Haunted hot spots
From R-Rated Springfield to the Haunted Dead Walk and Terror on the Square
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
"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.
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
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,
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
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.