The Witching HourEver wonder why ghosts and spirits, demons and other assorted visitors from the other side are always more active at night? Are witches really more powerful after the sun goes down? Are all the beings on the other side nocturnal or do they just prefer the cover of darkness while they’re committing their evil deeds?

In early times, according to Catholic tradition, the Witching Hour was thought to be 3 am, a mockery of The Holy Trinity. Wicca tradition also holds the hour of 3 am because of it’s relationship to The Threefold Law : That which you send out into the Universe will be returned to you threefold.

In modern times the Witching Hour is simply the middle of the night. It varies from season to season but generally occurs around 2 or 3 am. It’s at this time that the veil between this world and the spirit world is at its thinnest and all sorts of entities – both good and evil – are able to pass through from side to side.

Your brain also acts as a defensive veil that impedes contact from the Other Side. It’s much easier to explain away unexplainable events while the sun’s shining but, in the middle of the night when it’s dark and you’re tired it’s easier for you to believe there’s someone sitting on the end of your bed… watching and waiting for you to wake up.

Is there a real Bates Motel?Home to 13 rooms and the infamous shower stall where Marion Crane meets her untimely demise at the hands of Norman Bates, the Bates Motel, center stage for Alfred Hitchock’s classic “Psycho,” sits quietly at the side of the road, tattered and run-down, patiently waiting for the next guest to check in. But is it real or merely the figment of a horror writer’s imagination?

The screenplay for the movie “Psycho” was based on the 1959 novel of the same name, written by Robert Bloch and loosely inspired by Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein. Rumor has it that Bloch stayed at the real Bates Motel sometime during the 1950’s, prior to writing his book, and he used it as the model for the motel in his novel.

The motel was originally a barracks for officers at Farragut Naval Training Station during World War II. After the war, it was sold and moved 30 miles south to its current location in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Eventually it was purchased by a man named Randy Bates, hence the name – The Bates Motel.

While there’s no haunted mansion on a hill above the real Bates Motel and Norman and his mother certainly never ruled the roost, it does have a few ghosts of its own who seem to be permanent residents.

Guests frequently report cold spots and strange noises, especially in rooms 1 and 3. Lights flicker off and on, ashtrays fall of the tables, guests’ personal items are moved about the room and guests get the sensation that someone is watching them.

Check in at your own risk and beware the shower!

Image via Wikimedia Commons



Sometimes, terrible things can happen when you tempt Fate.  Just watch any horror movie and you’ll see some idiot go down into the basement without a flashlight or wander off the trail on the camping trip and what happens?  They end up DEAD! ..sigh.. Sometimes Fate can be so cruel…  But what’s a party without a little risk?  It’s time your guests tempted their Fate.


What You’ll Need





Small prizes for Good Fates

Bad Fates


Inside some of the balloons place a small prize or a ribbon or piece of paper that indicates they’ve won a prize, and then either blow up the balloon or fill it with helium, depending on how you want to work them into your party décor.


Do the same with the other balloons but fill them with “Bad Fates.”  The “Bad Fates” can be anything, depending on what’s appropriate for your guests.  Have them drink a foul-tasting cocktail or eat a serving of “brains” or dip their hand into a cauldron of “worms and eyeballs.”  If it’s an adult party your “Fates” can be more risky… or risque.


Make It Mandatory or Let Your Guests Decide Their Fate


If you’re looking for a party game that involves all your guests, then gather everyone around and make them choose a balloon, one at a time, while everyone else looks on.  Watch the suspense build as one guest wins a prize and the next has to face their Fate.


Every party has at least one guest who arrives late.  Make every guest who doesn’t arrive on time Tempt their Fate.  Or, make it mandatory for every guest who wears a goofy sweater, or comes in all “Twilight” glittery  or wearing funny hat…you get the picture.


Or, let your guests decide their own Fate.  Fill the balloons with helium and use them as part of your decoration.  Tell everybody what the balloons are for and eventually, some brave soul will pop the first balloon.  After that, as the party goes on, more and more will step up to see what Fate has in store for them.

the house

Once again, Thrillvania Haunted House Park was rated one of the Top 4 “Must See” Haunted Houses in Texas by and it’s easy to see why. Covering almost 50 haunted acres and housing four thrilling haunted attractions, visitors are treated to an endless nightmare of spine tingling terror as they make their way through the park.

While Thrillvania shares Top Honors with Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth, House of Torment in Austin, and Nightmare on the Bayou in Houston, it has the distinct advantage of being the only DFW area haunted house with long-term permanent residents and an atmosphere so dark and twisted it’s been forever stricken from history books.

Verdun Manor, the first of Thrillvania’s four main attractions, was built in 1901 by Baron Michael Verdun, a psychopathic werewolf. Deep within the bowels of this malevolent monstrosity, the Baron conducted twisted experiments, capturing unsuspecting tourists and turning them into grotesque human-animal hybrids. Prepare yourself before entering the Manor. His creatures cry out in pain and agony and they’re not fond of visitors at all.

The Baron’s wife, Lady Cassandra, has her own twisted past. One of The Undead, the Vampire Cassandra enjoyed entertaining and she and the Baron frequently toasted their guests with goblets of human blood. Over the years she’s become Master of a mob of psychotic Clowns who carry out her evil deeds while terrifying visitors at Thrillvania.

In the process of clearing Cassandra’s Labyrinth her minion Clowns, driven even more insane by one of the Baron’s evil experiments, managed to open up new dimensions, seemingly twisting space and time out of all proportions.

And if that’s not enough of a guest list, there’s Sam Hain, once a commoner but rendered delusional and psychotic after being bitten by Lady Cassandra. Few tourists complete his twisted Trail of Torment with their own sanity still intact.

And finally, you’ll enter Thorn Hall, an abandoned church that houses the horrifying experiments of Mortimer Thorn, the sinister caretaker of Verdun Manor. What evil awaits inside this unholy architecture?

Visit Thrillvania Haunted House Park yourself – if you’re brave enough – and you’ll soon see why it’s ranked among the Top 4 “Must See” Haunted Houses in Texas. Be careful, though. With 50 acres and four attractions it’s almost impossible to get out alive.

The World Famous Verdun Manor at Thrillvania Haunted House Park

The World Famous Verdun Manor at Thrillvania Haunted House Park

The grounds of Thrillvania Haunted House Park simply reek with the stuff of nightmares, dreams so horrible you wake to the sound of your own screams, drenched in sweat that stinks of terror. But these nightmares are generally just one-shot affairs and they differ from person to person. It might surprise you to know, though, that all human beings experience the same 7 nightmares – repeatedly – and they generally don’t involve monsters.


Falling From A Great Height

When we dream of falling from a great height, in our waking life we’re experiencing something over which we have no control and which has a great potential for failure. This nightmare is your subconscious’s way of telling you that you need to either relax or quit relying on Fate to control your destiny.

Loosing Your Teeth

Dreaming that you’re losing your teeth can signify a couple of things. Your smile is the first thing people see and, right now, perhaps you’re concerned about your appearance for some reason. Teeth are used to rip and tear and chew, they signify power. Are you involved in some type of power struggle? It may also signal that you’re worried about making a fool of yourself. Are you planning to give a presentation at the office tomorrow?

You’re Naked in Public

We choose our clothing based on the image we want to present to the world. The problem is, that image is often not who we really are. When you dream you’re naked in a public place it’s because you fear people will see the real you.


You’re Trapped

You’re locked in the basement, trapped in a room with no doors, or forever running through a maze with no exit. When you dream you’re trapped in some way it means you’re feeling confined in some area of your life – trapped in a dead-end job or in a difficult relationship.

You’re Driving In An Out-of-Control Car

Dreaming that you drive off the bridge or go careening into a tree or you’re driving on an impossibly steep, twisty road is a sure sign your waking life is out of control. If you also dream that you’re a passenger in the car and no one is driving, this suggests that you’re refusing to accept responsibility for your situation.


You’re Being Chased

You may not ever see who or what is chasing you but you know it’s back there and it’s getting closer. When you dream you’re being chased it means generally means you’re trying to flee a situation that’s unconquerable.

Your Own Death

While it might seem pretty horrifying to dream about your own death, it actually signifies something positive. Dreaming of your own death means there are big changes in store for you. If you’re in a difficult or unhealthy work or personal relationship, you can look forward to its imminent demise.

the house

You might be tempted to go see the latest remake of Stephen King’s “Carrie” that’s going to be playing on dozens of screens in the DFW area this Halloween, but don’t be surprised if you’re the only one in the theater. Trying to decide if you should plunk down the money for a movie again – just like you do every year – or if you should finally screw up the courage to visit one of Dallas’ haunted houses? Maybe we can help.

There was a time when watching “The Exorcist” at the Majestic Theater was the most terrifying thing you could imagine. Watching that little girl’s head spin, up there in technicolor on that huge screen, almost made you feel like you were right there in the room. Almost. The demon’s cursing, the slamming doors and the screams all bounced off the walls of the theater, making an even greater sensory impression that left you staring wide-eyed into the dark when you went to bed that night – and your fears were completely forgotten the next morning.

Back then, the thrills you experienced at the movie theater were enough, but only because everything else paled by comparison. If you were lucky enough to find a haunted house it was decorated with dime-store spider-rings, a few Jack-o-Lanterns and some guy wearing a sheet. The closest you came to being scared out of your wits was when you brushed up against one of those fake spider webs you can buy at the dimestore.

We’re in the 21st Century now and the technology used in haunted house attractions is mind-boggling. We’ve come along way from the days of cassette tape players reeling off an endless loop of hokey screams and organ music and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone wearing anything that even remotely resembles a sheet.

Today’s haunted houses utilize much of the same technology you see in horror movies. In fact, many are designed by the same professionals who design the sets for not only horror movies but the big-name amusement parks, as well. The actors are professionals who wear realistic costumes and work hard at their craft. The “stages” aren’t just dark rooms, they’re professionally crafted scenarios designed to make you believe you’re really being terrorized. But there’s one really big difference between a horror movie and a haunted house…

When you’re sitting in a movie theater only two of your sense are involved – your sense of sight and your sense of hearing. The same holds true for amusement park rides – you sit in a little car, you see things and hear things as you ride through the haunted house, but nothing ever really comes close to harming you – no one’s ever been killed by something they only see or hear. It’s up to you to use your imagination if you really want a terrorizing experience but imagination can only carry you so far.

When you tour a haunted house you’re completely immersed in terror. You not only see gruesome sites and hear horrifying noises, you smell the smoke from the fire and the sulfuric odors. You feel the cold spot as you make your way down the darkened corridor, and you taste the terror at the back of your throat. Your heart beats like a drum, the hair on your arms and the back of your neck stands on end and adrenaline courses through your veins.

No more black rooms with fake spider webs and creaky floor boards, today’s haunted houses have strobe lights, black lights and other types of theatrical lighting to lend an air of creepiness to your surroundings. Hallways tilt at impossible angles to throw you off balance, monsters come up out of the floor and those rats over there in the corner? Well… they’re not made of plastic.

In a theater there’s always the thought in the back of your mind that it’s “just a movie”, nothing you see on the screen can really harm you, but when you’re trying to make your way out of a haunted house with a bloody butcher knife-wielding madman hot on your tail, the terror you feel is real and it stays with you long after you make your escape – if and when you do. You’ll never experience that rush of adrenaline and pure, unadulterated fear in a theater!

These days, watching a horror movie is a little like reading a book about surfing. It’s fun and entertaining. It might even be educational. But it’s nothing compared to actually getting on a board and paddling out into the ocean, feeling the spray from the surf, tasting the salt on your lips and getting that rush of adrenaline as you mount that monster wave.

And here’s one other major difference between horror movies and today’s haunted houses. In a horror movie you’re simply sitting in a nice, cushy chair, munching your popcorn and drinking your Big Gulp, while you watch other people be terrorized and murdered by all sorts of monsters. But, when you visit a haunted house, you’re the one being chased by zombies, you’re the one being threatened with death down every dark corridor.

Think of it this way: You can sit in the theater and vicariously enjoy someone else’s pain and agony or you can visit an interactive haunted house where YOU become the victim and it’s up to you, alone, to survive the experience. Instead of yelling at the screen, “Take off those high heels and run, you idiot!” you’ll be the person doing the running and you’ll see just how clearly you can think with a monster breathing down your neck.

The whole purpose of going to a horror movie on Halloween is to be scared out of your wits but there’s no movie that will ever completely immerse you in the fear you’ll experience in an interactive haunted house. A movie just can’t compare. If you’re tired of doing the same old thing and you’re up to the challenge, skip the movie and visit Thrillvania Haunted House Park, the most terrifying haunted house in Texas.