore a section of the penitentiary that was previously closed to the public.  

    Is it Scary?

    According to their Official Website: “You bet it’s scary. We do our absolute best to terrify you and your friends. Just imagine being inside an 11-acre abandoned prison at night.”

    The Raven & Black Cat says:  Fear is subjective, but Terror Behind The Walls is a family-friendly event that is heavy on startle scares and probably won’t cause any lasting psychological damage. I can’t say the same for Eastern State Penitentiary. 

    Here’s A Tip

    Get tickets for the daytime tour, too. The daytime tours of Eastern State Penitentiary are very scary in a completely different way. Walking through the stabilized-ruin in broad daylight is overwhelming. Without the haunted attraction to capture your attention you are forced to focus on the true horror of what happened there . A heavy ominous feeling permeates the air. As audio tour narrator Steve Buscemi  put it, “if ghosts exist anywhere, they must be here.”

    What We Loved

    The costumes, make-up, and character development integrate seamlessly to create each of the detailed creepy characters lurking inside the prison. ‘Lock Down,’ the harrowing journey down cell block 12 and ‘The Infirmary,’ with its rusted deteriorating medical equipment (and decomposing staff) are chilling stand-outs two years in a row. The electrifying ‘grand finale’ of Terror Behind The Walls utilizes flawless misdirection and provides the perfect ending to a night at the penitentiary. 

    What Could Be Better

    Terror Behind The Walls has perfected the art of the thrilling family-friendly haunted attraction. In a manner similar to their family nights, which are targeted to younger children, we would love to see what would happen if they added a few special late-night events to make the experience even scarier. 10 minutes alone in solitary confinement, perhaps?

    Final Thoughts

    Terror Behind The Walls has mastered the startle scare and uses it to create a truly family friendly event that is the perfect combination of creepy and fun. Last year, I called it the Disney Land of Haunted Attractions. I stand by that statement.  

    Terror Behind The Walls Runs

    September 21st  – November 10th

    Ticket Information

    Ticket prices vary by night.

    • General Admission: $20 – $37.50  
    • General Admission w/ Quick Pass: $25 – $52.50
    • After Dark VIP Tour: $49.50 – $99.00
    • Alone Package: $499.50 –  $999.00

    Discount Ticket Offers

    • Student Sundays: Students w/ valid ID half price after 9pm
    • $5 Off (Use Code: 13Haunts

    Age Requirements

    Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent of guardian. No children under the age of 7 are permitted on site. Ages 7 – 12 are encouraged to visit on Family Nights, held each Sunday until 9 pm.

    Additional Information

    Photographer: Tom Bernard

    Photographer: Tom Bernard

    Photographer:  Jeff Fusco

    Photographer:  Jeff Fusco

    Photographer: Douglas Alan Bailey

    Photographer: Douglas Alan Bailey

    Photographer: Jeff Fusco

    Photographer: Jeff Fusco

    A glimpse inside from The Raven & Black Cat

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie2UJBqcJvM?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]


    Tickets for the infamous Blackout Haunted House went on sale today at 6am for NYC & LA!

    Blackout Haunted House Runs

    September 27 – November 4  in New York City   |  October 26 – November 4  in Los Angeles

    Get ready, Los Angeles. You have no idea what you’re in for…

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHF01wJRg-Y?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]

    Get your tickets at:  BlackoutHH.com

    Additional Information


    Our 2012 Haunted House Tour Begins Tomorrow!!



    Our First Stop is Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA. We Begin with a Daytime Tour of the Historic Prison and Return at Sunset for Terror Behind The Walls.  

    Then we’re off to Spring City, PA for Pennherst Asylum, which is housed in the remains of the abandoned Pennherst State School and Hospital. It’s going to be a historically creepy day. 

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to Live Chat and Receive Photo Updates about these two Amazingly Disturbing Historic Locations.


    Serpenthes creates gorgeous artwork which is transformed into stationary, note cards, art prints, and other fabulous paper goods.  We are beyond thrilled that they will be awarding a Custom Gift Set to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

    The Gift Set Will Include:

    • 1 – ‘Skull + Crossbones’ Card Set  
    • 1 – ‘Morning Poison’ Card Set
    • 1 – ‘Ronald + Regina’ 8.5″ x 11″ Art Print

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on September 30, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Serpenthes is located in Los Angeles, CA. They specialize in creating “fabulous and odd things for your eyeballs to fall in love with” and we are swooning!  Check out some of our favorites below and stop by their Etsy Shop to see their entire collection.


    The Haunted House Season is fast approaching. We’ll be kicking things into high gear. There are a lot of exciting things just around the corner!


    I am dying to pay a visit to Obscura, the Antiques & Oddities Shop featured in the reality series “Oddities” on the discovery science channel. Located on Avenue A in Manhattan, this spooky shop is filled with unique pieces ranging from macabre to bizarre. Recently aired episodes have included the sale of rare medical antiques, skulls, taxidermy, and the custom articulation of two cat skeletons. The shop owned by Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson, is always looking for new and interesting items to stock their shelves, so you never know what amazing piece of history is about to walk through the door. We’re looking forward to stopping by the shop sometime next week.

    Obscura Antiques & Oddities  –  207 Avenue A,  New York, NY

    Official Website  –  Oddities on Discovery Science


    Miss Fiendish Apparel created this gorgeous fine silver zombie necklace for one very lucky reader of the Raven & Black Cat. We love her dark take on fine jewelry! 

    The winner will receive a Fine Silver Zombie Necklace from Miss Fiendish Apparel.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on September 15, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Miss Fiendish Apparel is located in Derbyshire, United Kingdom. An avid horror fan, she seeks to create designs that reflect the darker sides of human nature. We absolutely love her unique style. Check out her entire line by visiting the Miss Fiendish Apparel Etsy Shop


    Loki Ryeland created this Creepy Art Print Set for one very lucky reader of the Raven & Black Cat. We love his unusual New Orleans-esque take on all things dark and creepy. Gorgeous art that also give you goosebumps!  

    The Creepy Art Print Set Will Include:

    1 – ‘Bloodletter’ 12×12 Art Print

    1 – ‘Guilty’ 12×12 Art Print

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on August 31, 2012.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Loki Ryeland is located in Brandon, Florida where he creates original dark art with a horrific macabre twist. Check out his entire collection at the Paintings By Loki Etsy Shop. We love the ‘Solitary Tree’ and ‘Reaching’ Prints. See more of our favorites below! 

    There are so many reasons to love Etsy. Here are 16 more…

    A Dark Victorian Steampunk Circus Collection Inspired by ‘The Lost Circus’

    Presented by Gemini & Scorpio on Saturday, August 11, 2012.


    ‘The Lost Circus’ by RavenBlackCat

    A Victorian Steampunk Circus Inspired by Gemini & Scorpio’s The Lost Circus. Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Circus Acts on Stage Di…


    Wheels, cogs, circles, …


    24″ Arrow Vintage …


    Antique fine cromolitho…


    Circus Tent – Black and…


    valentine’s day ALI…


    Ready Made Belt and Hea…


    Miniature Circus Perfor…


    vivid 1940’s carniv…


    Steampunk Circus Choker




    Snitz Takes a Smile – 1…


    ART Deco Era Strange We…


    Victorian Circus earrin…


    Vintage Stein’s Clo…


    The Gloved Raven Cape b…


    Treasury tool supported by the dog house


    Sillycut created this unique SKULLpture Gift Set for one very lucky reader of the Raven & Black Cat. Entitled ‘Memento Mori,’ this wearable art is a reminder of your mortality meant to inspire you to live each day as if it’s your last. These handmade one-of-a-kind pieces of dark art are both beautiful and inspiring.  

    The SKULLpture Gift Set Will Include:

    1 – SKULLpture Brooch

    1 – SKULLpture Ornament

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on August 15, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     Sillycut is located in Germany. Each of their ‘handmade goodies is spiced with darkness.’ With the slogan “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend,” they strive to share their unque macabre art with a sense of mystery. Check out their entire collection at the Sillycut Etsy Shop. We love the Pinhead Brooch and Skeleton Key Ornament. More of our favorites below for your viewing pleasure.


    Today Living Social is featuring a Twilight Tour of Brooklyn’s Historic Green-Wood Cemetery followed by a Cocktail Reception (and beer from Brooklyn Brewery) and Music in the Cemetery for $25. There are only 15 Hours left to take advantage of this special tour, which is schedule for two nights only: Thursday, July 26th and  Saturday, July 28th from 8-10:30pm.

    “There are few places more atmospheric than a cemetery at dusk – and Green-Wood is top notch when it comes to beauty and atmosphere. Normally in operation only during daylight hours, this special event will lead you on a twilight tour of the expansive grounds. As the sun sets on 478 spectacular acres, you’ll weave through stunning landscapes and visit the graves of prominent figures in New York and American culture.

    After the walking tour, enjoy drinks, light refreshments and live accordion music in the cemetery. Our catacombs and several mausolea will be open, so you can wander around by torchlight and visit the opulent indoor resting places of Green-Wood as you sip your drink.” from the Official Green-Wood Cemetery Website

    Click Here to Buy Tickets


    More Info


    Gemini & Scorpio Present The Lost Circus on Saturday, August 11th

    Circus Meets Dark Cabaret With A Steampunk Twist

    Gemini & Scorpio are responsible for some of the most theatrically epic events in NYC. Their Lost Circus takes New York for the 3rd time on August 11th. Get your costume ready…



    Saturday night at 10pm the Science Channel kicked off the second season of Dark Matters: Twisted But True. This creepy series explores strange science and history’s most bizarre experiments. We are completely addicted… Tune in Saturdays at 10pm on SCI.

    There are so many reasons to love Etsy. Here are 16 more…

    A Dark Victorian Wonderland Collection Inspired by ‘Then She Fell’.

     THEN SHE FELL: Steampunk Haunted House’s Alice themed Immersive Theater Experience.

    Opening October 2012.


     ‘Then She Fell’ by RavenBlackCat

    A Dark Victorian Wonderland Collection inspired by ‘Then She Fell.’ THEN SHE FELL: Steampunk Haunted House’s Alice themed Immersive Theater Experience. Opening October 2012. http://thenshefell.com/

    Christmas in July Down …


    Rabbit on the Bridge 4x…


    White Rabbit – Handmade…


    Alice in Wonderland Vin…


    Six Impossible Things B…


    Alice in Wonderland Coa…


    There’s a place cal…


    Alice in Wonderland Poc…


    Alice in Wonderland Ste…


    Dark Forest Photograph …


    Abandoned Greenhouse – …


    Glass Vial and Skeleton…


    Books of spells 8×8 art…


    Ornate Steel Door Knob


    The Witch’s Altar 8…


    Black and White Clocks …


    Treasury tool supported by the dog house

                                       via Nicci C.

    We had a great time celebrating Friday the 13th at Sparrow Tavern in Astoria! We ate camp-inspired food and sipped camp-themed cocktails while the Friday the 13th Films were projected onto a creepy torn screen. It was a fabulously fun and creepy evening. I’ve been told that they hope to make this an annual event and I really hope that they do. There are two Friday the 13ths in 2013! We’re looking forward to September and December of 2013! 

    via Jena E.


    We are so thrilled that DemBones is sponsoring another giveaway! You may remember their fabulous Skull Sugar Cubes from February. This time around they will be awarding a fabulous ‘Skull Gift Set’ to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat! 

    The Skull Gift Set Will Include:

    1 – ‘Skull-On-A-Rope’ Soap

    1 – Box of Skull Sugar Cubes

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on July 31, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    DemBones is a  California Artisan dedicated to crafting molded sugar, soap, and ceramics that celebrate Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Check out some of her other fabulous items below. We adore her Skull Sugar Cubes, Skull Soaps, and Apothecary Jars (full of Skull Sugar Cubes)! Keep an eye on her Etsy Shop. She is expanding her soap collection to include black and red pirate and vampire skulls!


    There are TWO Friday the 13th Events happening in Astoria. Is nothing happening in Manhattan?! If you know of any other events, please let us know!

    The Sparrow Tavern
    24-01 29th Street
    Astoria, New York 11105

    Come in your best Campy Slasher Flick Inspired Outfit. Friday the 13th & Sleepaway Camp will be projecting starting at 10pm while Nick Da Smoother DJs this epic camp dance. 

    Camp inspired special menu (including smores creme brulee!!) served til 1am
    Camp inspired drinks all night!!

    Board the bus to Camp Sparrow Tavern this Friday night…they’ll be waiting for you…

    Raven’s Head Public House
    38-04 Broadway
    Astoria, New York 11103

    Start the night off with a special screening of the original Friday the 13th movie at 7:00 PM and then take in a horror themed burlesque performance by the ladies of D20 Burlesque at 10:00 PM. Patrick Walsh of horror podcast ‘Scream Queenz’ will MC.

    “This is one Dark event you do not want to miss. Guaranteed to be a bloody good time.”

    Buy tickets for Friday The 13th on the Dark Side ($10 in Advance) Get Them Here:

    Any remaining tickets are $15 at the door. 

    Doors Open at 6:00 PM.


     Pottery Barn Unveils their 2012 Halloween Decor!

     It’s that time of year again! Time to start your halloween decor preparations. Pottery Barn always has a wonderful variety of creepy vintage inspired selections for decorating and entertaining. Check out our favorites below! Act Fast! Pottery Barn is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on all Halloween Items!

    Crackle Web Pillar Candles: $19.50 -$29.50

     Spider Inkblot Table Runner $49.00

    Skull On Book Candle: $29.50

    Skull Vase: $109.00

    Black House Lantern: $169.00

     Perpetua Tray: $99.00

     Faux Orange Pumpkins, Set of 2: $29.00

     Pumpkin Luminaries: $89.00 – $149.00

    Curiosity Appetizer Plates, Set of 4: $35.00


     Leg Avenue‘s 2012 Costume Collection features Harlequin Clowns, Burlesque, and Sexy Monsters! Have you decided what will you be for Halloween this year?


    Alternate History has created a one-of-a-kind necklace inspired by The Raven & Black Cat. The gorgeous necklace features onyx beads and the image of a cat skull framed by the skulls of two ravens. We are honored and thrilled that they will be giving away this beautiful custom piece to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

     The Winner will receive a One-Of-A-Kind Raven & Black Cat Necklace from Alternate History.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on July 15, 2012.  

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Alternate History is located in Portland, Oregon. All of their unique Victorian-inspired pieces are handmade with care for those who appreciate the strange and unusual. Check out a few of our favorites from their Gothic and Steampunk Collections below. We love the Lady Death Cameo Earrings and Steampunk Skeleton Key Necklace. Pay a visit to the Alternate History Etsy Shop to see their entire jewelry line. 


    Twisted Oak Press creates original works of art that delve into a world of macabre fantasy. We are thrilled that they will be awarding 3 of their creepiest art prints to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat!

    The Collection Will Include:

    1 – ‘Swathed in Sorrow’ 8×10 Art Print

    1 – ‘Fireflies On The Road’ 8×10 Art Print

    1 – ‘Cyclopean Peaks’ 8×10 Art Print

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on June 30, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Twisted Oak Press is located in Washington, D.C. Their work covers a vast range of genres and styles. Get a closer look at the three creepy art prints below and check out the Twisted Oak Press Etsy Shop to admire the full scope of their talents.


    I am really looking forward to seeing Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, the movie adaptation of the book by Seth Graham-Smith opening in theatres on June 22nd. I developed a bit of a crush on Benjamin Walker after seeing him on broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and while he won’t be belting out showtunes (in tight pants) as Abraham Lincoln, Tim Burton produced vampire slaying is the next best thing. Here’s hoping the opening ‘origin story’ section is lengthy. Benjamin Walker isn’t quite as sexy once he’s hidden beneath a pound of Abraham Lincoln make-up.

    Benjamin Walker in ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’

    Benjamin Walker in ‘Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter’


    Blackout Haunted House Off-Season Event (2012)
    Secret Location
    New York, NY

    Manhattan’s Blackout Haunted House is infamous for its unconventional scare tactics. It has reached cult status among its fans and given birth to crazy urban legend hoax theories. Their exclusive off-season events are always the most extreme.

    This will be my second off-season event and I’m feeling anxious, but focusing all of my energy on arriving exactly on time. Tardiness is not tolerated.

    I’m dressed in old clothes that I don’t care about. A lesson I learned last year the hard way.

    I arrive at the secret location exactly on time and a peaceful feeling comes over me as I relinquish control to Blackout Haunted House. I am in their hands now.

    I have no idea that in 40 minutes I’ll be lying naked on a hotel floor wrapped in industrial plastic.

    A man wearing a Blackout Elipsis t-shirt walks over to me. I am instructed to read and sign a waiver. I must read the last paragraph out loud for a video waiver.

    I am instructed to walk down the street. I walk cautiously, afraid I will miss something, when Blackout co-creator Josh Randall appears at my side and in his intense way gives instructions and hands me a cell phone and an envelope. I follow the instructions and when I reach the specified intersection the phone rings. I answer. I open the envelope as instructed. Inside are directions and a key card. The voice tells me to look to my left. Then I see my destination. It’s a hotel.

    I focus on following the directions printed on the small sheet of paper I found in the envelope. Enter the hotel. Take the right elevator. Find the right room. I take a deep breath and enter the warm balmy room the hotel AC is working tirelessly to counteract.

    I follow instructions. Take my shoes off and place them by the bed. The “gift” I can accept or refuse sits on the desk in front of the bed. It is a shot of whiskey. I figure I can use all the help I can get and toss it back quickly before I follow the final instructions. “Get into bed, turn off the light, and go to sleep.”

    I try to relax. I listen to the hum of the AC. Then I realize I can hear movement coming from the far side of the room. It continues and I can feel it growing nearer.

    I am surprised when I suddenly feel weight on the bed in two different places. The weight moves until I am sandwiched between two bodies audibly breathing at the same pace. The warmth and deep breathing feels sensual at first but quickly grows hostile and claustrophobic as the breathing gets increasingly faster and closer until there is simultaneous hyperventilating on each side of my face. The breathers quickly rush in closer to my face and then out. The breather on my right accidentally clocks me in the head.

    Disoriented, I am lifted up and held in a seated position. Then a pillow presses over my face.

    I inhale deeply as the pillow moves from my face. Arms pull me from the bed and I am standing on the floor moving toward the other side of the room. A bag goes over my head and my hands are bound. I am led into what I assume is a corner of the bathroom and a voice tells me not to move.

    I stand perfectly still for a few moments and then I hear a sickly voice. “Take off the hood.”

    I remove the hood and turn. “Pull back the curtain,” the voice says. I follow the instructions and pull back the shower curtain revealing a dirty and naked young woman lying in the tub. She mumbles additional instructions to give her a pill (Tic Tac) from a pill bottle and a swig of water. The (Tic Tac) pill brings her back to life. She climbs out of the tub and corners me. Then she begins removing all of my clothes.

    I’m standing naked in the bathroom with the dirty naked girl and notice the infrared camera on the ceiling.

    Great… Video footage of me naked.

    I’m starting to feel really creeped out and then the naked girl starts touching herself and it’s ruined.

    Watching another girl masturbate isn’t scary. It just makes the bathroom smell like vagina.

    I’m feeling underwhelmed by the bathroom/naked girl section when the bathroom door opens and I am led back into the bedroom. I am completely naked except for a pair of night vision goggles that have been placed on my head.

    Still completely naked, I am ordered to sit in the hotel desk chair (and the germaphobe in me dies a little thinking of all the germs.) They mention something about a phone, but nothing happens and I can’t find it. (I learned that other victims received a phone call and had to write their home address on a piece of paper.)

    I am pulled up from the chair and the night vision goggles are removed. My captor demands that I lie face down on the ‘X’ on a sheet of plastic that now covers the floor beside the bed.

    Instantly visions of Showtime’s Dexter and a million horror movie scenarios run through my head. My brain calculates: Naked Body + Industrial Plastic = Dead.

    I follow instructions and lay down on the sheet of plastic. Then I’m being rolled in the plastic like a big naked burrito. I have plastic over my head and I can’t breathe. My head is lifted up and I am instructed to open my mouth and two fingers press through the plastic allowing me to breathe. Then there is a face very close to mine and it says in a hurried and intense way, “It’s Never Over! You have exactly 60 seconds to get dressed and get the f*ck out of here.”

    I am released from the plastic and frantically grab my clothes, which are laid out on the bed. I dress as quickly as my arms will allow and stumble out the door clutching my socks in my hand. Then I make my way back onto the warm NYC street and try to wrap my head around what just happened.

    Final Thoughts

    I have really mixed feelings about this event. I really liked the interactive opening, but I could have done without the entire naked girl/bathroom section. I understand how that could be effective for male participants who are afraid of becoming aroused in front of a camera, but from a female perspective it was a bit boring. “Scary Vaginas” seem to be a recurring theme for Blackout and it’s one that I would like to see them retire.

    My favorite moments were lying on the bed in the dark and trying to determine whether there was someone else in the room (or if it was just my imagination) and then the claustrophobic dispay that answered the question. 

    I am not a fan of being completely nude during my haunted house experiences, but I have to admit that there is something quite chilling about being naked and wrapped in plastic. Blackout Haunted House delivers another shocking 45 minutes that would make my mother cry. 

    Additional Information


    Behold the dark genius of Miyu Decay. They are crafting some of the most exquisitely creepy jewelry (and accessories) on the planet. We’re ecstatic that they will be awarding a pair of Noir Filligree Spike Earrings to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

    The winner will receive gorgeous Noir Spike Earrings from Miyu Decay.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on June 15, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Miyu Decay is located in Camarillo and Los Angeles, CA. Their work  ‘amalgamates macabre fineries with varying accoutrements of the Old World.’ Check out some of our favorites below and visit the Miyu Decay Etsy Shop to see their entire collection. It is wearable art that is beyond swoonworthy.


     This weekend I will visit Blackout Haunted House for the 4th time. I can’t reveal anything about the event. There are strict instructions to remain silent. All I can say is that I feel really nervous. The anxiety is overwhelming and fear creeps through me. I am not someone who is easily scared, but there’s no knowing what will happen after the lights go out . . .

    Walk-through the first three haunts with me below. It may be a long time before I can share what I am about to experience this weekend. Let’s hope I survive . . . 

    Blackout Haunted House
    Spring/Summer 2012
    Location Unknown 

    Official Website
    Facebook Page



    More Than Porcelain creates unique tableware by upcycling fabulous vintage finds. We’re thrilled that they will be awarding an Edgar Allan Poe Plate to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.

    The winner will receive a gorgeous Edgar Allan Poe Plate from More Than Porcelain.

    The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on May 31, 2012.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    More Than Porcelain is located in Athens, Greece. Each upcycled vintage piece is made using an orginal iron decal. After the decal is applied the piee is refired in a professional ceramic kiln. Visit the More Than Porcelain Etsy Shop to see their entire collection. Below are some of our favorites! We love the Edgar Allan Poe Teacup and Alice in Wonderland Teacup


    Last night I bought my ticket for the Blackout Haunted House invite-only off-season event. It almost doesn’t seem real after all the drama and months of waiting that were involved last year, but I am both excited and mildly terrified. 

     If you didn’t receive an email this time around don’t despair! A second weekend of madness is scheduled for the first weekend in June.

    Below is an excerpt from the ticketing email:

    “Your place has been reserved. Although more regular off-season events will begin to take place starting the first weekend of June, this is the only time this year that we will be offering this specific event.  We suppose you should consider yourselves lucky, but who ar