There isn’t a haunted house worth its salt that doesn’t have at least one creepy mirror hanging over the mantel, on the parlor wall or over the sink in the bathroom. At Thrillvania Haunted House Park we know it’s all about the lighting, but still, there’s always that creeping little niggle down your spine that tells you something’s just not right…

Mirrors have a strange effect on people. Some can stand and gaze at their own reflection for hours and never bat an eye while others, well… let’s just say they’d rather not. Some people won’t even look in a mirror unless all the lights are on, and even then they’ll lift their eyes slowly, sneaking a peek, just in case the face looking back isn’t their own.

If you’ve ever attended a slumber party or camping trip then you’ve probably heard of Mary Worth, a witch who can be summoned by reciting her name 13 times while gazing into a mirror in a dark room. But watch out! When she appears she’ll jump from the mirror and scratch your eyes out.

And then there’s The Candyman. A crazy psychopath, The Candyman can also be summoned through a mirror but you need only recite his name three times. When The Candyman emerges from the mirror he kills his victims with his hook. Let’s try it, shall we? Candyman, Candyman, Candym… Well, maybe we shouldn’t press our luck.

The Wicked Witch had a magical mirror inhabited by a spirit. Dorothy stepped through the looking glass into a world filled with flying monkeys and Munchkins. “There are more worlds than these,” said Stephen King, and many are on the other side of the mirror, inhabited by who knows what kind of creatures.

The next time you have to make that trek to the bathroom in the middle of the night, remember this: In most cases it’s simply a trick of the light like we use here at Thrillvania Haunted House Park that makes it seem as if the Boogieman himself is gazing back at you from that silvery, slithery surface. But sometimes it’s not.

Welcome To Verdun Manor

Welcome To Verdun Manor

Footsteps on the stairs at night, cupboard doors that seem to open and close on their own, a tap on the shoulder, a cool poof of air. These things happen all the time here at Thrillvania. On their own, they seem like normal events. In fact, we’ve all had one or two occasions to laugh off similar happenings.

It’s the wind. It’s air in the pipes. It’s the neighbors fighting again. So how do you know if you’re living in a real haunted house?

13 Signs you live in a haunted house:

Unexplained noises – Do you hear footsteps, knocking, rapping, banging, or scratching? Does it sound like something is being dropped but you don’t see anything fall? It could be air in the pipes, uneven floors, or a bat in the attic. But it could also be a ghost.

Objects disappear and reappear – Are you absolutely sure you left your keys on the hall table? And now they’re nowhere to be found? And then they turn up in exactly the same spot you left them in in the morning?

Lights turning on and off – You’ll rarely see the lights turning on and off but you’re sure you turned the lights off when you left the room… and now they’re on again… and nobody’s been in there since you left.

Doors, cupboards and cabinets open and close – Again, you’ll rarely witness this event because it happens while your back’s turned or you’re out of the room. Just like the lights. You know you closed that cupboard, but there it is open again.

Odd shadows – Do you frequently see shadows out of the corner of your eye? If so, your house may be haunted.

Strange animal behavior – Animals are particularly sensitive to unseen visitors. If your pets are acting strangely, perhaps more aggressive than usual or cowering in the corner when they’ve never done that before, you may be living in a haunted house.

Cold spots – Drafts are one thing, but walking through a cold spot in a toasty, warm room – repeatedly – is quite another.

Feeling you’re being watched – Do you frequently feel like somebody’s watching you? Maybe they are.

Feeling you’re being touched – Some people feel just a passing breeze. Others feel a gentle tap or touch. Still others feel a sharp poke or jab. Cobwebs? Maybe. But not if it’s happening all the time.

Cries, whispers, talking – It’s not easy for spirits to communicate from beyond so you’ll rarely hear a distinct conversation. But listen for whispers, a muffled word or two, or you may hear someone saying your name.

Strange smells – Some people report smelling sulfur, but most recognize a perfume or cologne that they don’t have in their house. Some also report the smell of roses.

Moving or levitating objects – Lamps crashing to the floor, candlesticks or dinner plates rising above the table. Objects moving without anyone around is a clear indication you’re living in a haunted house.

Other unexplained evidence – Strange writing on the wall, handprints on mirrors, footprints in the
freshly vacuumed carpet – these are all evidence that you’re sharing your house with a ghost.

And then, of course, there’s the most obvious of way of all to tell you’re living in a haunted house…

Apparitions – It’s very rare to see an actual apparition. Ghosts generally make their presence known using some of the above tricks. Watch for human-shaped mists or mist that’s forming into some definite but indistinguishable shape. You may also see human forms that look real enough but disappear quickly into a wall or fade into the carpet. When you see apparitions it’s a sure sign you’re living in a haunted house.

the house

We all have a certain image in our mind when someone mentions haunted houses. We picture large, dilapidated homes with paint peeling and porches rotting away. We imagine there must be footsteps on the stairway and rapping from inside the walls, screeching up in the attic, and all of this takes place in the middle of the night. But the simple truth is this: Any house can be haunted, any hour of the day or night. Maybe even yours.

Hauntings In Old Homes vs. New Homes

While it’s true that hauntings seem to occur most often in older homes, it’s only because those homes have been around long enough for some type of tragedy to have occurred. And if not the house itself, then the property upon which it stands. Perhaps, long ago, the land the house now sits on was the site of a major battle. Perhaps, long ago, someone inside the home passed quietly away and left some unfinished business.

Conversely, many people just assume every old home is haunted because, if the home is 100 years old, there’s a good chance someone has died in it at some point during its existence. And if someone dies in a home, surely their spirit sticks around to haunt the place. If that were the case, given the number of old houses scattered throughout the world, the netherworld must be very crowded, indeed.

It’s quite possible for a new house to be haunted. It may have been built on the site of a tragedy. Someone who worked on constructing the house may have died from a tragic accident. Or maybe the ghost moved in, right along with the new owners, following them from their previous abode.

So never assume that only old, run-down houses are haunted and never assume you’re safe from hauntings simply because you’ve moved into a new house.

Ghosts Only Come Out At Night

It’s always nighttime when the ghosts come out to play in the horror movies, and when you watch those paranormal investigators on TV they always wait until midnight to set up their equipment. But ghosts “live” on a different plane of existence. To them, Time has no meaning and they certainly don’t punch a time clock.

If there’s a ghost in your house at midnight you can rest assured – or maybe you can’t – that he’ll be there in the morning and in the afternoon, too. During the daylight hours, though, you’re busy. You’re at work, you’re running errands, you’re cooking or cleaning or watching TV. There’s activity and noise in the house that covers up those ghostly creeks and groans so you don’t notice. You’re bustling around and you don’t notice those cold spots when you pass through them on your way to the den.

But then the lights go out and everyone settles down for the evening. That’s when you notice the chill. That’s when you hear the creak on the step. And that’s why you think you’re safe in your house during the day. Because the ghosts only come out at night, right?

Haunted Houses Can Be “Cleared”

Remember the scene in “Poltergeist” where Tangina said, “This house is cleeeeeaaan.” Well, it wasn’t, was it? The poltergeist was still there. In fact, it followed the family to their new home in the sequal.

It’s true that some ghosts just need someone to help them find their way to the next world, and if this is the type of ghost who’s haunting your home you’re lucky. Help him find his way and you’ll be rid of him forever.

However, not all ghosts want to be “sent on.” Some want to stay here forever – or at least until they’ve exacted their revenge. There is no magical formula that forces a ghost to move on, no incantation or spell, and a ghost certainly isn’t afraid of the smell of burning sage.

If you have a stubborn ghost in your house then maybe it’s time to change your address. After all, he was there first. And, like you, he’ll leave when he’s darn good and ready.


Everything’s twisted and scary on Halloween, especially here at Thrillvania Haunted House Park. Haunted houses and dolls, scary clowns and witches, vampires and werewolves, narrow coffins beneath shadowed tombstones in dank, dreary cemeteries. The scarier the better on Halloween, unless you have a phobia. Then, who knows? Anything can happen on the scariest night of the year.

Most holidays have associated cute, warm and fuzzy creatures and it’s rare to find someone who actually suffers from leporiphobia, a fear of bunnies, or Santaphobia, the fear of Santa Claus, but there’s nothing cuddly at all about Halloween. In fact, October 31 is simply bursting with opportunities to terrorize and traumatize.

If you have a fear of something, say snakes or spiders, your body’s fight or flight mechanism kicks in. You may run away screaming, but once you’ve escaped the threat you tend to forget about it, maybe even laugh about it.

A foible is a minor weakness in your character, something just a bit off kilter, but it’s nothing serious. Maybe you’re frightened of something silly, like cupcakes or candy canes, but you – and everyone around you – can laugh about it because it is so silly.

But a phobia, that’s something altogether different. All you have to do is imagine your fear and you’re plunged into an icy cold pit of despair. Tell an arachnophobe you saw a big, hairy spider at work yesterday and they’ll run screaming from the room today. Tell your placophobic boyfriend that you’re going to a Halloween party at the cemetery and he’ll fall into a panic attack. And don’t even think about suggesting that your hemophobic girlfriend go dressed as a vampire unless you want to spend the night in the emergency room.

Let’s take a look at some more of the strange phobias which can be triggered by events or creatures we experience on the darkest, gloomiest night of the year.

Eisoptrophobia is the fear of your own reflection, which makes it difficult for eisoptrophobes to tour haunted houses or conjure Mary Worth or The Candyman during slumber parties. This phobia can also extend to include people who are terrified of seeing themselves on film. Unfortunately, Kim Kardashian is reportedly immune to this phobia, no matter what she’s wearing.

Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns, any clowns, even those cute clowns with the big, floppy feet, fuzzy orange hair and enormous red smiles. It’s the teeth behind those smiles and the claws beneath the fourfingered gloves that terrify Coulrophobes and force them to run screaming from their bedrooms, “Can’t sleep! Clowns will eat me!”

Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13 Halloween since it falls on October 31 didn’t have a someone in a hockey mask waving a chainsaw?

Believe it or not, cucurbitophobes have a morbid fear of pumpkins, so you can imagine their terror on Halloween night. All those Jack-o-lanterns with blazing eyes sitting on porch after porch after porch must send them into fits. Experts believe this phobia is developed at a young age when children are first forced to pull the guts out of the pumpkin before they start carving. Ewwww!

On Halloween night the Boogeyman is everywhere which must make it especially difficult for boogyphobics to come out from under the covers.

Even if you think you’re immune to these irrational fears and phobias, think again. Maybe you have a fear of chewing gum – chiclephobia. What will you do when someone drops Double Bubble Bubblegum into your treat basket?

Or maybe you’re afraid of butterflies – lepidopterophobia. There’s bound to be at least one person at your Halloween party wearing butterfly wings and a tutu. And if you’re afraid to go to bed you might be a clinophobiac. But then again, you might just be a boogyphobic or coulrophobic, too.

After all of these phobias you can probably guess what people fear who have Samhainophobia. That’s right – they fear Halloween. The one night of the year when there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of!

In alphabetical order, here are some other phobias and their related fears that might cause Trick-orTreaters to run screaming from your porch or your party guests to high-tail it out the back door:

Achluophobia – fear of Darkness
Alliumphobia – fear of Garlic
Arachnophobia – fear of Spiders
Ceraunophobia – fear of Thunder
Claustrophobia – fear of Confined spaces, like coffins
Cleisiophobia – fear of being locked in
Coimetrophobia – fear of Cemeteries
Dementophobia – fear of Insanity
Formidophobia – fear of Scarecrows
Hagiophobia – fear of saints or holy things
Hemophobia – fear of blood
Herpetophobia – Fear of reptiles or creepy, crawly things
Melanophobia – Fear of the color black
Nebulaphobia – Fear of fog
Noctiphobia – fear of night
Phasmophobia – fear of ghosts
Placophobia – fear of tombstones
Phobophobia – The fear of fears
Pnigerophobia – Fear of choking or of being smothered
Pupaphobia – fear of puppets
Seplophobia – fear of decaying matter
Spectrophobia – fear of mirrors
Staurophobia – fear of the crucifix
Stigiophobia – Fear of Hell
Taphephobia – being buried alive

Don’t skip Halloween because of a phobia. Maybe we can help.

All kidding aside, if you suffer from a phobia that’s triggered by some type of Halloween tradition, we may be able to alleviate some of your fears if you call ahead to Thrillvania Haunted House in Dallas, TX and ask about our attractions so you can prepare yourself in advance. You might find that you have absolutely nothing to fear throughout each of our haunted houses and we may be able to tell you what areas to avoid. We know Thrillvania isn’t for everyone but we’d like to help you feel as welcome and comfortable as possible so you can enjoy Halloween, too.


He lurks lecherously in dark corners of Thrillvania Haunted House Park in Dallas, Texas, and seems to blend into the background. He also haunts playgrounds and schoolyards where he’ll be sure to find plenty of adolescent victims but he’s not picky, a shadowy alley or a dark closet will do just as well. He’s Slender Man, after all, and it’s not where or when he shows up that really matters – it’s his appearance that scares the daylights out of everyone who sees him.

Who is Slender Man? He’s the modern-day equivalent of Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers or The Boogeyman of yore. He haunts your dreams like Freddy and he appears and disappears at will, like Michael, and he’s used as a warning to get naughty children to quiet down and go to bed – something parents have been doing for centuries with little success.

Like Krueger, Myers and The Boogeyman, Slender Man is simply a figment of someone’s imagination (and thank goodness for that!) but this time it’s a collective effort. Slender Man arose from somewhere deep in the misty realms in 2009. Victor Surge accepted a challenge issued to all the members of the Something Awful forum to use Photoshop to place supernatural entities into real photographs and Slender Man was born.

Slender Man has since become an internet sensation and can be found lurking around corners and hiding behind trees, stalking and abducting innocent children. He’s also become one of this year’s most popular Halloween costumes.

As his name suggests, Slender Man is extremely tall and slender. His arms, legs and fingers are disproportionately long and …slender. Seen from a distance he looks like a cross between those horrifying trees in “The Wizard of Oz” and a monstrous praying mantis, his long arms swaying at his side, his long legs stretching out in great strides, his gnarly fingers clutching and grasping, always clutching and grasping…

He dresses in a black suit, wears a white button-down shirt and a dark necktie. On his head he wears either a black top-hat or bowler and his shoes are similarly stylish – something black and leathery.

So far it seems like it would be relatively easy to dress up as Slender Man for Halloween. All you need is a black suit, a white shirt, a dark tie and some nice shoes, right? But if you really want to pull it off you’re going to need super long arms and a mask, otherwise you’ll just look like one of the MIB.

Let’s start with the mask because that’s the easy part because… Slender Man has no face. In every picture, Slender Man just has this vague white blob where his face should be. The idea is, the less you know about him, the scarier he seems.

Check your favorite costume store for a Slender Man mask, or a Morph Mask. If you’re creative use some white, stretchy fabric to create a form-fitting hood that completely covers your head and neck. Since this hood completely covers everything – including your eyes, nose and mouth – you’ll want to be sure to get fabric you can see through and breathe through.

If you don’t like the idea of using a store-bought mask and you’re not creative with a needle and thread, a pair of white tights will work nicely, even if they’re a little opaque. Slender Man’s face may be a big, white blog but there are vague hints of facial features in some of the pictures and he is human, after all, isn’t he? Isn’t he?!

Now, for the super-long arms you’ll need to finish pulling off the illusion. Pick up a cheap black suit coat at your local thrift store. (Please – do NOT raid your father’s closet!) You’ll also need some inexpensive black cotton fabric and a hot glue gun.

Slender Man’s arms can be as long as you want them to be, but the longer they are the better. You’re going to use the black cloth to lengthen the sleeves of the suit jacket so first, at the cuff, measure the diameter of the sleeve and add one inch.

Next, decide how much longer you want to make the sleeves and cut two pieces of fabric that measure your desired length plus one inch by the diameter of the sleeve plus one inch.

First, fold down the top, bottom and one side of the sleeve 1/2 inch. This will give you a smooth edge without any sewing.

Using your hot glue gun, glue the top edge of your extension to the cuff of the first sleeve, all the way around.

Once the glue sets, glue the side seam together, placing the folded edge on top of the raw edge to give it a nice clean finish. NOTE: If you’re making extremely long sleeves be sure to leave an opening in the middle of this seam on each sleeve so you can free your hands for eating and drinking during the party.

Most people who dress as Slender Man either don’t worry about the arms and just wear a dark suit coat or they add the extended arms but don’t worry about the hands. (In some pictures you can’t see Slender Man’s hands at all.) However, to be even more realistic, stuff your sleeve extensions with fabric or crumpled newspaper and add some creepy hands with long, gnarly fingers poking out the ends.

Of course, the name “Slender Man” suggests that the ideal person for this costume would be tall and slender but everyone knows there are no rules regarding Halloween costumes. If you’re willowy or lanky, so much the better, but we kind of think a short or chubby Slender Man would be even more terrifying because it’s unexpected – and that’s what Halloween is all about.

For an award-winning performance it’s important to remember that Slender Man does a lot of lurking and very little mingling. He lurks, he pounces and he disappears. But the good thing about all that lurking is that very few people know any actual details about this scary character so you can write your own script and be whoever you want to be. Remember, though, the less you tell your audience the scarier you’ll be!