Scary rednecks, hungry zombies, mad scientists and angry butchers are just a few of the scares awaiting visitors to the Fearaphobia Haunted House in Bridgeport.
The haunted house started tours Friday night and is located at the old high school building at 1407 Carpenter St. Runaway Bay resident Robert Chaney put the house together once again after last year’s premiere on Halsell Street in Bridgeport.
The new location enticed Chaney because of its old, spooky feel.
“My big draw is to get people who actually went here – people that will say, ‘Oh, I went to junior high here; I went to high school here,’” Chaney, a construction engineer, said.
According to the Bridgeport Historical Society’s website, the building was erected in 1924 and served as a high school until a new high school was built in 1959.
With 90 years in one location, Chaney said he wanted to see if the schoolhouse was haunted.
“We had a paranormal investigation team come in and look around, look at the building and look at our props,” Chaney said. “They said they found a lot of stuff.”
The team told Chaney that they found spirits attached to an old coffin and an old 1800s-era piano that are being used as props, as well as the spirits of a Mexican miner and two little girls. One story Chaney said he heard about the schoolhouse was that the ghost of an old teacher would throw erasers at students who acted up in class.
That spooky aura, combined with volunteer actors and many of Chaney’s graphic props, are what he hopes will scare people the most.
“The evolution of haunted houses over the last 15, 20 years, with the way the [horror] movies have become, you really have to take it over the top to get the shock factor,” Chaney said.
Chaney began doing Halloween-themed events years ago, when his wife, Lalisa, decided she wanted to throw a Halloween party, and then that morphed into a small haunted house on his property, which grew into a bigger haunted house, until finally it got so big that the Chaney family had to take their scares to downtown Bridgeport, where they set up last year.
Last year’s haunt raised money for a local charity, and Chaney said that if he breaks even this year, he hopes to donate money to local Wise County charities again.
“Last year, we probably had 1,000 to 1,500 people [visit] throughout the month, but if I can average 100 people a night and still donate to charity and then still donate gift cards to the people who help us, I’ll be happy,” Chaney said.
Chaney bought or made most of the props himself, traveling to different “haunt conventions” across the country and renovating the schoolhouse with the help of his wife and a handful of volunteers.
The haunted house opened Friday and will be open 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until Nov. 1.
Tickets are $15 and $10 at the door for adults and children under 12, respectively, and $10 and $5 online at www.fearaphobia.com/tickets.html. There will also be a children’s haunted house for those who feel they might get too scared going on the actual tour.
Catch a glimpse of the haunted house below: