Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 12, 2013

Haunting the Hills

Haunted house drawing thousands from around area to rural Fallsburg

Tim Preston
The Independent

FALLSBURG — With scenic hills and a lazy stream running through a well-maintained campground, the rural community of Fallsburg has for many years offered a refuge from the pressures of the real world. In recent days, however, people are flocking to Fallsburg for a good fright.

“The crowds have been great. It’s been phenomenal. We ran as many people through this weekend as we did during the whole season for 2011,” said Brian Cassidy, a Fallsburg resident who has banded together a team of zombies, technicians, ghouls and “creative types” from within the community to transform what had been a low-budget community haunted house into a world-class attraction.

Last weekend’s crowds caused an overflow of parking, Cassidy said, which ultimately turned out to be a blessing for the community’s different organizations, ranging from girls and boys basketball teams to a kindergarten group.

“The whole town of Fallsburg was completely filled up. We had to go a quarter-mile up the road for overflow parking. People parked everywhere, in driveways, fields, just everywhere,” he said, adding, “All the non-profits did really well with the parking.”

The haunted house’s economic impact upon the community could easily be seen at the recently reopened Fallsburg Country Store, Cassidy pointed out.

“They were so overwhelmed with customers Saturday night, they sold out of almost everything in the store. It gave them a good boost on their first weekend open,” he said, adding he personally anticipates paying out roughly $70,000 for the season’s labor and just invested $4,000 in trailers and dozer work to reduce the wait for the Fallsburg Haunted House’s four attractions.

One addition to the ever-evolving attraction this year is a section called Crazy Creek, Cassidy said.

“That’s all they want to talk about when they come out of here. Crazy Creek has them running scared,” Cassidy said with a satisfied laugh, offering few more details other than those who take the Crazy Creek tour will face “20 feet of fire breathing over their head” and “several crazed hillbillies running rabid on the creek.” Adding to the mystery of Crazy Creek, Cassidy said those who face their fears “might get a Christmas present” as part of the experience.

Fallsburg Haunted House has become especially popular with local radio stations, who Cassidy said have been contacting him because of listener demand, and continues to gain fans on Facebook at an impressive rate. The homegrown attraction has drawn visitors from throughout the Tri-State, he said, serving as an excellent source of local economic growth.

“There is so little to do around here that people are willing to drive a little further to do something good like this. And, $20 gets you all four attractions,” he said. “And, it’s outside money coming in, too. And it stays here. I’m a big believer in spending local and buying local whenever I can.”

Cassidy said his long-term goals for Fallsburg Haunted House include building a year-round shop to meet the needs of Halloween and horror fans, creating full-time jobs for local residents. Fallsburg Haunted House is open each weekend, with ticket sales from 6 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday evening. Cassidy said the haunted house remains open even after ticket sales have been cut off for the night, often running into the early hours of the morning to keep their guests both horrified and happy.

Cassidy said people relying upon GPS units to find the haunted house at 5877 north Ky. 3 report their devices have routed them to the not-so-nearby community of Clifford, and advises first-time guests to find the rural Lawrence County community by entering “Fallsburg Haunted House” at Google Maps.

“We are listed on Google Maps. It will be an easy find for them,” he said.

For more information, call (606) 686-3030.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.