Ready to get your spook on? Halloween isn’t just about dressing up and scoring lots of free candy. Across North Texas, this week is prime time to take tours of dirty, dark haunted houses, filled with cobwebs, ghosts, mysterious noises, bloodcurdling screams and kooky creatures -- if you dare.
After all, you might not get out alive. And if you do, the hair-raising experience could haunt your dreams for years to come.
But how did these mansions get to be so terrifying? In North Texas, many haunted houses have developed elaborate, creative "stories" -- or are they nightmares?
Oh, don’t be scared. Take this spine-chilling tour of some of the spookier haunted houses in Dallas-Fort Worth and across North Texas -- learn how they got to be so horrifying:
1. Hangman’s House Of Horrors (Fort Worth)
Here’s the alleged back story on Hangman’s House in Fort Worth: “In 1882, a lynch mob put an end to the murderous rampage of Hezekiah Jones, known simply as the Hangman. He would stalk his victims along the Trinity River and hang them. But then he was killed by his own rope. But the next morning, all that was found was a broken rope dangling from the limb of a rotting oak tree. The Hangman won’t die until the souls of all of his victims are gone. Every year he takes a soul from his rope to continue his horrible existence.” The Fort Worth house has entertained more than half a million folks and donated almost $2 million to local charities. But even the Hangman has experienced too many horrors – or maybe Hangman finally wants to go trick-or-treating – because after 25 years, this haunted house is closing its doors on Saturday – forever.
2. Tayman Graveyard Haunted Theme Park (Midlothian)
The folks at Tayman Graveyard Haunted Theme Park in Midlothian offer a stern warning: “Some things should stay buried.” You’ll venture into a mineshaft, which collapsed and killed many residents. “Be warned however, that you aren't alone, and there's nowhere to run,” Tayman says. Then there’s Gravedigger's Hollow, the old pauper cemetery, which is in the woods behind the old funeral home. “The final resting place of many unfortunate souls, the hollow is filled with soil that reeks of death and decay. Rumors abound that the hollow was the prime shopping grounds of the funeral director who looked there to find the "meat" for his experiments in reanimating dead flesh.”
3. Dark Hour Haunted House (Plano)
Dark Hour Haunted House is new this year -- a 30,000 square-foot haunted house in Plano. “Find yourself trapped between an evil coven of witches and a powerful voodoo tribe as they battle to reign over the souls of man!” At Dark Hour, you meander through a cemetery, a haunted manor, and other forbidden locales. The folks at Dark Hour haven’t come up with a scary history of their haunted house. But people have survived their visits because they’re posting reviews on Facebook: “This was so awesome! We are going again!” And this: “This place was awesome it was the best house we have been to in a very long time.” And this: “Awesome time tonight at the Dark Hour Haunted House. One of the best I have ever been to.” But the fun goes beyond the house: One person wrote on Twitter that a zombie wearing roller blades and a cleaver chased around a friend in the parking lot.
4. Dark Path Haunt (Lake Dallas)
Forget the Dark Path Haunt haunted house – its website is plenty scary. The site blasts jerky video that takes you through dark woods. Visitors who actually make it to Lake Dallas will walk through a six-acre wooded area – with just one flashlight per group. (Eek!) “Be prepared to be scared by sick minds!” Here’s Dark Path’s backstory: “It is rumored there was secret U.S. Army chemical weapons storage facility near Lake Lewisville. … Six people in a trailer park were killed by a retired sheriff’s deputy. He claimed self-defense. “I’ve never seen anyone act as supercharged psycho as those lunatics I had to put down that day!” the deputy told officers. But Army personnel stationed on the base have been missing since the incident.”
5. Haunt House (Caddo Mills)
The Haunt House traces its beginnings to a missing person report: A mom called police saying her daughter hadn’t come home after visiting a carnival. Police stormed the place, checking every ride and vehicle. But then, at the end of the midway, they found the Haunt House. The doors were locked. The owner had vanished. Police broke in and found the owner “carving away at the missing daughter.” Oh no! If you’re brave enough, you’ll venture through the Haunt House’s darkened corridors. “You may see the deceased owner trying to claim his next victim.” Or maybe you’ll encounter a creature called Spoils the clown “and his group of murderous miscreants coming for you from every direction.”
6. Thrillvania (Terrell)
Thrillvania in Terrell includes four haunted attractions, including Verdun Manor. It was the home of a werewolf, Baron Michael Verdun, and his vampire wife (of course), Lady Cassandra. She abducted poor souls and Baron Verdun conducted “cruel, painful experiments” on them. “These mysterious experiments created hideous, malformed creatures,” Thrillvania declares. “Neither wholly man or animal, Verdun considered these creations as failures.” They were released on the grounds, “devouring any unwary and unwanted visitor.” (Oh no!) KERA profiled Thrillvania in this 2009 story. (Warning: it could scare you out of your wits.)
7. The Parker House (Denton)
The Parker House in Denton is home to the feel-good story of the Halloween season – a truly heart-warming tale of a family business gone bad. Once upon a time, the FBI shut down a home-based mortuary in the 1940s thanks to the shenanigans of Parker’s daughter, Mary. Parker had died and Mary was left to run the family business at such a young age. She witnessed so much death around her that she “lost her sensitivity for human life.” (Poor thing.) But she turned into a hardened killer. She started to salvage body parts and organs and sell them on the black market.
8. Cutting Edge (Fort Worth)
Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth hosts “some of the most foul, wicked and horrendous creatures ever to emerge from the bowels of the earth.” Cutting Edge promises you’ll feel dread when you enter its house, a musty, 100-year-old meatpacking plant. It attracts “tormented souls like a magnet.” “As you stumble through the musty, dark hallways of the attraction, murky figures appear nearby. Is it a mannequin? Is it an actor? Or could it be something much more sinister? Just as you’re convinced that you’re looking at a mannequin, it moves! You scream, and run away. You look back and it’s gone, vanished into the darkness.”