History of the

Hallowed Haunting Grounds

The year was 1973 and a very young man finally had the means, motivation and opportunity to decorate his home for Halloween. Having a talent for theatrical effects, and having practically grown up at Disneyland, the decor definitely took on some of the character of the grand Disney attractions. That first year was decidedly modest, with just a few props and some simple sound effects, but every show became more spectacular as experience and resources grew. After many years things just got a bit out of hand.


Timeline of Changes

(This list notes major additions by show year. There are also deletions and other modifications every year, but they are more difficult to track and make this list much longer.)

1973
First year of show
Gravestones
Haunted Statue with animated eyes
Spooky Graveyard Sounds
1974
"Happy" Haunting Grounds theme established
Tea Party Scene (Homage to Haunted Mansion)
Rising Ghosts
Talking Statue (With Haunted Mansion's Madame Leota voice)
Organ Music
1975
Opera Singer
Original "Organ Chamber"
Funeral Chimes
1976
Organist Appears
First announcement flyers published
1977
Original Blinking Eyes widely displayed
[Final year with Madame Leota's voice]
1978
Talking statue has Original Speech
Seance theme established
Heartbeat and Harp effects
1979
Seance theme enhanced
Tarot cards
Skeletal body and breath sounds
Famous floating lantern appears!
1980
488 "stones" are "laid" to form the Crypt
1981
Final year for the "Happy" Haunting Grounds
Pillars appear at the main entrance
1982
Hooded figures appear
The "Monk Chant" is first heard
Gramophone plays for dancing shadows
1983
Bats appear!
Monument with lion statue appears
Talking Statue has a new voice
1984
Coffin appears
Breathing earth on fresh grave appears
Spirits in the "Well" are heard
1985
Nursery is established
Music Box melody is heard
Organ moved to main room
1986
Crypt is remodeled and gains new effects
1987
Worst Halloween night rain storm
Statue recites portions of The Waste Land
First two-night show
1988
Shrouded figures appear
Crypt bricks begin to bulge and move
1989
Profane vs. Sacred theme established
Wandering Spirit materializes
Large "Tree of Souls" appears
1990
Fog!
"Sacred Woods" speech first heard
1991
Main room becomes black void space (Music Room) instead of cluttered seance room
1992
Floating ghost with candelabra ("Casper")
Statue in bay window invokes the "blessed dead"
[Greg MacLaurin retires from show after 18 years of "dead"-icated service]
1993
Skeletal harpist appears in music room ("Gayle")
Ghosts rise from ground
1994
Angel Statue at exit (with votives and eye effects - "Bette")
Slab Grave
Jack-o'lantern in nursery (one concession to "tradition")
1995
First Spirit of the Well Sparkles
Spirit of the Exit ("Fuzzball" with sound)
Slab Grave moves
1996
Haunted "Suicides" Treestumps (with lighting and sound effects)
1997 The Silver Invocation (25th Manifestation)
Tablets mark Profane and Sacred sections
Exit Ruins with speaking Monk and procession of shadows
Well Sparkles drift upward
1998
Chapel Ruin Wall with "Faces of Man"
Music Room clutter is restored
hauntinggrounds.org established
1999
Skeletal Statue plays Femur Flute
New "Monk Chant"
New Organ and Harp Duet
Rising Apparitions re-appear
2000
Haunted "grove" replaces pine tree
Seventh "Face of Man"
New Harp String optical effect
Gargoyle Sundial appears
Grim Reaper "snuffs out" Nursery candle
2001
New Obelisk Monument
Digitally Remixed and Remastered Audio
Computer-controlled CDs replace magnetic tape
2002
30th Manifestation Monument
New "Floating Candle" effect in Nursery
Picket fence turns brown
Dead parkway trees
2003
Vastly Improved Phantods
Video Projections replace Super-8 film
The Sprit Wanders Again!
2004
Morphing Monument ("Face of Corruption")
Dancing Shadows return to Music Room
Music is from digital multi-channel audio source
2005 The Final Manifestation
Souvenir Guide Maps distributed
"Sounds of the Hallowed Haunting Grounds" CDs presented
Animated Raven finally appears on Exit Ruins!

Some elements and style of the Hallowed Haunting Grounds were inspired by The Waste Land By T.S. Eliot.

We were continually inspired by the usually excellent and sometimes brilliant work of our friends at The Walt Disney Company. We are, of course, especially fond of the Haunted Mansion. Many of the effects in the Hallowed Haunting Grounds employ techniques similar to those used in The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribean, and other classic attractions.