You’re walking down a dimly lit lane. A couple of young harlots are asking you how you’re doing in their best Cockney accents. You round a corner to see a third working girl. As she calls to you, a man in black appears from behind her, knife to her throat, flashes a killer smile, and pulls her through a curtain.
The Jack the Ripper scene was just one of the 14 creepy sets in the Timeline of Terror at Ghost Ridge.
Witches burned at the stake, inquisitors stretched heretics on the rack and Roman gladiators appeared out of the darkness to menace passersby in a visit to some of the more horrifying scenes from human history.
Wednesday was the last night of the haunting, which began on Oct. 25. The reviews from some of the 2,800 people who went though the haunted house at the Albion fairgrounds over the past five days were consistently “better than last year.”
“We try and go all out every year,” said Sean Franklin, who is on the organizing committee.
He has been there through the Trail of Blood, Seven Deadly Sins, Phobias and Fears and a host of other themes for Ghost Ridge, and the goal each year is to make it the best ever.
Carla Christensen auditioned and placed the 48 actors for the sets, and said she was impressed with how the teens dedicate themselves to scaring the bejeepers out of visitors.
“It’s a lot of work for the actors, because you’ve got to be on all night long,” she said.
She gives them a crash course in acting.
“I tell them, ‘I want you to think about what it would really be like to be stoned to death, and then scream like that.’”
The darkness, the creepy sets and the screaming kids combine for a chilling effect.
And it scares people. Christensen has seen scared husbands push their wives in front of them.
Teenage girls sound off like horror movie scream queens.
“It’s those screams that keep the actors motivated,” said Sean.
Organizer Lorraine Bates was proud of the production.
“It was by far the best we’ve done,” she said.
Bates acknowledged the numbers were down slightly, from 3,000 visitors last year, but added that Ghost Ridge has to compete with Vancouver Canucks games, baseball’s World Series and a growing number of other haunted houses.
Still, each of the four volunteer groups that helped put on Ghost Ridge earned $3,800.
“What does my heart good is when the volunteers sit down afterward, and they’re so tired, but they start talking about what we’ll do next year,” said Bates. “That’s what spells success.”