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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008 07:03 pm

Haunted hot spots

From “R-Rated Springfield” to the “Haunted Dead Walk” and “Terror on the Square”

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Terror on the Square, Petersburg

No kids allowed.

It's a strict requirement of Garret Moffett's new October tour, "R-Rated Springfield."

"If you enjoy TV shows like 'The Sopranos,' then you will enjoy this," says Moffett, the owner of Springfield Walks. "It'll be fairly mature subject matter — we'll be talking about murder and some rapes."

Moffett wanted something new for Springfield citizens to get into this fall, and after enjoying a similar tour in Charleston, S.C., he transfered the idea to the capital city. The walk features stories about Frank Zito — the Springfield version of Chicago's Al Capone, and other mobsters from the Prohibition era. Tour guides will tell tales of brothel raids, dredging the Sangamon River for bodies, and "Keystone" cops, all via old newspaper accounts.

"It's kitschy; it's all told in a lighthearted fashion," Moffett says. "I think people enjoy that kind of entertainment. They seem to have an endless intrigue about Prohibition and the crime surrounding it."

"R-Rated Springfield" will begin at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October, plus Nov. 1.

Springfield Walks also offers two other
fall tours.

"Springfield's Haunted Dead Walk" shows the city's spookier side. You'll hear about ghostly incidents at Springfield High School, Inn at 835, and the Governor's Mansion, and in some cases, engage in hands-on paranormal investigation. It's not designed to be kid-friendly.

"Most other tours stand outside locations," Moffett says. "I separate mine by getting us inside to tell some of these stories."

"Lincoln's Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore" — created for families and especially favored by history buffs — takes you to the city's most famous Lincoln sites and exposes off-the-wall stories about the past president and his death.

"They're not the typical stories you'd tell the average tourist about at the site," he says. "It's the stranger side of Lincoln."

"Springfield's Haunted Dead Walk" begins at 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October, plus Nov. 1. Admission includes a free pass to the Museum of Funeral Customs. "Lincoln's Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore" runs every Tuesday through Saturday until Nov. 1,
beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Pre-purchase tickets for these walks at tour headquarters, Tinsley Dry Goods Gift Shop, 209 S. Sixth Street. For prices and other information, visit www.springfieldwalks.com.

Boo Crew Haunted House, Rochester

For other spooks, scares, and Halloween setups, check out these area haunted houses

Terror on the Square, Petersburg

Must've been creator Shawn McKinney's 20-plus visits to Disney World's Haunted Mansion that influenced Terror on the Square's unique approach to haunting. It's not oozing with blood and gore; instead, McKinney's innovative spine-tingler transports guests into a 1930s funeral home and reveals to them high-tech, lifelike illusions. A fan favorite is the female ghost wearing a flowing white dress who's often seen on the staircase. Adults enter for $8, kids for $7, or if you don't want to wait in line, grab a Terror Pass for $13. Located 20 miles northwest of Springfield on Route 97. For hours and other information, visit www.terrorontheweb.com.

Boo Crew Haunted
House, Rochester

Flashing lights, pitch-black darkness, and horrifying noises — what more do you need?

Navigate through these obstacles and more to locate a lost pilot who crashed into a Mississippi swamp — before the zombies that found him find you! The Boo Crew's "Zombie Swamp," sponsored by the Rochester Lions Club, begins Oct. 10. This fright fest costs $7 for adults and $6 for kids 10-and-under. Speed passes are $12. Located just off Route 29 in Berry, four miles southeast of Rochester. Visit www.boocrew.com for hours and additional information.

Auburn Haunted House, Auburn

It's never a good sign when you stumble across the unluckiest of the unlucky numbers — especially on Halloween. Auburn's Ark & Anchor Masonic Lodge #354's eighth annual haunted house "13," presents 13 rooms, 13 tales, and 13 terrors. And don't think last year's visit will help you escape any sooner — it's all been changed. For a night of freaky fun, fork over $6. Located in the Masonic Lodge, 217 N. Fifth Street in Auburn, just 30 minutes from Springfield. For hours and additional information, visit www.auburnhauntedhouse.com.

Springfield Jaycees Haunted
House, Illinois State Fairgrounds

Things aren't always what they seem at "Gateway to Terror," the Springfield Jaycees' 38th haunted hotspot. Wind through a darkened maze and stay alert as you move from room to room — masked monsters and ghastly ghouls wait in hidden locales. After the house opens Oct. 9, kids are invited to trick-or-treat from noon to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Kids get in for $3, accompanying adults $1. Regular admission is $6. Located at the south end of the Grandstand. For more information, visit www.springfieldjaycees.org.

Terror on Washington
Street, Clinton

Strange things have been seen and heard in Clinton — odd lights, eerie laughter, and sobbing, screams and moans. Terror on Washington Street, ranked one of Illinois' top 10 haunted houses for five years in a row, shows outsiders what happens when restless spirits call a small, Midwestern town home. It's a bit of a drive from Springfield, but we're told that the scare is more than worth it. Located 20 minutes north of Decatur on Route 51. General admission is $7.50. Rush-In Pass is $15. For more information, visit www.clintonhauntedhouse.com.

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