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Lincoln’s haunted house still a scream, but crowds lag

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Lincoln Events Coordinator Amanda Woodard begins work on Haunted Hill, the town's annual haunted house at Ballard Hill Community Center, on Monday, Sept. 24, 2011.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — Steve Clay knows Haunted Hill is working.

“Grown men have been scared. I have seen them coming out. One man went in with his hat and left with his hat in his hand, shaking,” Clay said Monday. “We had one girl who stood at the doorway for probably about two hours trying to talk herself into going in, and the screams kept her at the door. I even offered to pay her way in, and she wouldn’t go.”

“I don’t think that’s bad,” Clay added, chuckling evilly.

The town-sponsored haunted house began on Oct. 6 at Ballard Hill Community Center and has been open every Saturday since. It has drawn 84 people so far, said town event coordinator Amanda Woodard — a somewhat disappointing number.

“I think it is a little scarier than last year, and that is because of the attention we have given it,” Woodard said. “I haven’t heard any negative feedback from anybody, so I am not sure” why fewer people are coming.

As conceived by Clay, the Town Council’s chairman, and executed by Woodard and several volunteers, Haunted Hill followed an axiom long held in horror movies during its first year: What is suggested is far more frightening than what is seen.

The designers used fog machines, music and loud noises, strobe lights, large swathes of black cloth hung over scaffolding and on some walls and as many as 25 actor-volunteers to alter the contours of the rooms and disorient and frighten the customers.

The haunted house, which has drawn 20 to 25 volunteers, will be open for the last time this year on Saturday, Oct. 27. That gives Clay and Woodard some hope that the numbers will improve.

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