Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Hauntings Ghostly Adventure

The town of Gatlinburg, in the Smoky Mountains, houses a lot of sidewalk attractions and shops: museums, arcades, custom airbrushed t-shirts, taffy, miniature golf, more airbrushed t-shirts, etc. Several attractions are themed towards the bizarre and supernatural, including Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, Ripley's Haunted Adventure, World of Illusions, Ghost Haunts Tours, and Mysterious Mansion.

I first visited an attraction called Hauntings in June 1991, during a summer trip to Tennessee. The show takes place in a small room, dimly lit, with seating for not much more than 20 people. Throughout the show, objects seem to move by themselves (candle moving across mantle, spirit writing on slate board), noises are heard throughout the room (chains rattling, wolf howling), and an eerie voice narrates. At the end of the show, a figure appears in the flashing of a strobe light, thrusting a chainsaw menacingly at the audience.

In 2007, I visited the attraction again. It has actually changed very little since 1991, although (unfortunately) the madman with the chainsaw has been removed from the show. Instead, there was something that occurred where a large head was moving toward the audience. I can't remember what that was about, but it managed to catch me off guard. Anyway, the video I posted contains narration from the beginning of the show. Most of it is pretty laughable, including a direct quotation of Rod Serling's opening spiel from The Twilight Zone, and annoying music ripped off from the Halloween theme.

Even though it is pretty cheezy, I enjoy the quaintness of the attraction, and I'm glad it's still around. The area seems destined to be taken over by larger Ripley's attractions. Current Ripley's attractions in Gatlinburg:

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum
Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini Golf
Ripley's Haunted Adventure
Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze
Ripley's Moving Theater
Ripley's Super FunZone

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