DryRot

House of Restless Spirits

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From 2007 to 2013, the House of Restless Spirits haunt in Santa Monica thrilled Halloween lovers looking for something other than jump scares and chainsaws.
People would line up around the block and stand in line for hours to walk AROUND this house, peeking into windows to see ghostly images and haunted happenings.

Inspired by the Hallowed Haunting Grounds, professional magician Eric Maurin and aerospace engineer Rick Ouwerkerk created what was called "the spookiest and most subtle yard haunt in Los Angeles".



Just how their effects were achieved, we may never know. As Eric Maurin told me:
"Some of our effects relied on known methods, such as Pepper’s Ghost (but done in a manner that consistently fooled seasoned haunters and pros), and others were created from whole cloth. Unfortunately, I never wrote anything up explaining any of the effects as we were always too busy creating them. And I also enjoyed maintaining that mystery through our web presence, never referring to methods, or even Halloween for that matter...

(It) was extremely important to me that each effect contributed to the theme or storyline being told, and was seamless in its execution in order to maintain that suspension of disbelief. Had you been here, you wouldn’t have seen a single strand of wire, although we used miles of it, or even one 'key' lighting fixture, although there were many."

Victims of their own success, the pair announced in early October of 2014 that the HORS would not be returning that year. As with so many haunts, the neighbors did not appreciate the additional noise and foot traffic on Halloween night. HORS has never reopened.
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Though they seem to be lost now, reading reviews of the HORS was hilarious. So many people obviously went simply because there was a long line, or someone told them it was "great" but never actually found out what it was before going. These poor mush heads stood in line for an hour or two only to find nothing was jumping out at them, no bloodied clowns, just effects you actually had to watch. EEwwww.....

It's hard for amateur haunts to gain a following without loud noise and bloody spectacle. I doubt professional haunts would even be able to get such an enterprise off the ground. One has to applaud those few who make subtlety spooky.
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If you are interested, Hollywood Gothique wrote what amounts to an obituary HERE. It's a piece that really speaks to the heart of haunting and why it just might be worth it to put up with a little spooky foolishness one night out of the year.

Happy Halloween!
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