Haunted houses can send a chill down one’s spine in any season, but as Oct. 31 draws near, imagination can get the best of people. During three cold evenings, Oct. 24-26, at Spring Valley State Park, fears and superstitions came to life as ghostly vessels sailed the waters and an eerie wagon deposited guests at the door of a house of horrors.
The sun had set by the time the festivities began, so the winding mountain roads leading from Pioche to the park were dark and mysterious. However, visitors to the event were welcomed not by ghouls but by friendly faces and warm food, specifically hot dogs and chili served by Laura Johnson, the wife of one of the park rangers. Spectators looked at the boats and judged costumes, enjoying good family fun.
Next, they boarded the wagon headed to the Cabin of Horrors. A short ride along shadowed, dusty trails brought intrepid visitors to the stone edifice, with clues to the sinister (if only pretended) nature of the house: a clown face marked the entrance, alongside a Kee-Wakw (an ancient Indian creature that was half-elk, half-human) standing on a bed of hot coals. Inside these rooms, visitors could be threatened by a witch, chased by an insane clown or haunted by a ghost in the “white room.”
In the end, this writer was too terrified to even enter the stone house. But, it was all for a good cause.
“The money goes towards events like these,” explained park ranger Ben Johnson during an interview the night of the Homestead of Horrors, referring to the funds gathered from participants, “and any donations we receive go towards the fishing jamborees we put on.” Johnson went on to explain that there will be a considerable number of prizes to be won from the fishing this coming year, including thousands of dollars in tuition funding.