HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE
A free public service from the
ZIOPTIS FOUNDATION in Detroit, The Haunted House Birthplace of the USA.*
WELCOME TO THE ZIOPTIS FOUNDATION HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE, your insider fast track to the HOTTEST HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in Michigan and the whole nation! We attend as many haunts as possible each year, and post reviews that are archived for future reference.
Our mission is to give you an authentic feel of what each haunt is like, but without giving away too much. It's a challenge we're up to, because we don't want to spoil the experience for you!
Don't think of us as judges, but as storytellers. Every haunt has a story, and we'll bring it to life right here. It's almost like going to a haunted house without going to a haunted house!
You'll also find info on off-season haunt events as well as alternative entertainment, so stay tuned. Stuff like fireworks displays in the winter, free concerts, and where to see amazing automated Christmas light displays.
WE ARE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PROFIT. The website has large type and is dial-up friendly for maximum accessibility to all. Localities appear in red for easy identification. And the original, one and only Free ZIOPTIS DIAL-A-TRIP that started the ball rolling in 1986 is still available 24/7 at (313) 274-1111.
History - in the mid-90's, we started adding stories at the end of the Dial-A-Trip episodes in October about the coolest haunted houses we went to. So much interest was generated that in 1999 the decision was made to start a separate service, and the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE was born!
* = To our knowledge, the very first haunted attraction in the USA was MUTILATION MANSION in Detroit suburb MADISON HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN which began in 1966. Disney’s Haunted Mansion debuted in 1969, and Knott’s Berry Farm haunt started in 1973. If anyone can provide evidence of an earlier haunt, please email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
NO ADVERTISING! NO COOKIES! JUST THE GOODS._____________________________________________________________________
SEPTEMBER 23, 2023 SATURDAY 3:30 PM - HYPER REALISTIC NEW FANGLED MASKS - 3D SPOOKY GOODNESS - THE EVIL GREAT PUMPKIN
Holy moly! Whoever thought of this gets a gold star on their forehead: https://lyricbeam.com/mask-headgear?fbclid=IwAR05SFuC9aJobRteT5M32ZLWJCXLHcmHtE--VR1Zp7s9H17adyySzsfoRLc
Holy holograms! https://halloweenflow.com/products/halloween-holographic-projector-69?fbclid=IwAR1OPJWZJkJKzKuY-d2QCHpkWmYhoOBJsaJ9ht2CyeZJ_Q6DPbjv65kY_xk
Pumpkin monster abducting child: https://halloweenappy.com/products/giant-pumpkin-monster-and-child?fbclid=IwAR3GdH32Z78lUkWnHE-ljgIokX2SxSyk2yrEUrS5zAToS-_gMYiBhiumjnI
SEPTEMBER 23, 2023 SATURDAY 3 PM - ESCAPE ROOM ON STEROIDS
Here’s a new twist on the escape room craze: https://questoapp.com/events/the-vampires-vs-zombies-experience-in-detroit?fbclid=IwAR3kL8bH1ks1W9Aqqtu1Y18lVN_wFVgnilkhVkQolEDExuLV7MJdpB JSmaw
SEPTEMBER 23, 2023 SATURDAY 2 PM - MORE BLOOD THIRSTY MONSTERS TO CHOOSE FROM
These haunts are also open tonight: ABANDONED ACRES FARM in SPARTA, DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE, LAND OF ILLUSION - HAUNTED SCREAM PARK in MIDDLETOWN, OHIO, PAST TENSE AFTER DARK in LAPEER, and THE EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2023 SATURDAY 4 AM - OPENING NIGHT JITTERS AT THE SCREAM MACHINE
No, not the actors -- it was the steady stream of visibly freaked out patrons coming out the exit at THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR last night.
Running a haunt can be a daunting task, and opening night usually presents the biggest challenge of the season. A million details all have to come together just so...
We especially admire haunts that can pull off opening early in September. A successful haunted attraction needs to run as a well-oiled machine, like this one that literally is designed to produce screaming people!
So how is the new show?
Despite being anxious to check out the new layout / presentation, I decided to wait until my fabulous partner can come with me. It could be a difficult season for us -- her dad is in the hospital on shaky ground, and Poppy (one of two rescue Dobermans) had to be rushed to the emergency vet clinic and now is scheduled for surgery. And I’m awaiting news about a major audition, while being on strike with SAG - AFTRA.
But judging by the excited demeanor and random polling of exiting haunters, THE SCREAM MACHINE again delivers the goods!
The new building is a gem. The previous location (now a mattress store) was part of a strip mall, but their new home is a large stand alone structure. As with the previous location, THE SCREAM MACHINE has easy access right off Telegraph Road which is the main drag for that area.
THE SCREAM MACHINE is the longest running Downriver haunt for good reason! https://thescreammachine.com/
SEPTEMBER 22, 2023 FRIDAY 5 PM - PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY
Some things just go together, like Halloween and music: https://feverup.com/en/detroit/candlelight-halloween?utm_source=Facebook_Desktop_Feed&utm_medium=ad&utm_campaign=can dlelight-halloween_dtw&ad_id=23857838988160677&fbclid=IwAR2BOXczsj5vsVhVd9 nPijHgIDdxjYCDrEvpqC3rA0qUlLXX58QMoIm0tik
SEPTEMBER 22, 2023 FRIDAY 2 PM - OFF TO THE RACES
Tonight is opening night at THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR, DERANGED in ROMULUS, BATES HAUNTED SAWMILL in MILLINGTON, and GLENLORE TRAILS in COMMERCE TWP. EREBUS in PONTIAC is also open -- they actually opened last weekend.
Also open tonight is NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI which opened last week Sept. 16. and JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON which opened Sept. 6. ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND and HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO open tomorrow Sept. 23.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2023 WEDNESDAY 12 MIDNIGHT - FOR HEIGHTS & DEPTHS NO WORDS CAN REACH
Hey all, hope you had a great weekend and made it to ROTTEN MANOR and/or SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK. If not no problem -- they’ll be open again next weekend and many more will be opening as well.
We hoped to start haunting last weekend, but life got in the way for my partner. I just didn’t have the heart to go without her...
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BAR BAND
So as not to waste the beautiful weekend weather, I went to see a few bands -- some playing outside:
SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK, TIKI BOB’S CANTINA BAND, WEEKEND COMEBACK
What country puts on the best rock concerts?
The USA, right? Don’t answer yet -- maybe order some CHICKEN MUSHROOM EGG FOO YOUNG and listen up my little monkeys...
THE BASS DRUM YOU HEAR/FEEL IN HEAVEN
There’s a famous book by famed Detroit author Mitch Albom called “The Five People You Meet In Heaven.”
It’s a cool book...but if you’re a drummer you’re just as interested in how the bass drum would sound there...assuming they have concerts...
Like when you go to PINE KNOB MUSIC THEATER the bass drum shakes your entire body with that gut-thumping goodness that only the best subwoofers and power amps can produce, right? It’s a big part of the experience
not yet finished
SEPTEMBER 17, 2023 SUNDAY 10 PM - WHOOPSIE!
Earlier, we talked about SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK and their early opening date...and all that is correct...
However, according to their website ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY opened a week before SCAREFEST on Sept. 8 & 9: https://rottenmanor.com/calendar/
Our apologies to ROTTEN MANOR for failing to report they appear to have been the first haunt to open this season.
New this year at ROTTEN MANOR is their WAX MUSEUM. And when ROTTEN MANOR makes an addition they go all out. For example, in 2019 they decided to create a new experience in the forest with a GINGERBREAD HOUSE to end all Gingerbread Houses. They made us feel like Hansel & Gretel: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157650409830035
SEPTEMBER 17, 2023 SUNDAY 5 PM - A THOUSAND LASHES WITH A WET NOODLE
We have a massive apology to make concerning a major haunt, and we insist on being the first to publicly chastise ourselves!
COMING SOON! But right now we’re off to the ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE FESTIVAL in GARDEN CITY...check back later for juicy details as we flog ourselves silly! ;)
SEPTEMBER 17, 2023 SUNDAY 4:30 PM - A LITTLE BIRDIE SAYS
Not yet confirmed: TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY may be running a special event reminiscent of EXIT 13.
WORD ON THE STREETS
If true, like at EXIT 13 actors will touch patrons! This, of course is a sharp departure from the usual Haunted Attraction Rules which are clearly laid out before entry: “Do not touch the actors. The actors will not touch you, although close proximity may result in inadvertent contact” is what you typically see at haunts.
TERRORFIED FOREST has broken new ground repeatedly in its’ amazing history, see various past reviews. Also, TERRORFIED FOREST won the ZIOPTIS BEST MAKEUP award last season...okay actually it was a 2 way tie along with HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND to give proper credit where it is due. No FAKE NEWS here! haha
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023 THURSDAY 7 PM - THE OLE’ EMINENT TIME CLOSE PLOY?
In sales, there’s a tactic known as the eminent time close.
The idea is to apply pressure to buy now or miss out. “Widgets are on sale today, but tomorrow the price goes back up and they might be gone” declares the salesman. Anxious to not miss out, the hapless consumer complies and shells out the dough.
But what does that have to do with haunted attractions? Nothing, probably...
EXIT 13 has announced that 2023 will be their last year, and we totally believe them.
So what if next year comes, and they’re still open? Does that mean they tried the ole’ eminent time close? Not at all.
We’ve seen this scenario play out several times with various haunts. For example, a few seasons ago HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO announced they were in their final year.
But the next year came and they were still open. An unexpected change of circumstances occurred.
This kind of thing can easily happen. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The only constant in the haunt industry is change. Perhaps a lease that was finally up loses the next scheduled tenant. Maybe they find a whole new location or a key partner was going to move away, but plans changed and now they’re staying.
So if EXIT 13 somehow reappears next year, we won’t complain or fault them in any way. Instead, we’ll rejoice that we again can visit an old friend that has never let us down.
But we’re not counting on that, and neither should you. We strongly recommend you go to EXIT 13 this season. Hey, meet us there...we’ll be the ones right in the middle of the masses of happy haunters! ;)
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023 THURSDAY 3 PM - FILLING SOME BIG NEW SHOES
It’s official, a done deal: THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR has a new home on Northline Road and it’s DOUBLE the size of their previous location!
This haunt has always delivered the goods, and was the first to tell us we really had to check out THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS many moons ago. When a haunt operator raves about another haunt, that’s a recommendation you can’t ignore.
We can’t wait to see what THE SCREAM MACHINE has in store for us, but based on many past experiences we feel confident in saying it should be excellent! https://thescreammachine.com/
SEPTEMBER 10, 2023 SUNDAY 2 PM - NEW DIGS FOR MAJOR DETROIT HAUNT
Imagine you have a friend who you only see in October, we’ll call him JOEY. JOEY is a big guy, about 6 feet tall.
After having an excellent visit last year...wait make that two visits...you again go to visit JOEY this year. But this time he’s TWELVE FEET TALL!
Well, that’s exactly what happened to a big-time haunt that’s been a long-time fave of ours.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2023 SATURDAY 5 PM - ALLEN PARK ERUPTS WITH HAUNTED ATTRACTION OBSESSION
I went to the ALLEN PARK MEIJER STORE again today, to score some more of my fave CUP O JOE and got more than I bargained for.
ALLEN PARK ABANDONS REFRIGERATORS & FLAT-SCREEN TV’s
The BEST BUY STORE next to Meijer has suddenly vanished, and has undergone a magical transformation into a SPIRIT HALLOWEEN STORE. The only thing that’s the same as before is the automatically opening doors, and it’s absolutely glorious!
KILL YOUR TV, ADOPT A ZOMBIE
A steady stream of people entered, having no interest whatsoever in TV’s, cameras, refrigerators and such. The only appliance on their mind is fog machines.
The countdown has already begun, and we can’t wait to start haunting!
SEPTEMBER 9, 2023 SATURDAY 1 AM - GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES
Haunting is less than a week away! SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP. opens next Friday, Sept. 15, 2023: https://scarefestscreampark.com/
SCAREFEST is usually the first haunt open every season, thanks to top-level veteran haunt operator JM who originally did the haunt at the now defunct JOHNNY APPLESEEDS in WASHINGTON TWP.
SCAREFEST has so much your head will spin! There’s the HAYRIDE OF DOOM, FOREST OF DARKNESS, CASTLE OF THE DEAD, TERROR ZONE MAZE and much more. They also have a liquor license and usually have live music.
HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME
Important Update: Earlier reports that EXIT 13 wouldn’t be open in 2023 have been changed to say that 2023 will be their last year. Their haunt website is gone, reach them on Facebook.
EXIT 13 is a very special haunt, and we’re sad to hear them say this is their SWAN SONG SEASON. One totally unique thing about EXIT 13 is that just before entering you’re told/warned that you WILL be touched by the ultra enthusiastic actors!
SEPTEMBER 8, 2023 FRIDAY 5 PM - HANGING ON BY A THREAD
We’re having big computer problems, and I’m lucky to be able to add content right now. This is an unusual computer...when I first got it the website program wouldn’t work on the 64 bit system it uses so they added a 32 bit side where it does work.
The 64 bit side of the computer has crashed, but oddly enough the 32 bit side is still working. I just got a big scare when I saw the same error message about not being able to log into my account on this, the 32 bit side. Thank goodness after restarting it, the website program reappeared. Whew!!!
But if we suddenly go silent, please know it’s not by choice. I need to get a new computer, but it’s not just that easy as I need help to transfer programs and files onto a new computer. Sadly, we lost our Webmaster BILLY G who died of Covid in 2021. New Covid strains are coming too, as if we needed more problems.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2023 FRIDAY 2 PM - STUFFED CABBAGE & SCREAMING FANS
We decided to head to ALLEN PARK last night to watch the much ballyhooed season-opening NFL game with THE DETROIT LIONS to better get a feeling of the situation. Besides, Thursday is POLISH FOOD DAY at the WHEAT & RYE on Allen Road...plus they had US OPEN TENNIS playing on one of the many big screen TV’s.
What a fabulous evening! The icing on the top was the thrilling ONE POINT VICTORY for the LIONS. Now that we’ve established THE LIONS can beat the reigning champs the rest of the season should be a breeze, maybe.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 THURSDAY 6 PM - WARNING: ZIOPTIS FANTASY RANT FOLLOWS - DO NOT READ!
For the record, we really like Disney and admire how they’ve stood up to bully politicians who’ve tried in vain to punish them for their efforts at equality for all. This is all hypothetical fantasy that you should pay no attention to!
SNOW WHITE PUTS DOWN GOOFY IN SHOCKING LATE NIGHT EUTHANASIA
This could be the sarcastic scenario for a haunted attraction gag. For example, we’ve seen hilarious parodies of current day events at SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE.
Beauty is only skin deep, right?
But this tried-and-true axiom is lost on SNOW WHITE, a buxom beauty who is used to always having her way. She spends hours in front of the mirror every day.
SIGHT UNSEEN / SMOKE & MIRRORS
It seems that SNOW WHITE recently found a new facial wrinkle, a cause for great alarm. She took to her INSTAGRAM PAGE, accusing corrupt politicians of stealing her beauty. “STOP THE STEAL!” became her battle cry and justification for begging for money to pay for future facelifts.
She quickly raised $250 MILLION, without informing her fans they were signing up for recurring payments as per the fine print hidden at the bottom of the flashy looking page.
But even that wasn’t enough for the greedy grifter, and SNOW WHITE declared she could no longer afford to feed her faithful dog GOOFY.
So she went to the 24 hour emergency vet clinic to have the hapless dog put down. Priorities, right?
“What’s the problem with the pooch?” asks the vet. “He’s disloyal, rotten to the core...a total disgrace! He’s a very bad boy and needs to be punished and go bye-bye forever” replies SNOW WHITE. “You can’t be serious!?”
SNOW WHITE then stumbles in her fancy ultra high-heeled shoes and falls down. Her knee is sprained, ankle twisted, and her front two teeth are broken. GOOFY urinates on her, then farts in her face before running away. The vet can’t stop laughing. INSTANT KARMA - THE BEST!
MICKEY MOUSE COMMITS SUICIDE ON WORLD WIDE TV
The much beloved cartoon rodent might just as well have slit his own wrists, considering this shocking series of events that could conceivably take place.
First up is the DETROIT LIONS game that the whole world will be watching in a few hours. It’s the opening game of the official football season, pitting the much ballyhooed LIONS against the reigning world champs whoever that is. Like I said, tennis is more my thing...
Anyway, let’s hypothetically say THE DETROIT LIONS demolish their inferior opponents tonight and go on to win every remaining game of the season. This would put THE DETROIT LIONS in the Super Bowl, right?
Immediately after the big Super Bowl win, reporters always ask the winning quarterback: “You just won the Super Bowl! What are you going to do next?” The usual response is “I’m going to DISNEYWORLD!” But this time is different, and quarterback Goff says: “I’m going to the HAUNTED HOUSES IN DETROIT. It’s a party like no other!”
SEPTEMBER 3, 2023 SUNDAY 7 PM - ALLEN PARK DECLARES HALLOWEEN TO BE CELEBRATED ON LABOR DAY
ALLEN PARK? Isn’t that where THE DETROIT LIONS are based? And what in the world do HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS have to do with THE DETROIT LIONS?
Nothing. Or maybe everything.
So I went shopping in Allen Park a few days ago to get more coffee...Michigan Cherry to be exact. It’s on sale at Meijer until Sept. 9th.
But before I could make my way to the coffee aisle, a giant display within spitting distance of the entrance commanded my attention. A fresh pallet of BLAKE’S APPLE CIDER beckoned, available in half or full gallon sizes. At only $7.99 for the full gallon, it’s a bargain.
It took every ounce of effort I could muster to resist buying it...and then chug-a-lugging in the parking lot...this is PURE NECTAR OF THE GODS after all for Christ’s sake!
And the prominent Blake’s display wasn’t the only sign of autumn at Meijer, with candy galore piled high & mighty... the HALLOWEEN SUPPLIES stocked in the Seasonal Section...
So you can see -- as far as the stores are concerned Halloween is already here and should be celebrated every day including Labor Day, right?
THE ULTIMATE ADVERTISING YOU CAN’T BUY
As you probably know, THE DETROIT LIONS (part of the NFL) moved their HQ/practice field to Allen Park several years ago. Honestly, tennis is more my thing sports-wise...but we recognize how big football is.
So THE DETROIT LIONS are a bunch of guys who aren’t actually from Detroit originally in most cases. This could even be their first time in Michigan.
And being hard-working highly athletic human beings, they need proper sustenance just as haunters do!
We haven’t been inside the Lion’s facility, but it seems likely there’s some kind of kitchen / snack area, right? So at some point somebody is bound to say something like, “Anybody else hungry? Let’s get some strawberries, blueberries and Greek yogurt.”
When that happens, a gopher would be dispatched to the nearby Meijer store to avoid fan-recognition delays. He, or she, sees the BLAKE’S APPLE CIDER display in the fresh fruit section and grabs several gallons, setting in motion a most-delightful series of events.
Back at LIONS HQ, one sip and it’s like “OMG! This is the best ever cider, where did it come from?” The label clearly says BLAKE’S in ARMADA. “Where the heck is Armada?” A GOOGLE SEARCH reveals more than the location: “Holy moly! This place is a magical haunted paradise, but it’s a few hours away. Hey GOOGLE, is there another place like this closer by?” NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD’S in Ypsilanti comes up...
Soon afterwards, LIONS players and their families could go to both BLAKE’S and WIARD’S and instantly fall in love with haunting!
Stand by for the thrilling conclusion of this ZIOPTIS FANTASY RANT...
AUGUST 29, 2023 TUESDAY 10 PM - THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE
Every year something on the haunt scene changes, usually for the better but sometimes not so much.
And so it is we sadly report that THEATRE BIZARRE will not operate this coming season, due to booking problems at Masonic Temple. https://theatrebizarre.com/
Also, we saw a different business where a major haunt has been for years. We’ll be calling them soon, stand by my little monkeys...
AUGUST 28, 2023 MONDAY 3 PM - ONE HUNDRED & TWENTY MILLION SMACKEROOS
We left it as cliffhanger about which MAJOR DETROIT MEGA HAUNT scored a major windfall recently.
Some of you probably guessed it was HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, based on their amazing history. Everything about this place screams the big time!
But you’d be wrong. “OH WAIT, it must be the other MEGA HAUNT down the block ELOISE ASYLUM” others may be thinking...wasn’t there something in the news about MILLIONS being spent there? YES, but it’s only $4 MILLION...can you believe we’re saying only $4 MILLION?
How about HAUNTED GARAGE or AZRA? Those are also MAJOR DETROIT MEGA HAUNTS, but nope it’s not either of them.
“OH! OH! It must be ROTTEN MANOR then, right?”
Nope. Enough with the guessing games. The MAJOR DETROIT MEGA HAUNT with the big score is EREBUS, which technically is in Pontiac but still considered to be in the DETROIT MARKET.
The City of Pontiac recently announced that $120 MILLION will be spent to beautify and renovate Downtown Pontiac. And that which benefits Pontiac benefits EREBUS, right? https://www.oakgov.com/Home/Components/News/News/787/2027
AUGUST 28, 2023 MONDAY 2 PM - FOREVER YOUNG
We decided on the PINK PARTY yesterday, joining the masses that have experienced the BARBIE MOVIE at Emagine Cinemas in Woodhaven.
The movie is delightful, but audiences have come to expect more than just cinematic excellence nowadays. The seating and amenities were excellent, and very similar to THE MAPLE THEATER where the last SAG/AFTRA viewing party was.
Soft drinks have free refills from an amazing self-serve dispenser, with crazy amounts of varieties. We tried the COCA COLA VANILLA and MINUTE MADE BLUEBERRY LEMONADE. Yeah, yeah...we know pop is horrible for you in general and that CANCER FEEDS ON SUGAR...but you can have anything once in a while without worry.
AUGUST 27, 2023 SUNDAY 2 PM - MOVIES ON THE CHEAP
Today is the 2nd annual NATIONAL CINEMA DAY, with movie ticket prices slashed to only $4. Whether you fancy a PINK PARTY WITH BARBIE or a SUPER SONIC OPPENHEIMER BLAST, Hollywood has you covered. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/08/25/national-cinema-day-how-to-score-4-movie-tickets-at-amc-and-regal.html
AUGUST 20, 2023 SUNDAY 4 AM - A MOUNTAIN OF MONEY
CONFIRMED: A jaw dropping record $120 MILLION has officially been allocated to spruce up the neighborhood of a MAJOR DETROIT MEGA HAUNT.
This is really big news. And you won’t hear it anywhere else.
Stay tuned my little monkeys...
AUGUST 19, 2023 SATURDAY 10 PM - A MILLION GEAR HEADS IN DETROIT CAN’T BE WRONG
Here’s yet another world record which was set locally just today:
According to various media reports, today’s WOODWARD DREAM CRUISE was the world’s largest single day automotive event ever.
Over a million people from all over the world came here to see 40,000 of the coolest rides on the planet! https://www.woodwarddreamcruise.com/about/cruise-history/
THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST
And how fitting the WOODWARD DREAM CRUISE should take place on Woodward Avenue because it’s the first paved road in the world! https://explorer.acpa.org/explorer/places/united-states/michigan/detroit/street/first-mile-of-concrete-pavement-woodward-avenue-detroit-mi/#:~:text=The%20first%20mile%20of%20concrete,at%20the%20time%20was%20%2414%2C000.
We couldn’t make it today, but there are other Detroit area classic car cruises. Here’s a collection of our photos from the TELEGRAPH CRUISE 2018: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157669985762057 And here’s the same event in 2019: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157710637009933
AUGUST 19, 2023 SATURDAY 9 PM - EREBUS SCORES SECOND BONA-FIDE WORLD RECORD
ZIOPTIS EXCLUSIVE SCOOP COMING SOON!
AUGUST 19, 2023 SATURDAY 2 AM - AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING
Holy moly! I just checked the hit list with our host/provider, and there have been just short of 31,000 hits for the last period with an average of 645 hits per day. We’ve been posting hit lists in Archive 33: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_33.shtml
AUGUST 18, 2023 FRIDAY 5 PM - HALLOWEEN IN FULL SWING THIS WEEKEND
We went to the CIRQUE PARANORMAL Fairlane Town Center show last night and felt right at home, as if we were starting our annual haunt tour early. Spooky props and actors dressed to kill greeted us with makeup rivaling what we see at HUSH or TERRORFIED FOREST. It was glorious!
The anticipation of the near-capacity crowd was high, with ominous strange sounds filling the air. Spooky portraits were projected on a scrim surrounding the stage, with ghastly transformations just before show time.
The show is a clever mix of scary and silly, with a quirky lead character we recognized from last years show. His outfit is different, but he still sports his distinctive red basketball shoes.
The show is rated R, with skimpy outfits for the gals but no actual nudity. There were only two lines with salty language.
Haunt fans are sure to love this! https://paranormalcirque.com/The-Tour
AUGUST 12, 2023 SATURDAY 2 PM - TRICK OR TREAT!
With the first CIRQUE PARANORMAL Michigan shows having hit Ann Arbor on August 10th, it’s almost like the Halloween season has already come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdFVVqgY5K0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuYKAi2W_lk&t=8s
We’re planning on going during their Dearborn shows, which will be Aug. 17 - Aug. 20th. https://paranormalcirque.com/The-Tour
It appears as though they’re using the same infrastructure as they had for their CIRQUE ITALIA shows last year. We went to those shows at Fairlane in Dearborn and at Briarwood in Ann Arbor. They were both fabulous! Here are the pictures we posted from the Fairlane show: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72177720300900927
After the Dearborn show their “mermaid” introduced herself, and what a delightful young lady she is!
AUGUST 11, 2023 FRIDAY 2 AM - MAJOR ENTERTAINMENT MOGUL DETHRONES OHIO & DECLARES DETROIT IS ONCE AGAIN THE HAUNT CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
We may stand corrected. In the interest of reporting the truth, last season we said that Ohio had replaced Michigan as Haunt Capital of the World.
Well, things can change...
Not only that, the Halloween celebration in Michigan started yesterday!
As Mr. Spock says, it’s illogical to assume all conditions remain stable. Here’s what’s happening:
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL has a new spinoff show, CIRQUE PARANORMAL which is on tour right now. In a nod to the haunt season, this spooky show is chock full of HAUNTED GOODNESS. https://paranormalcirque.com/
But the tour includes only one stop in Ohio, whereas Michigan has THREE.
The brass at CIRQUE no doubt have a Cracker Jack staff who decide the tour dates.
So you can see -- Michigan is obviously a priority for them but not Ohio. Michigan audiences are legendary in the entertainment world, and that includes haunted attractions.
ALL HAIL THE MITTEN! Take THAT you Buckeye Bas....you Buckeye Bas...Buckeye Basket Weavers! (;
JULY 28, 2023 FRIDAY 2 PM - DISNEY DIES AND GOES TO HELL
Okay, maybe not exactly...but indeed today is the DAY THAT DISNEY GETS THEIR SPOOK ON with the release of HAUNTED MANSION in theaters today: https://www.fandango.com/haunted-mansion-2023-228958/movie-overview?gclsrc=aw.ds&gclid=CjwKCAjwzo2mBhAUEiwAf7wjko1sbg405PYb9jOQ5Dd4pWoQ2LnS7 qMMvYlFchMH9nMq-xM2bRQtFBoCXD4QAvD_BwE
Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, HAUNTED MANSION is about a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters.
The all-star cast includes such HOLLYWOOD GIANTS as Danny Devito, Tiffany Hadish, Jamie Lee Curtis, Winona Ryder, and Jared Leto.
The fact that Disney would release such a major effort like this pre-season bodes well for the haunt industry.
****SIDE BAR****The original HAUNTED MANSION was part of Disneyland starting in 1969. Many people mistakenly believe this was the first haunted attraction in the USA. But MUTILATION MANSION in MADISON HEIGHTS hit the scene in 1966, setting the stage for a major new entertainment industry to take root and grow. The JAYCEE’S were behind this effort, so we’re all in their debt.
JULY 6, 2023 THURSDAY 11:11 PM - TESTING 1,2,3
Whew! I just updated the “other side” of our computer to Windows 10 to accommodate a new AI photo processing system. Thank goodness it didn’t upset the side of the computer that runs the Zioptis website.
Stay tuned for an exclusive ZIOPTIS HAUNT SCOOP!
JUNE 2, 2023 FRIDAY 10 PM - KA BOOM!
Oh boy! It’s FIREWORKS IN GROSSE ILE & CENTER LINE tomorrow Saturday June 3, 2023. https://www.grosseileislandfest.com/ https://centerlinefestival.org/
As always, check here for the best fireworks listings: www.MichiganFireworks.com
THE PHOENIX THEORY will be the musical headliner Saturday night at GROSSE ILE ISLAND FEST. We’ve seen them before, and they’re a top notch cover band that has a really slick show. https://www.tptband.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwfP5AkqyF8&t=121s
CENTER LINE is a small city with an unusual border line. It literally forms a small box within the city limits of Warren. We actually went to see fireworks at this festival many moons ago, and it was big fun!
MAY 29, 2023 MONDAY 12 NOON - HONORING THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! And always remember:
Our flag does not fly because the wind blows it...
It flies with the last breath of every soldier who died defending it.
MAY 13, 2023 SATURDAY 9 PM - ROBOT BABIES TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN!
Now playing on THE CW - WKBD TV 50 DETROIT: “Totally Weird & Funny” with Airplane Laundry, Robot Babies & Pets Who Clean the House
We’ve never seen this show before, could be new. It’s good to see Halloween references in the media off-season. Halloween, and the big fun it brings, is always in the back of our minds!
APRIL 24, 2023 MONDAY 8 PM - BUFFY BACK IN ACTION WITH HALLOWEEN SHENANIGANS
NOW PLAYING ON COMET TV (50.2. DETROIT): BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER episode “Halloween: Buffy loses her slaying ability while trick-or-treating with neighborhood children.”
MARCH 20, 2023 MONDAY 2 PM - BACK IN ACTION
SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR is awesome in the starring role as a CHOSEN ONE trying to be a normal American teenager, despite her intense dealings with demons and dark forces.
FEBRUARY 18, 2023 SATURDAY 1 PM - A NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE
First, a quick history lesson for the youngsters out there. Before KINDLE and AUDIOBOOKS (aka TALKING BOOKS), people used to go to buildings called BOOK STORES where you could buy a printed version of an AUDIOBOOK.
You didn’t have to have a USB port or even electricity to read it, only your eyes and some sunlight...
Anyway, back then an author named ALVIN TOFLER wrote and printed a book called FUTURE SHOCK.
He made many predictions, including one he called “overchoice.” To illustrate the point, the paperback version of the book was available in various colors.
Sure enough, time eventually proved him right. As an example, go to the drug store when you need something for a headache. There are so many choices your head will spin!
But overchoice also exists in the haunted attraction scene. We call that a nice problem to have! Check on Youtube and you’ll find many different videos for TRANSWORLD.
FEBRUARY 15, 2023 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - TRANSWORLD GHOULISH GOODIES
If you had a haunt and a pile of cash burning a hole in your pocket, there’s a good chance you found your way to TRANSWORLD recently in ST. LOUIS. It’s the world’s biggest Halloween trade show!
A killer haunt needs killer props, and actors of course. Technology has made great advances through the years. For example, THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN once spent a small fortune on a single beam green laser. Fast forward to today, and for about $300 you can get a tri-color laser projector from CHAUVET: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ScorpDRGBILS--chauvet-dj-scorpion-dual-rgb-plus-ils-aerial-laser-effect
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_XCISp4hE4 CHAUVET DEMO
Of course, lighting is only part of the equation in haunted attractions. After all, most haunters don’t look to see which brand of lighting effects units are being used. They’re too busy being WOWED by the props being lit, which is as it should be.
THE ULTIMATE PROP JUNKIE?
Soon, we’ll be calling a prominent haunt operator that could easily be the world’s most devoted to haunted prop excellence and diversity. Some of you know exactly who this is already. But either way, stand by as this should be quite interesting!
FEBRUARY 14, 2022 TUESDAY 2 PM - LOVE AMERICAN STYLE
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Oh boy, the big day is here and chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is...too much of course...but do enjoy some with your sweetie.
HUSH and ELOISE ASYLUM are open tonight for Valentine Haunting!
Sadly, my haunt partner has taken ill with possible COVID or FLU so we won’t be going. For the first time in years, she’s called off work. And if you’re not feeling well, please do NOT go haunting tonight. The pandemic is not over, and people are still getting sick and dying although not as much as before.
But for the majority of you haunting should be top priority tonight. Make it a Valentine’s Day to remember!
FEBRUARY 13, 2023 MONDAY 5 PM - SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
TRANSWORLD HALLOWEEN & ATTRACTIONS SHOW was last week, so many haunts are experimenting with new goodies they bought there.
We looked at many YouTube videos people made at the show and posted a few links. Two of the names we kept hearing were DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED & SCAREFACTORY who both had major displays in THE DARK ZONE where it’s lights out.
BUCKEYE BROS. AT SCAREFACTORY
DISTORTIONS is from COLORADO, but SCAREFACTORY is our local darling of the haunt prop suppliers hailing from COLUMBUS, OHIO. We consider Ohio to be our BUCKEYE BROTHERS in the quest for haunted excellence.
ATLAS SHRUGGED PART 3 COMING!
FEBRUARY 9, 2023 THURSDAY 2 PM - BLOODY VALENTINE’S FUN
ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND is also on board with big thrills for Valentine’s Day Weekend and on Feb. 14th too. https://www.thenewsherald.com/2023/02/09/eloise-asylum-hosts-special-and-spooky-valentines-events/ https://eloiseasylum.com/
FEBRUARY 8, 2023 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - VALENTINE’S DAY DELUXE
Love is in the air! But what is the best Valentine Date ever? If you’re the guy, it’s up to you to come up with the answer right? Flowers and dinner at the restaurant are the usual fare, probably $100 or more...yawn...
No, not the album by JANIS JOPLIN. It’s an invitation from HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND to “THROW OUT THE ROUTINE VALENTINE DATES AND DO SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY & THRILLING!”
BE THE HERO, NOT A ZERO
For less than $100, you and your sweetie can have a truly memorable experience haunting at HUSH. Even better, you don’t have to wait until next week because HUSH will be open for THREE days: Feb. 10 & 11 this weekend and also Feb. 14 on Valentine’s Day. www.valentinehauntdetroit.com
Here’s a “SERVING SUGGESTION” from Zioptis for extra impact: Make this a surprise journey, keeping the details a secret. The anticipation and delayed gratification will kick in for an experience your date will not be able to forget! You’re welcome.
FEBRUARY 6, 2023 MONDAY 2 PM - GOOD TO THE LAST DROP
Yes, this time it is about the coffee.
But what does that have to do with haunted attractions? Nothing exactly, but listen up anyway.
We already mentioned coffee as being a SUPERFOOD along with DARK CHOCOLATE and BLUEBERRIES.
Unfortunately, many of us add things to coffee that aren’t so healthy like sugar and fake creamers. But my trusty partner just found a fix for this dilemma, and you won’t sacrifice any of the benefits.
She found a company offering healthy creamers for coffee, and has already tried a few of them with thumbs up big time. https://lairdsuperfood.com/
Even better, many of their products have MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) which are thought to help ward off Alzheimer's and help with weight loss.
FEBRUARY 5, 2023 SUNDAY 2 PM - GOOD TO THE LAST DROP
No, not the hazelnut coffee I’m sipping with cream & no sugar.
It’s the last day of TRANSWORLD which is today. Thanks to all the videos, we got a glimpse of all the new spectacular spooky stuff.
The costumes and masks have become more specialized and plentiful as we noted earlier. With literally thousands of choices, almost anything you can imagine has been created and is for sale.
The masks are impressive, many made with moving jaws and silicone for unrivaled realism.
We’re glad to see that costumes and masks have increased through the years at TRANSWORLD. After all, you need more than just killer props to make a killer haunt!
Soon, haunt operators will make their way back home and to their haunted attractions with new plans to once again WOW the masses. We can’t wait!
FEBRUARY 4, 2023 SATURDAY 6 PM - DROPPING LIKE FLIES
Holy moly! YOUTUBE is blowing up with new videos from TRANSWORLD, links below. We watched the one from CARPET BAGGER, and it featured lots of stuff we didn’t see on other videos. We saw only the beginning of the one from ECOOPS. There are lots more too...this is a really big deal!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r_0-fAsM9c CARPET BAGGER
FEBRUARY 4, 2023 SATURDAY 2 PM - TRANSWORLD VIDEO DROPS
Here’s a new highlights video from BRICK THUNDER that starts with a bang at DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA5xeGYfMSo
And here’s a FULL WALKTHROUGH from BRICK THUNDER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oA_kuGwAmY
TRANSWORLD is the world’s biggest sellers show for haunted attractions, with customers from all over the planet!
Today is probably the biggest single day for the convention which runs 4 days, Feb. 2 - 5. SCARE FACTORY from OHIO, DISTORTIONS and POISON PROPS are totally killing it!
FEBRUARY 4, 2023 SATURDAY 4 AM - STEP RIGHT UP TO THE BIGGEST SHOW IN THE WORLD
Today and tomorrow are the last days of the BIGGEST HALLOWEEN SHOW on the planet, TRANSWORLD HALLOWEEN & ATTRACTIONS SHOW in ST. LOUIS. https://www.haashow.com/
We know lots of you are there now, and we wish you grand adventures and fruitful expenditures that will help blow many minds!
The commentator on the unrestricted view YouTube video from HAUNTWORLD below makes an interesting observation about the evolution of TRANSWORLD since its inception about 14 years ago.
He said that at the start it was mostly props and large scale gags. Masks and actors accessories were virtually nonexistent. Fast forward to 2023 and many booths have something for the actor. There’s an amazing variety of Hollywood grade masks & high-tech “weapons” for the actors to wield.
There’s actually two shows at the same facility, with a CHRISTMAS SHOW in the old hockey arena area. https://www.haashow.com/
FEBRUARY 4, 2023 SATURDAY 3 AM - TRANSWORLD FULL WALK THROUGH
Here’s an unrestricted view of all the booths on the night before the show opened from HAUNTWORLD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmyGeCyhQKM
And here’s a walk through of the DARK ZONE after opening:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BIc1RCc0h4 DARK ZONE 2023
In the DARK ZONE video the stuff from POISON PROPS looks great! https://www.poisonprops.com/ And SCARE FACTORY from COLUMBUS, OHIO makes a strong showing. https://www.scarefactory.com/ SCARE FACTORY brought 4 SEMIS FULL OF NEW STUFF!
Here’s another DARK ZONE video with better picture quality featuring POISON PROPS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZigbPs-_oQg
JANUARY 31, 2023 TUESDAY 1 PM - HISTORY MYSTERY REVEALED
We’ll be getting to ATLAS SHRUGGED PART 3 soon. But so we’re all on the same page, some haunted attraction laser lighting history is in order.
You may have heard the term LIQUID SKY, but what is it and what does it have to do with haunts?
LIQUID SKY is the industry term for the effect produced when a laser beam comes in contact with fog in a dark room. The beam literally becomes 3D, and it’s very dramatic. Many concerts, including TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, use this powerful effect.
The first haunt ever to use this effect with a GREEN LASER to our knowledge was THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN in the 1990s. It was a fixed oval shape beam, producing a convincing looking tunnel when walking towards it positioned at the end of a hallway / room.
A fan was placed behind the laser, pointing away from it. This pulled air towards the laser, creating a swirling tunnel effect. Nobody had seen this before, and it was a big-time jaw dropper. Haunters marveled at how dragging their fingers through the edge of the beam revealed the air currents being disturbed.
Here are some videos that demonstrate the principle on a basic level and then advanced commercial application:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS0sV7kj-8E&t=72s 2012 RGB DEMO
THE HAUNTING spent a small fortune of many thousands of dollars for a single beam GREEN LASER in the 90s. Fast forward 20+ years, and AMERICAN DJ debuted the MICRO GALAXIAN laser projector for only $100. It uses both GREEN and RED lasers, and has selectable patterns / chasing modes. This is the unit most haunts use to this day for LIQUID SKY displays.
As with many technology items, the price eventualy came down big time. At first, only red lasers were available. When green lasers finally came, they were prohibitively expensive for most applications. And blue lasers were still mostly in planning stages, and too expensive for most.
But that too would change and last season in 2022, we saw a new first-ever to our knowledge use of BLUE LASERS for a LIQUID SKY display at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. The last room in their MIND SHAFT used BLUE LASERS for a whole new feel. It is positively sublime! KUDOS TO BW AT WIARD’S.
JANUARY 30, 2023 MONDAY 8 PM - SCIENCE IS FUN!
Something I read once about the microwave oven is that it was discovered by accident by a NASA employee. He had a chocolate bar in his shirt pocket, and noticed it warmed up when he walked past a certain piece of equipment. Further investigation led to the microwave oven.
WHY BE NORMAL?
Millions of people are happy with their microwave ovens as-is. But that’s not good enough for our wacky YouTube buddy STYROPYRO, who says “I enjoy the simple things in life: electricity, fire, and high powered lasers.”
He seems to be doing something right, because he has over two million subscribers. Behold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM9hYzJnao0
JANUARY 30, 2023 MONDAY 7 PM - R.I.P. LISA LORING
Many of you remember the TV show THE ADDAMS FAMILY, with their penchant for spooky stuff. The little girl was WEDNESDAY ADDAMS, played by actress Lisa Loring who sadly just passed away.
JANUARY 30, 2023 MONDAY 9 PM - ATLAS SHRUGGED - PART 3
THE BIGGEST BADDEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD
JANUARY 30, 2023 MONDAY 6 PM - CRAZY ADORABLE LASER GEEK
JANUARY 30, 2023 MONDAY 5 PM - THE LATEST & GREATEST
One thing ‘ya gotta love about haunted attractions is there’s always something new. People that design Halloween stuff are purposely letting their imaginations go wild. That’s what Stephen King does, right?
TRANSWORLD HALLOWEEN & ATTRACTIONS SHOW
In a few days, the major haunted attraction trade show will take place in ST. LOUIS: https://www.haashow.com/ Here’s a preview video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4zY7pP605o
One of the most popular features at TRANSWORLD is THE DARK ZONE where it’s lights out so that props with their own special lighting can be appreciated. Here’s a sample video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ird1_UNU5wc
Piggy banks are being shattered, with eager haunt operators salivating! We can’t wait to see the results next season.
JANUARY 30, 2023 MONDAY 4 PM - UNIVERSAL HORROR UNLEASHED
A new video dropped a few days ago with more info about the YEAR ROUND HAUNTED ATTRACTION in LAS VEGAS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuXex0UvD3g
JANUARY 29, 2023 SUNDAY 5 PM - IN SEARCH OF SNOW CREATURES
Earlier, we gave somewhat detailed instructions concerning the construction of anatomically correct snowmen and women. We also recommended that you ignore them.
But the snow was just too perfect...the packing consistency just right...it was practically screaming “DO SOMETHING SILLY” with me. And so it is that we proudly commemorate these PROUD MICHIGANDERS:
We also saw a short local news feature on WDIV-TV Channel 4 DETROIT about snow creatures other than the traditional snowman.
We can’t find a link to it. But it’s easy to remember our fave and the most featured creation which as I recall was by a 12 year old girl in Garden City. It was a GIANT PINK CAT, bigger than her! It was too cute, hope some of you saw it too.
JANUARY 29, 2023 SUNDAY 3 PM - THE BIG GAME
That’s tennis of course. The AUSTRALIAN OPEN kicks butt!
JANUARY 29, 2023 SUNDAY 2 PM - ATLAS SHRUGGED - PART 2
Earlier we talked about THE BIGGEST BADDEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD, and that it would be in Michigan...NOT Lost Vegas, right?
Some of you probably thought we were referring to ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND which is slated for major expansion with $4 MILLION in the budget.
YES, this is a really big deal. And YES, we totally applaud them for doing this.
But actually, and as we earlier reported, a big chunk of the money is for a hotel, restaurant, and speakeasy.
So where exactly in Michigan will the supposed BIGGEST BADDEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD be? Stay tuned for ATLAS SHRUGGED - PART 3.
JANUARY 27, 2023 FRIDAY 8 PM - FIRE & ICE
Brrrr! The wind was whipping up a storm earlier during a Mexican carryout trip in the MAGIC BUS. For those of you with car problems, we wish you quick resolution to the problem and that you’re warm and safe. Curl up with some hot chocolate, a romance novel and your pet cat or dog...ah, that’s better!
JANUARY 26, 2023 THURSDAY 4 PM - ZOMBIE WOOF
CAT’S CRADLE - ICE NINE EXTINCTION DISTINCTION
JANUARY 26, 2023 THURSDAY 2 PM - EMERGENCY PREPARATIONS
No, not for the snow...that’s all good and fun.
We’re talking about the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE that is coming soon.
As aficionados of haunted attractions, this is not a surprise.
But still you need to prepare, so here’s a check list: 1) What 3 things will you take with you and why? 2) Who will be on your team? 3) Which music will you listen to while the festivities go on?
Remember, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Don’t be on the wrong side of history! And always remember, one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.
BTW, for those of you who foolishly ignored our advice not to make anatomically correct snowmen and women,
way to go shame on you!
JANUARY 25, 2023 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - LET IT SNOW!
Michigan is definitely a WATER WINTER WONDERLAND today with lots of white gold covering the area, enough to cancel lots of boring stuff as a SNOW DAY is declared by many.
So what to do instead? You needn’t go any farther than your own front yard for one of our favorites, building a family of SNOW PEOPLE. Don’t stop after just a snowman. He needs companionship! A wife and a kid at least, and maybe a dog or cat to boot would round out the package.
Attention to detail is important here, just like at leading haunted attractions.
Most snowmen lack the commitment to excellence and realism needed for the truly spectacular reactions that your masterpieces will command. Let the inferior masses settle for mediocre results by following our simple instructions.
FAKE SNOWMEN - REAL CONSEQUENCES
Stop reading this now! Do not follow below instructions:
You’ll need a few extra items beyond the basics already needed for a snowman/snowwoman such as a carrot for the nose and coal briquettes for the eyes.
For the snowman, get an extra carrot or better yet a cucumber and position it appropriately. For the snowwoman you’ll need steel wool, 2 grapefruit and a red Sharpie brand pen. You can figure out what to do with these items. Also you need a sculpting tool, which can be improvised from ordinary objects such as a comb.
Once your masterpiece is finished post pictures on social media, then sit back and relax as your work is done. You’re welcome.
JANUARY 23, 2023 MONDAY 5 PM - ATLAS SHRUGGED - PART 2
s THE BIGGEST BADDEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD
I’LL HUFF & I’LL PUFF & I’LL BLOW YOUR HOUSE DOWN
THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT WEE WEE WEE
ALL THE WAY HOME
REVENGE OF GOLDILOCKS & LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
THE BIG BAD WOLF CONFESSES & BEGS FOR MERCY
JANUARY 23, 2023 MONDAY 3 PM - http://www.zioptis.com/html/2022.shtml
JANUARY 22, 2023 SUNDAY 7 PM - THE CAT & THE FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Coming, maybe. Featuring possible key concepts such as:
FLUFFY’S REVENGE - SICK PUPPY DOG SOUP
BOKONONISM - THE FORBIDDEN RELIGION
BASTARDIZED NOTIONS & THE MEN WHO FACILITATE THEM
ICE NINE EXTINCTION DISTINCTION A GO-GO
Our legal staff has advised us to not post this extreme article. We always shut up when the lawyers tell us to!
JANUARY 22, 2023 SUNDAY 2 PM - AND THE COW JUMPED OVER THE MOON
HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR! Oh boy, break out the champagne & SUNNY SEA brand KIPPER SNACKS. It’s time to celebrate like tomorrow was once yesterday.
The dancing & prancing will go all night, or until the cows come home and/or the street lights come on. An estimated more than two billion journeys will take place over the course of this event!
HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE
We are aware that the Chinese say 2023 is the year of the rabbit.
However, the Vietnamese people say that 2023 is the year of the cat.
CAT SCRATCH FEVER / COSMIC BLOWOUT
One leading theory is that the Vietnamese made their own interpretation of the Chinese word for rabbit as “mao” which sounds like “meo” which means cat. The Year of the Cat is believed to bring good luck and smooth sailing in Vietnam.
But we have it on good authority that a more insidious reason is the truth. It seems an Evil Rat acting on behalf of rabbits tricked the altruistic cat into missing an important banquet with the Jade Emperor. With PUFF PUFF absent and unaware of the goings on she was not given a year, and thus began the antipathy between cats and rabbits. Poor PUFF PUFF...
Regardless of which story is correct, you are invited to join the fun. Just go to China, and high-five everyone you see. Party on!
JANUARY 21, 2023 SATURDAY 7 PM - THE BIGGEST BASH ON PLANET EARTH!
No doubt some of you out there have planned a BIRTHDAY BASH or some other celebratory event, whether at a haunt or other venue.
Either way, to make it happen people will travel from Point A to Point B with trips of various sorts be it a journey by planes, trains, or automobiles.
THE BIGGEST PARTY EVER IN THE WORLD
The bigger the bash the bigger the number of journeys involved, right?
What if I told you soon there will be TWO BILLION JOURNEYS made as people make it to a MEGA BASH TO END ALL MEGA BASHES?
Oh by the way, the party is put on by a cat. It starts tomorrow and you are invited!
DETAILS COMING SUNDAY
JANUARY 21, 2023 SATURDAY 4 PM - ATLAS SHRUGGED - PART 1
Atlas is the dude who is so strong he carries the world on his shoulders, much as THE BIGGEST BADDEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD would. It’s destiny.
But which already famous haunt could pull this off?
WHO IS JOHN GALT?
Never mind that. The dude we’re talking about has the initials RJ. (For security, we use only initials of haunt owners.)
PART 2 COMING SOON!
JANUARY 21, 2023 SATURDAY 2 AM - BLASTING CAP SOUP
Some haunts are bombastic, while others are more subtle and spooky. Others combine these things, and also throw in extreme silliness and “private jokes” only some will get.
TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY is one such haunt, that runs the full gamut for big-time fabulous fun. A “private joke” that some won’t get at TERROR ON 27 was an old TV set, displaying an image from an old black & white show called “Leave It To Beaver.”
CONNOISSEURS OF CRAZINESS
Whatever approach a haunt takes isn’t as important as how well they do it. Vive la difference!
JANUARY 20, 2023 FRIDAY 3 PM -
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Forget those bothersome New Years Resolutions. We all know you’re not going to follow them.
People are creatures of habit after all. Meat’s meat and a man’s gotta eat.
With that in mind we’ve been on the lookout for easy & alluring ways to accomplish impossibly big things.
NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR
For good reason, there are laws against dispensing medical advice without a medical license.
But there’s no law against suggesting people eat certain foods already widely considered to be safe.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
And no, ice cream is not one of them. Sorry.
But fear not great crusader, decadent deliciousness still awaits and better yet your real doctor will likely approve.
JARGON MUMBO JUMBO
This info comes condensed from the first half of a YouTube video from a real medical doctor.* He advocates using food as powerful preventative medicine, to avoid a world of hurt and extend your life. That means you’ll be able to continue enjoying haunted attractions for many moons!
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT & DRINK
Here are the first 3 MIRACLE FOODS that your body will thank you for consuming: 1) COFFEE 2) BLUEBERRIES 3) DARK CHOCOLATE
And you were thinking it was going to be something yucky?! haha
I’ll skip most of the detailed reasons, except for one interesting analogy the doctor gave.
He mentions shoelaces, and how they have a protective sheath at the end to keep the strands together. If that sheath wears away or breaks off, the frayed string loses its integrity. There’s a similar process related to aging in your body which involves TELOMERES acting much as the sheath in shoelaces.
The typical American life-style wears away the telomeres, leading to big problems. Fortunately, science has identified a miracle food that restores telomeres. Drum roll...it’s DARK CHOCOLATE! Get a bar with minimum 70% cacao. Only $2 at Aldi, and it’s top quality from Germany.
The “FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH” in a chocolate bar? Sign me up...
* = We’ll post a link to the video if we can locate it.
JANUARY 20, 2023 FRIDAY 2 PM - NOPE
Just so there’s no confusion, we’d like to go on record and declare that we have not worked for GOLDMAN SACHS or CITIGROUP.
Also, we are not Jewish or “Jew-ish.” We make no claim to be volleyball stars, and did not start a fake animal charity.
Thank you. We now return to sanity. Maybe.
JANUARY 19, 2023 THURSDAY 2 PM - THE BIGGEST BADDEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD
Recently, we reported on the new year-round MEGA HAUNT TO END ALL MEGA HAUNTS opening in Las Vegas. Forget that.
TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM
What if we told you another haunt could dwarf the new Universal Studios effort by a country mile to become the LARGEST HAUNT IN THE WORLD, and that it’s right here in Michigan?
INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE
And what if it made a quantum leap above all others, using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to come up with an ever-evolving haunt on-the-fly every day?
THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT WEE WEE WEE
Would that be big news? Stay tuned my little monkeys...
JANUARY 15, 2023 SUNDAY 9 PM - AND THE HITS KEEP COMING
Holy moly! Just checked the hit list & copied it to Archives 33: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_33.shtml
It means a lot to us that the haunt community is tuning in off-season, as we continue to report on evolving conditions / situations in the industry.
JANUARY 15, 2023 SUNDAY 2 PM - BIGGER, BADDER, BETTER?
So a new year-round MEGA HAUNT TO END ALL MEGA HAUNTS is opening in Las Vegas.
That’s great news and we should all jump for joy, right?
I mean, this is going to be incredibly spectacular with all the latest & greatest Jewish Space Lasers and 50 foot tall animatronics connected to earth shaking PA systems!!!
It’s gotta be incredible, right? Maybe. But it could be a real yawner, despite all the bells and whistles.
Will there be a fascinating theme, like for example an adventure through the streets of New Orleans as featured at HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND?
Or will it have a killer story line, like being an unwitting victim of mad scientists conducting time travel experiments gone awry as featured at EREBUS in PONTIAC?
Will it have memorable characters, like DR. STRACH and his crackpot medical staff of lunatics as featured at THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR? Will it have genuine antique props, as featured at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY?
Will it combine magic & comedy to great effect and have a “room” that can rise 20 feet in the air, as featured at SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE?
Will it have a fabulous hayride & captivating small museum, as featured at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI? Will it have world class miniature spooky art pieces, as featured at SHAWHAVEN FARMS in MASON? We could go on, but you get the point.
In short, will the new whiz bang Hollywood-style Haunt have soul??? Having a haunt with all flash and no substance would miss the mark.
Look, we’re all smart enough to know the dynamics of this situation are totally different compared to most haunt markets. Las Vegas is built on excesses of every possible kind on a constant 24/7 basis.
There are many big players looking to expand to increase their market share. If that cuts into other existing haunts...well, too bad that’s tough beans...life in the Big City get used to it, buster! https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=haunted+attractions&find_loc=Las+Vegas%2C+NV
HURRY HURRY CLOSING NEVER
But do we really need the new Universal Haunt to be 365 days a year? Isn’t that a bit excessive?
Actually, no. The bulk of their business comes from randomly arriving out-of-towners, so they need to be open everyday.
Aside from that, there are good reasons most haunts are only open in October. The limited availability induces an urgency to not miss out. Then add the DELAYED GRATIFICATION factor and it makes for a powerful emotional mix that’s hard to resist and oh so delicious! *
Similarly, in sales there’s a tactic known as the “imminent time close.” The salesman says the product / service is on sale now, but it could be gone tomorrow.
* = This reminds me of the famous old movie “THE WIZARD OF OZ.” For many years, it was shown only once per year on nationwide TV. This made it a big event and a memorable shared experience, similar to people on exciting haunt journeys together. If the movie was shown every day its impact would be greatly diminished.
JANUARY 14, 2023 SATURDAY 7 PM - THE GREAT PUMPKIN EXPLODES
Here’s yet more evidence that Halloween keeps getting bigger & bigger.
It’s the ULTIMATE YEAR ROUND HAUNTED ATTRACTION as part of a major 20-acre expansion at AREA 15 in LAS VEGAS by UNIVERSAL STUDIOS.
We’ve seen seasonal haunted attractions before from Universal Studios in October on THE ELLEN SHOW.
This is not the first time a YEAR ROUND HAUNTED ATTRACTION has operated. DR. PHOBIA’S HAUNTED HOUSE at the UNIVERSAL MALL in WARREN was the first year-round haunt to our knowledge.
110,000 SQUARE FEET OF MADNESS / MONEY GROWING ON TREES
DR. PHOBIA’S wasn’t exactly a game changer, but this could be. We don’t have the figures, but we’re willing to bet this will be the highest-budget ever haunted attraction. Imagine being told the sky’s the limit so go crazy making the most insane ever haunt, and then it’ll be open 365 days per year. That seems to be the story here, and what a doozie it is!
JANUARY 14, 2023 SATURDAY 3 PM - TOILING & TINKERING
YUM! Sipping on some pumpkin spice coffee with cream & a splash of cinnamon. *
Yet even as we relax in the comfort of The Mitten, haunt operators are busy making plans for new scenes / gags to WOW us with next season. Some of those plans will develop in-house, while others will come at trade shows.
NEW & IMPROVED!
TransWorld’s Halloween & Attractions show is only a couple weeks away, and piggy banks are being smashed in anticipation of bigger and better haunt props, costumes and such. https://www.haashow.com/
KID IN THE CANDY STORE
Some of the most creative twisted minds in the industry will have a new crop of haunted goodies on display and for sale.
Haunt operators from all over will converge and mingle, AND WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THE RESULTS!
JANUARY 13, 2023 FRIDAY 3 PM - COLLECTIVE MEMORIES DU JOURS
I was talking to my partner, and she was able to fill in some blanks about THE STEVE at the mystery haunt with the CRAZY AUDIO we talked about earlier...
She said the haunt was probably at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in a corner of the lot. And THE STEVE went on bigger haunt success in Dundee later, which reminds me of another wild adventure many moons ago...
There was some kind of HAUNTED CAMP OUT WEEKEND going on in Dundee, similar to another event there we’d been to before. My partner couldn’t go, so I went by myself.
But on my way, a horrible storm came in. I was on I-94 WEST just approaching BELLEVILLE (home of The Pumpkin Factory). The rain was no longer falling down, it was flying horizontally in giant sheets of water that shook the car. I aborted the trip and turned around for safety’s sake.
Later on local TV news they said a TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN DUNDEE!
JANUARY 13, 2023 FRIDAY 2 PM - SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTED IN ZIOPTIS MATTER
CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS that pre-date the ZIOPTIS HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE have just been found in an unauthorized fish processing facility.
These previously unreleased original manuscripts have nothing to do with haunted attractions per se, and are exceptionally silly according to a source who would speak only under condition of anonymity.
Coming soon pending review by legal staff.
JANUARY 13, 2023 FRIDAY 1 PM - O LUCKY DAY
HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!
Who says it’s unlucky? Forget that. You could get rich today. I mean REALLY RICH like with truckloads of cash, well over A BILLION DOLLARS!
Your luck could turn on a dime, and it will only cost you $2.
Just go to the party store and buy a ticket for the MEGA MILLIONS thingie tonight. Granted, the odds are probably better that you’ll get hit by lightning...several times. But unless you try, your odds are ZERO.
So after you win and become a TRILLIONAIRE, you’ll need to adopt a new lifestyle to reflect your new status. And that’s where we come in.
The first thing you’ll want to do is not tell anybody, except your pet dog or cat. Humans are unreliable, but Bowser or Fluffy will never betray you.
If you run a business, for example a car repair shop, keep it open but with some unannounced changes. Customers will still pay for repairs, but later find that $100,000 has been mysteriously deposited into their bank account. All employees also get mystery deposits.
Only Bowser and Fluffy know your secret. If anyone questions you about the generous mysterious deposits, you say nothing and only smirk. Their happy confusion is your reward.
JANUARY 11, 2023 WEDNESDAY 11:11 AM - THE MISSING LINK
Happy 1/11 11/11!
There’s a unique “Family Tree” to the haunt community. Sometimes offshoots lead to new haunts, and sometimes people simply leave the industry to pursue new avenues.
Either way, eventually all haunts sing their FINAL SWAN SONG and vanish. Sometimes we know what happened, and mention it when adding them to the “Closed” section which now has 138 haunts listed. But we know there are even more haunts that closed which are not on the list.
For example, there was a haunt we always went to on the night we hit THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN on M-52 I think off of M-50...not sure of what city. It was a portable, modular haunt that sat in an empty field.
They had a wind powered flying sock that danced around with a herky-jerky motion to attract attention. The show was excellent, and I remember lots of shag carpet covered walls. But the thing that stood out the most was the clever use of their sound system. Spooky music and such was interspersed with live on-the-fly custom taunting from the head honcho, Steve as I recall.
They used a pro audio special effects unit to do crazy stuff to his voice, including pitch bending to give him an impossibly low voice. This was the first time we had seen this done, and the results captivated many happy haunters.
But try as we might, we just can’t remember the name of this haunt. It must have been before 2006, which is the earliest year appearing in “Reviews” which used to say “Ratings” before we did away with the 5 STAR rating scale in 2009.
We started the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE in 1999. Unfortunately we’ve lost the reviews/ratings from 1999 to 2005 where this mystery haunt must have appeared.
So what happened to Steve? Did he go on to make other haunts? Did he take his audio processor with him?
Years later, HOUSE OF FEAR in HAZEL PARK also used a pitch-bending audio processor for on-the-fly custom taunting. But the head honcho at HOUSE OF FEAR was named Tom, so we doubt that Steve was involved.
JANUARY 9, 2023 MONDAY 7 PM - PAY NO ATTENTION, PLEASE
Do not read the below article “WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR.” Thank you very much.
JANUARY 9, 2023 MONDAY 6 PM - WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR
Earlier, we raised the question of total haunts ever in Michigan versus Ohio. But that’s not the only unanswered question we left you with.
We also hinted there could be devious witches lurking in society, harboring secret agendas whilst hiding in plain sight as employees in respectable establishments such as fish stores or tennis ball factories.
Clearly, much confusion surrounds these issues so let’s get to the “nuts & bolts” straight away with some cold, hard facts: *
1. In 2022, there were 127 haunts in Ohio and 76 haunts in Michigan.
2. Zioptis has documented the closing of 138 haunts, with all but a few in Michigan. However, we’re missing some closed Michigan haunts which offsets the Ohio Closed listings.
3. Naughty witches with evil cat operatives have been confirmed to be working under cover at local respected establishments, which may or may not include haunted attractions. Girls just wanna have fun. **
Okay, now that we agree on the facts we can have a meaningful discussion.
If you add 138 (defunct) haunts to 76 (current) haunts you get a total of 214. 214 is a much bigger number than 127, right? Say “yes” or you will be punished by a mild electric shock delivered through your keyboard. ***
However, nobody to our knowledge has tabulated the number of haunts closed in Ohio. So any estimate can be disputed, and relegated to the status of FAKE NEWS and/or ALTERNATIVE FACTS.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, one often rightfully assumes to have the upper hand in any given situation.
With that in mind, we would be inclined to hypothetically claim that MICHIGAN IS THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS EVER TO EXIST IN ANY US STATE! Prove us wrong, I dare ‘ya...can anybody provide an accurate list of defunct haunts in Ohio? Email us @ ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com smarty pants!
As to the issue of naughty witches, we plead The Fifth Amendment. However, you may find guidance at your local church, synagogue, temple, mosque, abbey, basilica, sanctuary, shrine, pagoda or mission.
* = We will follow the facts, wherever they may lead and regardless of how inconvenient they may be.
** = Do not disturb or hinder progress of girls having fun, under penalty of a thousand lashes with a wet noodle. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s awfully annoying.
*** = Statement may or may not be true.
MINUS A KIDNEY & HALF YOUR LIVER
TWIZZLER’S RUN GOES AWRY
BLASTING CAP SOUP
JANUARY 9, 2023 MONDAY 3 PM - NUT SACK SPLATTER BLAST / BAMBI’S REVENGE
Whew! Back from Lansing, where things went well. But the journey almost ended before we even got out of Detroit in a way we never would’ve imagined.
Gotta jump on 96 WEST for a road trip to Lansing...which way to 96 is best? Telegraph with all the lights, M-39 Southfield Freeway a little out of the way, or I-94 WEST to 275 NORTH/96 WEST?
It’s a coin toss, we got on I-94...LESS THAN A MINUTE LATER...off to the side on the left just past the giant football bridge...it can’t be...it IS...a full grown deer about 10 feet away from the fast lane of I-94...traffic is heavy and sure enough we’re in the fast lane doing 70 + MPH...
ALL CREATURES GREAT & SMALL
Bambi is confused. She just wants to have dinner grazing on the tall grass, then go home to her needy offspring.
Her “home” is a very thin strip of trees, bushes and such between eastbound & westbound freeway traffic. She had no choice in the matter. The selection was made for her when she was born, probably within a hundred feet of where she stood now next to I-94 as we almost tragically met in the worst possible way.
Nobody in their right mind wants to kill an innocent peace-loving creature great or small. (Except of course evil cats serving as familiars to cute but devious wicked witches.) * haha (;
BUCKEYE BRILLIANCE & COMPASSION
In our many haunt journeys through Michigan and Ohio we’ve seen literally hundreds of deer collisions, all of them in Michigan. The OHIO TURNPIKES seem to have been designed around deer habitats. KUDOS TO OHIO TRAFFIC OFFICIALS!
Sheesh...we just did it again, admitting and even emphasizing that OHIO SURPASSES MICHIGAN.
This time it’s nothing directly to do with haunts...but that reminds me of something else that came up with my fabulous partner...so we were lamenting about how Detroit is no longer the HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.
The truth is the truth and not open to interpretation.
FAKE NEWS / FANCY DOUBLE TALK / ALTERNATIVE FACTS
But then my partner asked me a question I couldn’t answer: Between Michigan & Ohio, which state has the longest running total of haunted attractions?
* = Statement may or may not be true, and may or may not refer to somebody already officially issued a silly nickname.
JANUARY 6, 2023 FRIDAY 8 PM - ROAD TRIP
We’re off to Lansing, will be back by Monday.
JANUARY 6, 2023 FRIDAY 7 PM - THE HOUSE IN DISARRAY
This hasn’t happened in over a hundred years!
METAL SHOP SKIN GRAFT
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?
THE SECRET AGENDA OF CATS TO CONQUER TRUMP
Coming later pending review by legal staff.
JANUARY 6, 2023 FRIDAY 6 PM - THE WAY OF WATER
No, not the latest & greatest AVATAR 3D MOVIE.
It’s something we absolutely loved at MOONLIGHT MANOR at BONADEO FARMS in HIGHLAND TWP. near the end of the outdoors maze.
They had custom aquariums with bizarre AQUATIC FREAKS OF NATURE, the likes of which we’ve never seen before! Props take many forms - KUDOS to MOONLIGHT MANOR for this brilliant creation.
Earlier, we said “life is strange.” But so are haunted attractions!
JANUARY 6, 2023 FRIDAY 5 PM - SLIPPERY DICK’S RUBBER CADAVER SURPRISE
COMING SOON!!! MAYBE...including such tidbits as:
MAD SCIENTISTS IN SECRET LABORATORIES AFTER MIDNIGHT
HER JUGULAR JUGGLES NO MORE
SHAMEFUL FISH SECRETS OF THE RICH & FAMOUS
MY SPENT SILO
JANUARY 6, 2023 FRIDAY 4 PM - DOUBLE DOSE OF RUDE REALITY
Some dates live in infamy like D-DAY, NINE ELEVEN, and of course today which is JANUARY 6TH when we almost lost our country.
As humans, we have many choices in life. But your birthday is not one them.
January 6th is a mixed bag for me, as it’s also my mom’s birthday. TRUE FACT.
And here’s another doozie, again a TRUE FACT: My oldest brothers’ birthday is SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH, proving once again that life is strange...
JANUARY 6, 2023 FRIDAY 2 PM - SNICKERING BEHEMOTH SMALL TALK
BILLY G (R.I.P. SOUL MATE BROTHER) had a great way of dealing with difficult people trying to pick a fight, especially at the bar. He wasn’t the kind to hang out at bars actually...he was there installing sound and lighting systems and such.
MEMORIES, DREAMS & REFLECTIONS
Anyway, one time some jerk was trying to pick a fight with stupid insults and a threatening stance. BILLY G’S response totally took the scoundrel off guard, confusing him with a conflicting message and delivery.
Using a loud gruff voice he said, “OH YEAH???!!! Well let me tell YOU something mister...I’ve been to the BIG CITY and I’ve heard lots of BIG CITY TALK. I’ve learned many things, and what I know I pass on to others.”
The jerk is left scratching his head as BILLY G HIGH-FIVES the club owner, strolling out the door with a full belly and a smirk on his face.
This installment of ZIOPTIS is brought to you by UNCLE HANK’S NIPPLE WAX, patent pending. For shear delight in mounting your milking apparatus be sure to buy a bucket of Uncle Hank’s Brand Nipple Wax, finest in the land.
Don’t be fooled by inferior cheap imitations. If it doesn’t say “Uncle Hank’s” on the label, flush it! Permanent psychological damage may result, and we are not responsible.
JANUARY 3, 2023 TUESDAY 11 PM - TWICE IS NICE
So there’s no HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD this time. Boo hoo!
Or is there? Not really. But sorta. Huh?
Just consider this: In 2022, there were only TWO HAUNTS ZIOPTIS WENT TO TWICE - THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR and HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND.
‘Nuff said, case closed.
JANUARY 3, 2023 TUESDAY 1 AM - ZIOPTIS 2022 AWARD!!!
Without further ado, here’s the only award we’re giving for 2022:
BEST HOT DOG - BONADEO FARMS / MOONLIGHT MANOR, HIGHLAND TWP.
BEST HOT DOG runner up / honorable mention - HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME, INKSTER
MOONLIGHT MANOR clearly led the pack in this category, sporting a JUMBO TUBE STEAK bursting with juicy goodness & grilled to perfection.
These tempting hot dogs are sure to satisfy thanks to some seriously oversized franks. The matching oversized buns accommodate a plethora of condiments offered on premise for no additional charge. At only $3, ZIOPTIS rates this as BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK.
HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME delivers an honest valiant effort at providing a SUPERIOR HOT DOG EATING EXPERIENCE. We wish them every success in achieving this lofty and worthy goal.
Unfortunately, their quest is not yet complete. For example, the wieners served at HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME are considerably smaller than the PLUMP & JUICY FRANKS at MOONLIGHT MANOR. Size matters.
On the other hand, despite the size shortcomings, HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME does offer variations not available at Moonlight Manor. You can go STRIPPED DOWN BASIC, or GO TOTALLY BONKERS and step all the way up to the DELUXE CONEY CHEESE DOG. This was our selection.
NO LOSERS / ONLY WIENERS
So that’s it. No BEST OF this & that or HAUNT OF THE YEAR. With only 12 haunts visited, awards don’t seem justified this time. On the other hand, silly rants of all kinds require very little if any justification.
We know there are lots of fabulous haunts in Michigan we just didn’t get to.
Let’s pick one at random...how about AWAKEN in LESLIE? This dynamic young haunt has impressed us in the past, and they’re not the kind to rest on past laurels.
Also, what’s up with HYSTERIA in BIRCH RUN for their 2nd year? We wanted to check in with them after a wild first outing in 2021!
In the massive incredible buildings category we’ve got JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW, and of course the mighty EREBUS in PONTIAC.
And then there’s ASHLEY, with TWO haunts: TERROR ON 27 & HINTERLAND. We’re SO anxious to hit ASHLEY...and of course GRAND RAPIDS for THE HAUNT!
The many FARM HAUNTS are another category...for example we wish we could’ve made it to SHAWHAVEN FARMS in MASON, DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE, and BLAKE’S in ARMADA.
Too many haunts, but not enough time to hit them all. On one hand it’s frustrating, but on the other it’s a really nice problem to have!
JANUARY 2, 2023 MONDAY 5 PM - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Oh boy! It’s finally officially here, and yes the bubbly stuff was delicious.
DECEMBER 31, 2022 SATURDAY 6 PM - BECAUSE WE CAN / PAYING NO ATTENTION TO COMMON SENSE
BRINGING PUTIN TO HIS KNEES is done now, written on-the-fly as usual...
As we reflect back on 2022...oh never mind all that HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY...WHOOPEE!!! Break out the SLATHERED SPUNK CHOPS & SUNNY SEA BRAND KIPPER SNAX.
DECEMBER 31, 2022 SATURDAY 3 PM - BRINGING PUTIN TO HIS KNEES now almost done...just finished maintenance as space ran out on Main Page again with content moved to Archives: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_40.shtml
DECEMBER 30, 2022 FRIDAY 7 PM - BRINGING PUTIN TO HIS KNEES
I think we can all agree that Russian President Putin is in serious need of an attitude adjustment. This guy is the supreme choad.
THE HAUNT TO END ALL HAUNTS
But what does that have to do with the most incredible haunted attraction?
Maybe everything, and you could be the one to pull it off!
And you could do all this for the paltry sum of $2. Just go to the party store and get a ticket to win the MEGA MILLIONS drawing tonight, and hope for some incredibly good luck. The odds might not be the greatest, but unless you play your odds are ZERO.
Once you win the estimated $685 MILLION DOLLARS, contact any MICHIGAN HAUNT OPERATOR and give them half of your winnings. Tell them to spare no expense in creating a HAUNTED ATTRACTION IN DETROIT sure to cause INSTANT INTERNATIONAL CONTROVERSY with a catchy name like...oh how about SICK LITTLE PUPPY SOUP or maybe ROYAL DEATH MEAT SQUAD...whatever, the name doesn’t really matter just the media buzz and such...
You could easily start some rumors that REAL ALIENS FROM AREA 51 have been hired as ACTORS FROM OUTER SPACE...because after all, they really are from outer space...the guy with the pillows even said so, right?
POLITICAL SPECULATION takes over as U.S. SENATORS & CONGRESSMEN flock to check out the LITTLE GREEN MEN at the so-called “haunted attraction.”
But the investigation goes awry, as the politicians become indoctrinated by the LITTLE GREEN MEN into a shocking philosophy that promotes MUSHROOM WORSHIP & BRUSSELS SPROUT SHAMING.
WHEN IN PANIC OR IN DOUBT, RUN IN CIRCLES SCREAM & SHOUT!
The call goes out to TERMINATE THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION in order to comply with new sanctions that PUNISH BRUSSELS SPROUTS and PREVENT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSHROOMS / SHAMELESS SPORES regardless of their political and/or religious affiliations. People are going insane left & right with no end in sight...
PUTIN sees all this and concocts a plan to work the insanity to his advantage. He plans to personally visit the “haunted attraction” and BRIBE THE ALIEN ACTORS to jump ship and move to Russia, where they will live a life of luxury & comfort.
Fortunately, facial recognition software has been installed at the “haunted attraction” and Putin is flagged for detention as CANDY FISHALOT PUSHES THE RED BUTTON. The plucky waif shrieks with joy and she begins taunting the hapless sad Putin on closed-circuit TV.
Putin is led to the brig, where he is subjected to an endless loop recording of the BABY SHARK VIDEO on a GIANT SCREEN TV at jet airplane volume levels.
LITTLE CANDY TURNS SADISTIC
Finally, after exactly 11 hours & 11 minutes of this repetitive torture Candy Fishalot suddenly appears on the TV. She is dressed in her preferred attire sporting tennis shoes, cutoffs and a REN & STIMPY T-shirt.
Candy says, “Hey Putin you pathetic punk! Listen up, ‘ya got exactly 11 seconds to decide...I want you to let PAUL WHELAN FROM NOVI go and jet him back to The Mitten where he belongs! YES OR NO? I’m counting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...WHOOPSIE CHANGED MY MIND, you only get 7 seconds see ‘ya later alligator...enjoy the show you choad!”
The BABY SHARK VIDEO resumes for another 11 hours and the process repeats until PUTIN IS BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES by the plucky waif, thus fulfilling the sacred prophesy. *
* = These tall tales, and many more await the faithful who are silly enough to follow a website based on a fictitious word invented by a Junior High School student with an overactive imagination.
DECEMBER 30, 2022 FRIDAY 1 PM - PATIENCE PLEASE
The ZIOPTIS 2022 AWARD announcement will be made shortly after the New Year!
DECEMBER 29, 2022 THURSDAY 6 PM - CLOSED CASKET PROM QUEEN
As we’ve noted earlier, some haunts go out with barely a whimper while others go out in a BOMBASTIC BLAST.
The most dramatic example we know of the latter has to be THE HOMER MILL in HOMER which went down in a BLAZE OF GORY GLORY many moons ago. It was a combination haunt / restaurant that was highly successful.
But it was a tinder box of an old wooden based structure, searching for a way to go up in flames. MARILYN MONROE could’ve just winked at this place causing spontaneous combustion.
Whether it was a hot chick or a careless smoker, we don’t know. But it burned to the ground one fateful day, and to our knowledge they never did figure out what caused the fire. So was it the restless spirit of MARILYN MONROE, or misguided attention from an ill-fated local hottie prom queen?
HISTORICAL CONUNDRUMS & TABASCO STAINED SOLUTIONS
We’ll never know that, but one thing is sure. Every setback in life also carries with it the seed of an equal or greater success. Finding that seed can be a challenge, or it could land in your lap with no effort. We don’t know which of these was the case, but the end result is public knowledge. The owner of HOMER MILL later acquired a massive old building in JACKSON that became JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD.
Many of you have been to this amazing haunt. But if not, you owe it to yourself to check out this behemoth of a MEGA HAUNT. It actually changed hands a few seasons ago, so the original HOMER MILL dude is gone. And we haven’t yet seen what the new operator has done with it, but we have confidence that it’s been entrusted to capable personnel.
DECEMBER 29, 2022 THURSDAY 5 PM - CAPTAIN HARDLINE FACES OFF WITH TWINKLE TOES
Last minute decisions and calculations are being made in preparation for THE ZIOPTIS 2022 AWARD.
Please stand by...
DECEMBER 26, 2022 MONDAY 4 PM - LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
Those are the magic words when it comes to real estate, but what about with haunted attractions?
PROPS PROPS & PROPS
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: haunted attractions are nothing without props. Of course you need more than just props, like actors, sound & lighting and so much more.
An effective prop can be as simple as a paper bag and a flashlight, like we saw many moons ago at JAYCEE’S HAUNTED HOUSES. In a dark passageway an actor suddenly appears, lit by a flashlight. Then the actor pops an inflated paper bag for an effective BANG!
ONE MAN’S TRASH
Props can be elaborate and/or massive too, and they don’t always come from the usual sources like SCARE FACTORY, TRANSWORLD and such.
Who remembers SILO X? This long-gone haunt was built around an unlikely prop, a real crashed helicopter. They enhanced the scene with fog and items apparently strewn about at the moment of impact.
Even a bona fide WRECKED CAR can be a prop, as we’ve seen in various hayrides.
Creativity can mold almost anything into a haunt prop, given the setup and clever story lines.
Consider HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS. They have what many consider to be the hands-down most extensive collection of haunt props of every possible type and configuration. It makes for an amazing haunt experience that’s been drawing giant crowds.
So what did SANTA CLODS bring HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS for Christmas this year?
In past years, they’ve spent a small fortune on an amazing prop from DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED. But this is a haunt not known to rest on past laurels. And they’re persistent buggers too, having the fortitude to laugh at Mother Nature who so rudely tried to destroy them with a giant tree that came crashing down directly on their main building a few years ago.
DECEMBER 26, 2022 MONDAY 3 PM - JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
ZIOPTIS does not condone or engage in FAKE NEWS, alternative facts, or artificially inflated statistics. There’s no sense in “painting yourself into a corner” like nameless would-be big shots out there in never-never land.
And so it is that we’ve just posted the latest HIT LIST for our little website, in Archives 33: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_33.shtml
DECEMBER 26, 2022 MONDAY 2 PM - FYI
Yesterday, we ran out of room on the Main Page again. When you see a notice like PAGE RAN OUT it means we need to remove content from the bottom of the page to make room for more on the top.
When content is removed from the bottom it’s transferred to the highest numbered Archives section, which right now is #40: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_40.shtml
DECEMBER 26, 2022 MONDAY 1 PM - AFTERGLOW
Christmas was a big success!
Santa’s fleet of MACK & FORD TRUCKS held up despite the crazy cold weather.
We can’t help but wonder what SANTA BROUGHT TO THE HAUNTS for Christmas. He can be very generous!
We hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas, whether or not it involved physically existing objects.
DECEMBER 25, 2022 SUNDAY 1 PM - FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!
May your turkey or Honey Baked Ham be moist and delicious and your loved ones near.
When it comes to presents, we’ve often thought that the best present is simply the presence of those who mean the most to you...
Somehow I’m thinking of all the fabulous FARM HAUNTS out there right now...and what it would be like to celebrate Christmas at a big farm...looking out the back window as far as you can see are the fields where the magic happens, like in MASON where SHAWHAVEN FARMS is well known for providing HAUNT EXCELLENCE.
Life in the big city concrete jungle is so different from farm life!
DECEMBER 24, 2022 SATURDAY 5 PM - THE FLYING YOUNG MAN, WOWSER!
Nope, not on the trapeze. It’s WINTER SPORTS - US SKI & SNOW BOARDING AT COPPER MOUNTAIN now playing on NBC TV - WDIV CHANNEL 4 DETROIT
DECEMBER 24, 2022 SATURDAY 4 PM - THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Who remembers REN & STIMPY? They were a pair of unlikely best friends. REN is a persnickety Chihuahua, and STIMPY a slowwitted cat who often confuses himself.
DECEMBER 24, 2022 SATURDAY 3 PM - PUSHING THE MAGIC BUTTON
Christmas can be a hectic time...the ROCHESTER CHOP HOUSE was at capacity last night for example...downtown Rochester is beautiful with all the lights on Main Street.
Maybe you thought you were all set to wrap gifts and found you ran out of Scotch Tape...all the stores are mobbed...
Or what if you forgot the SUNNY SEA BRAND KIPPER SNACKS?
“That’s insurrection talk, mister! Sacrilegious that’s what it is, a horrible disgrace...we love our SUNNY SEA KIPPER SNACKS!”
These dilemmas, and many more can arise despite your best diligent efforts.
At times like these, a nice head rub from a friend can feel really good. Yet you still need to go deeper for a full-on brain massage, what to do then?
What if there was a SECRET MAGIC BUTTON you could press and make all the bad stuff just go away?
What if it sucked all the chaos out of your brain, with entrancing soothing frequencies and compelling converging hypnotic moving fractal geometry patterns?
What if it worked every time? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Tah dah!
Okay, it’s not actually a button. It’s a “click,” right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y6iQz3vuM8
DECEMBER 24, 2022 SATURDAY 4 AM - FROZEN DREAMS & FOOTBALL FUN
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE! Only one more day until SANTA CLODS makes his way across the sky into the hearts of kids of all ages.
What will SANTA bring you? If you’ve been good, your stocking will be full of fun things and maybe even some cashews, pistachios, and walnuts. If you’ve been bad, a stocking full of coal could be your just rewards. And if you’ve been naughty what you get doesn’t go in a decorative stocking. (;
For some of you sports fans, an early Christmas present would be for THE DETROIT LIONS to continue their recent rampage and score a BIG WIN today.
Sigh...football is okay I guess...but why oh why isn’t there a really big TENNIS MATCH on for Christmas? ); Inquiring minds want to know!
DECEMBER 23, 2022 FRIDAY 4 PM - SIBERIAN KHATRU
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE EVE!
Yum...steamy hot hazelnut with cream & NO sugar...HOLY MOLY it’s sooo cold out there today! Thank God it wasn’t like this last weekend for the festivities at FACTORY OF THE DEAD & ROTTEN MANOR.
CIRCULAR LOGIC SILLINESS
Hey, quick question: What’s the BEST PROG ROCK BAND from the 70s?
Maybe I should’ve asked: WHO is the BEST PROG ROCK BAND from the 70s?
Are you giving me that ABBOTT & COSTELLO mumbo jumbo?
haha It’s the band called YES, which some of you have never heard of.
THE COLDEST PLACE ON EARTH
Siberia is one of the coldest places on earth where the temperature can be like 60 BELOW ZERO Fahrenheit, without wind chill!
After 2 years of Covid, many people were hoping for a return to normal this Holiday season. But Mother Nature had other plans. A giant mass of CRAZY COLD air has made its way all the way from SIBERIA to AMERICA. I don’t remember this ever happening before.
Thousands of stranded travelers and people without power are struggling, with hopes of a Merry Christmas again on hold.
So what does all this have to do with haunted attractions or progressive rock music?
Not much actually, but it reminds us of a KILLER SONG by YES called SIBERIAN KHATRU. It has something fun for drummers, an unusual time signature of 7/4 thrown in after 2 measures of the standard 4/4. Take a listen and count along with the music: 1,2,3,4 - 1,2,3,4 - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2Kcs4Xmb8k&list=RDJ2Kcs4Xmb8k&start_radio=1 MONTREUX LIVE
Here we go with another lesson for the youngsters out there who know every NICKI MINAJ album but never heard of KING CRIMSON or ATOMIC ROOSTER.
ALL MUSIC WAS ONCE NEW
Regardless of how old you are, you no doubt know some CHRISTMAS CAROLS, right? Once-upon-a-time when I was a kid, groups of people would go wandering the neighborhood and ringing the doorbell of random houses then SINGING CHRISTMAS CAROLS to whoever answered the door. Nobody had those NEWFANGLED RING DOORBELL CAMERAS so it was a surprise...who could be calling this evening?
They called it CHRISTMAS CAROLING, pretty clever eh?
It was a ritual...something else we fear is going by the wayside...it seems like just yesterday...RING! RING! “MERRY CHRISTMAS! A one & a two and a...We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
The happy INSTANT CONCERT FANS just happen to have donuts & HOT CIDER from BLAKE’S or WIARD’S with cinnamon sticks ready for the chilly singers...
One of the big faves was O, HOLY NIGHT. Take a listen to this version by a singer you may have never heard of, Johnny Mathis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgbDojGPIbs The harmonies are exquisite!
DECEMBER 23, 2022 FRIDAY 4 AM - THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS FEAST
No, not Grandma’s house...but she probably does an okay job.
If “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go” isn’t an option for you, alternate dinner plans are in order for Christmas Eve & Christmas. However, most restaurants and even fast food places will be closed.
TACO BELL PIZZA HUT BURGERS & FRIES
Are you a gourmet chef with enough time and know-how to whip up a feast nobody will ever forget? Not to worry if this doesn’t describe you, we’ve got you covered...BIG TIME.
We’re talking about some of the most delicious food you’ll ever taste. And it’s super healthy for you too!
Best of all, this is available not only on Dec. 25 Christmas Day but also on Dec. 24 Saturday.
Welcome to PUNJAB INDIAN CUISINE in LIVONIA at Plymouth & Levan roads. They’re having a deluxe buffet all day from 11 AM to 9 PM both Saturday & Sunday.
They also did this on Thanksgiving Day and we went. It was fabulous! I went with CANDY FISHALOT, as my haunt partner wasn’t available. CANDY shrieked with delight when she found they had FISH CURRY, as well as freshly carved turkey, butter chicken, and so much more.
We’ve asked them, and they said there will again be turkey. I can’t remember ever having better turkey!
Some of you out there may even work as a restaurant yourself, and have been swamped with holiday traffic. Here’s your big chance to let someone else do the cooking and dishes! https://punjabcuisinemi.com/ https://www.facebook.com/punjabcater/
We didn’t see this event mentioned on their website or Facebook page.
This building used to be Joey’s Comedy Club once-upon-a-time, according to CANDY who used to frequent the place.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL!
The decor is exquisite, and the massive chandeliers are to die for! Music with an Indian edge is played at just the right volume. The singing is in English, but it’s clearly evident the singers don’t speak English and have learned the parts phonetically. This only endeared them even more to us!
The acoustics of the room are excellent due to the carpeting, so background noise is minimal. It’s nice to be able to easily hear your dining companion. Even the exterior is awesome featuring whimsical colorful statuettes, scooters and a rickshaw.
We’re planning on going Christmas Day...YUMMY IN THE TUMMY!
DECEMBER 21, 2022 WEDNESDAY 7 PM - LIFE FLIPS ON A DIME / THINGS FALL APART
“The Holidays” are traditionally supposed to be the HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR. That’s wonderful, and we wish this for all of you.
But for many people, “The Holidays” are anything but happy and amount to bombastic reminders of loved ones who won’t be there.
BOYS IN THE BAND
As some of you know, one of my biggest passions is playing drums. I’ve been in so many bands I can’t even remember how many...all the way from local wedding gigs to playing for the future King of Spain.
But it’s always a shock to get a call like I did today from a band mate. Another close friend of ours & guitar player / band leader is gone, having died in his sleep Monday night.
For every person you ever meet, there’s a first time and a last time you ever see them. And there’s no way to know when that last time will be...
THEY KILLED A TREE OF 97 YEARS & SMOTHERED IT WITH LIGHTS & SILVER TEARS
Other absent loved ones are still alive, presenting a whole different scenario with unique pains. Here’s a killer song by CRISTINA (R.I.P. damned Covid), about a gal whose boyfriend dumps her for Christmas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Xgktqp-Zw
ending being written
DECEMBER 22, 2022 WEDNESDAY 6 PM - COMING SOON!
The ZIOPTIS AWARD FOR 2022 will be announced sometime between Christmas & New Year’s. Please no not hold your breath. Thank you.
DECEMBER 20, 2022 TUESDAY 1 PM - THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Oh boy! SANTA CLODS will be here soon...have you been a good boy or girl?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
Most of you are old enough to know the real deal about Santa. But if you’re young enough not to know what we mean by that, please hang up now and do not read any further.
Okay, now that there’s no way we can SPILL THE BEANS and cause psychological stains that can’t be removed, I have a true story to tell you about Christmas and my dad and how he dealt with the Santa Claus issue.
I’m the youngest of four boys in my family and eventually we figured out that flying reindeer and a magically propelled metal sleigh didn’t make sense, considering gravity and such.
But dad found a way to extend the life of the legend.
He said, “I’m glad you’re smart enough to know that reindeer can’t fly and heavy metal objects fall to the ground. The truth is that Santa is not....really using reindeer and a fancy sleigh. He has a massive fleet of MACK TRUCKS and FORD TRUCKS to deliver the presents. Don’t tell anybody, we wouldn’t want to spoil the magic for little kids.”
POURING GAS ON THE FIRE / CRANK IT TO ELEVEN ELEVEN
Ever the prankster, dad took it a step farther:
Late Christmas Eve he pulled out his SECRET WEAPON OF WONDER, a set of the best sleigh bells money could buy. He cruised very slowly through the ‘hood in the family jalopy, whilst shaking the bells vigorously out the car window. Lights went out left & right...
Ah, memories...once-a-year let’s hold on to the past...
Finally, we all knew the real deal about SANTA CLODS. But I went to my next older brother and said, “Hey, I think I know about Santa...but is it okay if we believe for one last year?” Of course he said yes, and we had a MAGICAL CHRISTMAS. Our fervent wish is that you too find your way to the MAGIC THAT IS CHRISTMAS!
DECEMBER 15, 2022 THURSDAY 9 PM - HOW CLASSICAL MUSIC CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE OF HAUNTED HOUSES COAST-TO-COAST, SORTA / MAYBE
No, this time we’re not kidding.
For many people, their first and only exposure to classical music is in silly cartoons.
For others, classical music is an everyday experience. For example, imagine waking up to the sound of 2 grand pianos being played simultaneously downstairs in music like Suite No. 2 in C minor by Rachmaninov.
FOR HEIGHTS & DEPTHS NO WORDS CAN REACH, MUSIC IS THE SOUL’S OWN SPEECH
But what does this have to do with changing the haunted attraction scene all the way from Detroit to the State of Washington?
Perhaps everything, and it all goes back to the vision of one man on a creative mission from beyond.
His name was PAT McELROY, a man who wore many hats. Most people knew him as a DJ / on air personality on classical music radio station WQRS-FM 105.9 in DETROIT. He spoke with a seductive sultry voice, and captivated the public with his intriguing insightful viewpoints.
McELROY became well-known in the Detroit actors community & art circles. Despite his mild-mannered demeanor / appearance, he harbored a TASTE FOR THE BIZARRE that eventually manifested itself in the 1980s as the legendary MAXWORLD interactive haunted house on WARREN AVE. in DETROIT.
MAXWORLD was the quintessential interactive experience like-no-other!
It was built in a real multi-level residential house, but the show started with some exquisitely bizarre art in the garage.
THE BEWILDERED BRETHREN roamed the property, confusing themselves to hilarious results.
The city inspectors had no idea what was going on in this MADHOUSE BEYOND BELIEF!
Like all haunts, MAXWORLD eventually sang their final SWAN SONG as McELROY had an offer he couldn’t refuse from the state of Washington for a lucrative radio gig on another classical music radio station.
We’d like to be able to say that he created another haunt in Washington that blew everyone away! But alas, we have no such knowledge. So we’ll have to assume that if he had the chance to do that he did.
Either way, the legacy of MAXWORLD lives on. Read more about this amazing haunt in Closed, after the numerical listings: http://www.zioptis.com/html/closed.shtml
DECEMBER 15, 2022 THURSDAY 5 PM - RUMOR-OF-THE-DAY / TRUTH BE TOLD
We fully understand how our refusal to detail A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT that will not be made could lead to much FOOLISH SPECULATION and FAKE NEWS.
So be it.
Just remember, alternative realities may come & go. But the Trusty Zioptis Foundation will always be there for you in your time of need & random frivolous pursuits.
Thank you. And please pay no attention to the juvenile delinquent behind the keyboard.
Kindly disregard this shameless ploy to curry favor and influence the easily duped public.
DECEMBER 15, 2022 THURSDAY 3 PM - NO LOSERS / ONLY WIENERS
THE POPULACE NEEDS A SUPER HERO.
A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT WILL NOT BE MADE ON THURSDAY DEC. 15th!!!
There will be only one ZIOPTIS AWARD this year.
If you’ve been following closely you already know what it is. *
While the contents of related documents remains classified, we would like to formally assure the public we will not be BRIBING FOREIGN OFFICIALS or NEEDLESSLY UNLEASHING MADNESS FOR FUN & PROFIT.
Nope. Not us. We’ll leave that to DASTARDLY NOTIONS & THE MEN WHO FACILITATE THEM.
HISTORICAL CONUNDRUM OF THE DAY
When truth is stranger than fiction people sometimes get confused.
Like what if there was a group of young ladies in Europe who don’t even speak English that became obsessed with a long-gone American rock band their peers have mostly never heard of?
Ladies & gentlemen, introducing STRANGE KIND OF WOMEN from ITALY. It’s a cover band of their idols DEEP PURPLE who were an American rock band that started in 1967. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Purple
Their high-energy singer has clearly been taught phonetically how to pronounce the lyrics which are all in English. This only endears us that much more to this dynamo of FEMALE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXCELLENCE.
Haunted attractions & rock music go together like a grilled cheese sandwich & tomato soup. IMHO, any haunt could play a song by this band and haunters would dig it.
SPACE TRUCKIN’ TO A HIGHWAY STAR
Check out this sampling from a concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3fSrhftezM
* = So you’re in on the joke already haha! (;
DECEMBER 14, 2022 WEDNESDAY 11 PM - DETROIT TAKES THE CAKE
Spoiler alert - on the upcoming Jimmy Kimmel Show monologue DETROIT wins the award for CLIP OF THE YEAR 2022. Silly stuff, don’t wait until 11:35 see it now and laff ‘yer butt off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7P-YhrhtyA
DECEMBER 14, 2022 WEDNESDAY 12 NOON - TWO PLUS TWO IS ON MY MIND
No, not the BOB SEGER song. But it’s killer, so here it is anyway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=487t88pz-2Y
2 + 2 = 5
This time we’re not kidding. In the not-too-distant future two plus two DOES equal five. Sorta.
Secretary of Energy JENNIFER GRANHOLM (from Michigan) just made a big announcement about a MAJOR SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH that could someday change the landscape of haunted attractions! Sorta.
You’ve probably heard about this by now. Basically, the big news is for the first time in years and years of nuclear fusion experiments, more energy came out than went in after being bombarded by 192 lasers!
I’m no scientist, but I think a “someday” analogy could go something like this:
Imagine you have a really special big battery. It’s big enough to even power all the sound & lighting and props at a MAJOR HAUNTED ATTRACTION.
Most batteries deplete, or run out, after being used for X period of time. But this special battery does the opposite, creating more energy than it started with! So it’s essentially FREE ELECTRICITY. It runs off the sun, which isn’t going anywhere soon.
***SIDEBAR*** Nikola Tesla invented a wireless power distribution system that would have provided FREE ELECTRICITY had it been implemented. https://thefifthestate.com.au/energy-lead/energy/nikola-tesla-dreamed-of-free-electricity-what-happened/
THE ULTRA HIGH TECH HAUNTED ATTRACTION AROUND THE CORNER
With FREE ELECTRICITY, haunt operators would be free to spend ridiculous amounts of money on the newest gear from SCARE FACTORY, TRANS CON and such.
Okay, it’s probably not coming next season...but it’s a MAJOR SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH nonetheless.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHk0KLBAlHg PBS CLIP
DECEMBER 13, 2022 TUESDAY 2 PM - WILD TIMES IN THE BIG CITY
No, not Detroit. It’s Saginaw, home of FACTORY OF THE DEAD where their HOLIDAY HORROR STORY awaits this coming Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.
This haunt has been pioneering off-season events to great success, along with ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY who also is open next weekend Dec. 16 & 17.
Many if not most of you have already experienced ROTTEN MANOR as we have, but we also recommend FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW. Their building is massive!
We were talking with FACTORY OF THE DEAD recently, and HOLIDAY HORROR STORY sounds like a big winner.
Even better, they’re partnering with community organizations, schools and such who can earn commissions on ticket sales. Its’ a WIN WIN for all involved, and they encourage everyone to get on board by contacting them. https://906lapeer.com/factory-of-the-dead-3/
They suggested that we join in, and we happily agreed. So if you’re going and would like to help support us you can click here for tix: https://app.hauntpay.com/events/factory-of-the-dead-new?referral=zioptis
Any funds generated will go towards running Zioptis, which costs a little over $100 per month to run.
DECEMBER 9, 2022 FRIDAY 8 PM - LIBERATED AT LAST
No, not the WNBA gal BRITTNEY that was stuck in Russia.
It’s a LOCAL RENEGADE DEER, who was on a HALLOWEEN INSPIRED RAMPAGE that has thankfully come to a peaceful end: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2022/12/10/deer-with-plastic-pumpkin-on-head-in-bloomfield-hills-has-been-freed/
Despite being caught RED HANDED, the unapologetic “Bucky” has failed to acknowledge his blatant pumpkin transgressions & foolish shenanigans. A request to assign a SPECIAL MASTER in this matter has been denied by the Supreme Court in a unanimous opinion rendered earlier this evening.
DECEMBER 9, 2022 FRIDAY 7 PM - GETTING FUSSY FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS
We’ve been talking about ATTENTION TO DETAIL at haunts recently, mostly in reference to THE REALM OF DARKNESS which is long gone...
But it’s worth mentioning that ROTTEN MANOR also has successfully championed ATTENTION TO DETAIL to great effect.
As MAJOR MUSIC FANATICS, one of our favorite examples of this at ROTTEN MANOR is a room that features a genuine antique. It’s a SONORA 78 RPM record player. This is similar to the famous VICTROLA record players from many moons ago.
You can see a picture of this, and other haunts, in our FLICKR album of “Haunted Attraction Stuff”: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157650409830035
DECEMBER 9, 2022 FRIDAY 5 PM - PREMIERE MEGA HAUNT OPEN TONIGHT
ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY is open tonight and tomorrow Saturday night!
We’ve been to this haunt many times, and feel confident in giving them a TOP RECOMMENDATION. https://rottenmanor.com/
DECEMBER 7, 2022 WEDNESDAY 9 PM - NOW PLAYING:
LOUDER THAN LOVE: THE GRANDE BALLROOM STORY ON PBS-TV, CHANNEL 56 WTVS IN DETROIT
The amazing story of the legendary concert venue on Grand River in Detroit.
See it now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGLsjwCp4QQ&list=PLNU8PJGtROIwkxo5HD9yr7HLW0fH7sqKK
DECEMBER 7, 2022 WEDNESDAY 8 PM - NOW PLAYING:
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA: GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS EVE ON PBS-TV, CHANNEL 56 WTVS IN DETROIT
A holiday favorite!
DECEMBER 7, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - THE LOOMING HIDEOUS SHE-DEVIL FROM BEYOND
This is another example of a haunt featuring an unlikely pairing, resulting in a highly dramatic visual & sonic spectacle that both defies logic & promotes FEMALE EMPOWERMENT.
THE LITTLE GIANT THAT COULD & DID
DECEMBER 7, 2022 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING
HOLY MOLY! The haunt season is over, but our traffic is anything but gone. We’d say this is more evidence that we have some of the smartest haunters out there checking in regularly. The daily average for the last period is 1,135 hits and Nov. 12th blew us away with 4,547 hits! http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_33.shtml
DECEMBER 7, 2022 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - UNLIKELY COMPANIONS
YUM YUM...sipping on some PUMPKIN SPICE coffee which they still have at ALDI...
Before we get back to the AMAZING TRUE HISTORY of THE REALM OF DARKNESS, we’re taking a break to highlight spectacular odd pairings of things we’ve seen thru the years at haunts. You literary nerds out there probably know the word “JUXTAPOSITION,” and there are some doozies!
One that we’ll never forget was a HARD CORE BIKER DUDE we encountered at TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY. This belongs in the category of ONCE YOU’VE SEEN IT YOU CAN NEVER UNSEE IT. The scene / gag is in a room full of motorcycle stuff & a super nasty looking biker guy who looks like he could be a HELL’S ANGELS REJECT.
He’s decked out in leather and his body is covered in tattoos. He hisses and snarls spouting biker-talk insults, but one thing about him totally destroys the image. He’s sitting at a table GETTING A MANICURE, and his hands are abnormally small & dainty. His hands and nails are a HOLLYWOOD LEVEL WORK OF FEMININE ART, and convincingly look like those of a girl in her 20’s. He has serious identity issues, and is quick to ramble about them whilst verbally abusing himself in horrendous ways.
And he’s obsessed with skin care issues and expensive moisturizing creams, issuing official sounding edicts that must be obeyed or you’ll be found guilty of treason which carries with it the PENALTY OF DEATH!
This MASTERPIECE of a scene is so ridiculous, it can’t be serious. But that’s the point. The biker dude is clearly insane and suffering from delusions of grandeur, spinning his TWISTED ALTERNATIVE LOGIC in a hilarious SPECTACLE OF SILLINESS. It’s so absurd he confuses even himself!
Sadly, it’s been years since we experienced TERROR ON 27. And now there’s another reason we’re anxious to go to ASHLEY as it is also home to a haunt we’ve never seen, HINTERLAND. https://www.terroron27.com/ https://www.hinterlandhaunt.com/
***SIDEBAR*** This reminds me of one of the short films my family used to show at neighborhood movie parties we had once a month. At the time, 16mm sound movies could be rented from the Dearborn Library. Whip up some ORVILLE REDENBACHER’S and imagine yourself going to a neighbors house many moons ago to see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAj0NvKt9pM
DECEMBER 7, 2022 WEDNESDAY 12:30 PM - MYSTERY HISTORY LESSON IN A BOX now finished...more amazing REALM history still to come!
DECEMBER 5, 2022 MONDAY 11:11 PM - MYSTERY HISTORY LESSON IN A BOX
Before we get to HOW THE REALM OF DARKNESS FREAKED OUT PASTOR J, it’s best to understand the amazing back story of this haunted attraction that ended up being a real haunted house.
As we mentioned, DS THE SCREAM QUEEN has what most would call an obsession with attention to detail.
For example, if she’s creating an old fashioned room/scene the props have to look genuinely old...to feel truly old...to even SMELL old! So she used REAL ANTIQUES, and some of them come with unknown stories...some of them tragic.
After many mysterious encounters especially in the antique rooms, the decision was made to have professional paranormal investigators come to analyze things.
One item of interest was an old TREASURE CHEST looking locker with unknown contents. After picking the lock, they found hundreds of wartime letters from military servicemen. Many of them had not been sent.
THE SCREAM QUEEN was delighted with this find, thinking a world of history was just waiting to be discovered.
But the investigators got a COLD CHILL and said to put everything back exactly as it was, and reseal this POTENTIAL PANDORA’S BOX.
Patrons were regularly being spooked in certain areas of the haunt, but it extended to the actors as well. For example, in a prop storage room was an old style telephone booth. (For the youngsters out there a telephone booth was a coin-operated “land line” telephone in a public place usually enclosed for privacy.) It was NOT connected to any phone line.
Despite the fact it was in storage and not in service, several actors heard the phone ringing in the booth! Nobody had the guts to try answering the call, and the booth/prop was never seen by the public.
DECEMBER 2, 2022 FRIDAY 2 PM - NO WORDS ARE SUFFICIENT
I was just looking at the “Closed” section, where we list haunts that are gone but not forgotten. http://www.zioptis.com/html/closed.shtml
The 2 most important haunts that are gone are listed first - THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC and THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN.
But the description of REALM was woefully short, not doing justice to this MAGICAL MASTERPIECE created by one of the classiest people in the industry DS who also is affectionately known as “THE SCREAM QUEEN.”
So the listing has been expanded, but even then only scratches the surface. The many reviews for REALM reveal more, but even then there’s so much more to the story that includes REAL LIFE HORRORS and REAL SPOOKY STUFF!
It’s a hair-raising tale that starts with making FRONT PAGE HEADLINES of local newspapers for all the wrong reasons that had nothing to do with the haunt itself. Later, there were specific dire warnings from Paranormal Researchers that proved true and also verified reports from freaked-out patrons who became unsuspecting victims of “tag-along” spirits posing as haunt actors. A HAUNTED “ATTRACTION” that was in fact a REAL HAUNTED HOUSE!!!
The presence of supernatural goings-on was even confirmed by the lead pastor of a local ROCK & ROLL MEGA CHURCH, Metro City Church in Taylor which I attend.
This may sound like FAKE NEWS or HYPE, but is absolutely true!
What happened is that Pastor J called me during one haunt season, saying that he wanted to record a sermon about the supernatural realm at a local haunted house and could I help him find a haunt to do this at?
DING! THE REALM OF DARKNESS instantly came to mind, and I arranged for us all to meet at REALM. We all went thru the haunt which was in full swing, and all were WOWED. Pastor J and THE SCREAM QUEEN then had a private discussion, after which she gave Pastor J (Jeremy) the keys to the haunt so he could come back the next morning with a film crew to record the sermon.
What happened the next morning gave goosebumps to Pastor J / film crew, and later to thousands who attend / follow METRO CITY CHURCH.
Nobody could see this coming except for THE SCREAM QUEEN herself, who considered this to be just another “Notch on the Post.”
Whoopsie, I’m running late and have to run. But come back later for the THRILLING CONCLUSION of this VERIFIED TRUE STORY of the haunted attraction that was also a REAL LIFE HAUNTED HOUSE!!!
DECEMBER 1, 2022 THURSDAY 11:11 PM - BLACK HOLE SUN
No, not the song by SOUNDGARDEN.
***SIDEBAR*** Some of have never heard of SOUNDGARDEN. It was a band from Seattle who started in 1984 before many of you were born. They ushered in a new rock music style dubbed “GRUNGE.” Here’s a video your parents have probably seen, as it has over TWO HUNDRED & TWENTY-TWO MILLION views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mbBbFH9fAg ***SIDEBAR of SIDEBAR***This video contains imagery reminiscent of haunted attractions. Our faves are the doll being cooked on a rotisserie and some wild antics with a GIANT BOW-WOW.
The BLACK HOLE we’re talking about is the classic SPINNING SENSATION GAG popular at haunted attractions.
Basically, you walk through the center of a large spinning circular structure on a raised platform with railings. Lots of black lights are used, and sometimes mirrors are mounted on both ends for an “infinity” repeating image effect.
Swirling patterns and/or polka dots are painted with fluorescent paint on the spinning cage that encompasses you. The paint glows brightly in the PURPLE HAZE of all the black lights. But the best part is the POWERFUL SPINNING SENSATION that engulfs you the moment you step into this wild contraption.
The spinning sensation is so powerful you may feel dizzy enough to fall over! People clutch the railings tightly to steady themselves. But if you close your eyes the spinning sensation vanishes instantly!
Most haunts that have this impressive visual gag use a single unit, and it’s a SURE WINNER as is.
However, some haunts like to take things to the extreme and use MULTIPLE BLACK HOLES to create a much longer SPINNING FANTASY LAND...haunts like TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY and TERRORTOWN in TOLEDO. TERRORFIED FOREST sets up multiple BLACK HOLES in the middle of the forest, and TERRORTOWN (long gone) had an unprecedented FOUR BLACK HOLES set up end-to-end! They had unique proprietary BLUE FLUORESCENT PAINT that gave an otherworldly feeling.
By going thru so many BLACK HOLES we’ve come up with an embellishment that we challenge you to try. As you’re walking thru, let go of the hand rails and walk backwards while rotating your body. The motion effect is amplified big time, and most people can not do this!
There is a NEW GENERATION of BLACK HOLES out there now, and ROTTEN MANOR has one. The design is completely different, but the artificial SPINNING SENSATION is still the star.
OPTICAL ILLUSIONS can be big fun, playing with how our brains perceive things. Here’s an interesting different tunnel illusion: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a40254418/how-this-illusion-makes-you-think-youre-entering-a-tunnel/
DECEMBER 1, 2022 THURSDAY 9 PM - THREE TO GET READY
NOW GO CAT GO!
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Have you been to the dazzling WAYNE COUNTY LIGHT FEST? It’s open Wednesday - Sunday. https://www.waynecounty.com/departments/publicservices/parks/wayne-county-lightfest.aspx
Have you gone to a free outdoor concert, fireworks and a massive parade in December? https://christmasinida.com/event-schedule/
Or have you been to a TOP NOTCH PREMIERE MEGA HAUNT in December? ROTTEN MANOR will be open for THREE WEEKENDS: Dec. 2 & 3, Dec. 9 & 10, and Dec. 16 & 17 https://rottenmanor.com/
We’ve done all three of these before, but unfortunately can’t go this time as my partner is working early and I have meetings.
But you have no excuse! Don’t be lame, be adventurous and avoid future regret, disappointment & shame.
NOVEMBER 29, 2022 TUESDAY 6 PM - LIKE SO MUCH SPILLED MILK
So Ohio has more haunts than Michigan now.
WHAT HAPPENED? Where did they all go? Here’s the list: http://www.zioptis.com/html/closed.shtml
Some went out in a BLAZE OF GLORY and others with not so much as a whimper.
THE BONE YARD in STOCKBRIDGE comes to mind in the BLAZE OF GLORY SWAN SONG category. It was an incredible multi-attraction farm haunt, and the biggest event of the year for this tiny city.
In an otherwise silent and dark farming district, this place SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER both visually & sonically. They ran a CHAUVET GREEN LASER GOBO PROJECTOR outdoors, mounted on top of the ticket booth turning the trees into a STUNNING MAGICAL SPINNING LIQUID SKY DISPLAY. Loud ROCK MUSIC blasting thru pro audio gear permeated the grounds.
But the STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK had to be when THE BONE YARD added ZOMBIE PAINTBALL. The resulting near-constant chatter of the paint guns caused noise complaints from shortsighted neighbors. White noise / ocean waves generators most likely could’ve solved this dilemma by providing an AUDIO MASKING EFFECT to cover up the chatter. ***SIDEBAR*** These devices are popular with partners of people that snore, as well as recordings on YouTube like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTTPiD_1XMI
On the whimper end of the scale, a prime example is HERSHEY HAUNTED HOUSE in DEARBORN. It was on the main drag Michigan Avenue in a former AAA Insurance office. Their feature gag was the opening sequence that puts you on a ROLLER COASTER! It was small and powered only by gravity, but still a roller coaster.
HERSHEY HAUNTED HOUSE ran for a few years. Then, with no fanfare or announcment, the AAA insurance office reappeared with no trace of the haunt.
There’s no sense crying over spilled (or “spilt” if you’re British) milk, as it’s been said.
But it’s hard not to be sad when a haunt SINGS THEIR FINAL SWAN SONG. You never know when you might be seeing a haunt for the last time, and sometimes the haunt themselves have no idea the end is near. CARPE DIEM, BABY!
NOVEMBER 28, 2022 MONDAY 1:11 PM - HEADING ‘EM OFF AT THE PASS
I can hear them now...the naysayers who might say: “Hey Zioptis, you said telling the truth is what mature people do. But you said DALE BOMBAST is FORTY-FIVE FEET TALL. WAZZUP WITH THAT?”
First of all, we never claimed to be “mature.” Chasing around the state like chickens with your head cut off trying to make it to an absurd number of haunts is not considered “mature” by most people! haha Just kidding again...the point is that some of which we write about is based on FICTITIOUS ZIOPTIS CHARACTERS.
THE “BIG NEWS” REVEALED
Earlier we said we had BIG NEWS and a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT coming. The announcement was the removal of “WORLD CAPITAL” from the top of the website Mission Statement.
But we never gave details about the BIG NEWS, which didn’t work out as planned. The hope was to re-launch ZIOPTIS DIAL-A-TRIP on November 11, or ELEVEN ELEVEN as we like to call it.
With about a dozen AT&T model 2500 answering machines that we used all broken, we finally found a brand new unit on Ebay after many moons of searching. Unfortunately it doesn’t work with a transport problem preventing the cassette tape from playing.
Our Webmaster BILLY G used to fix these answering machines for us by scavenging parts as needed to make a working unit. Sadly, fixing old electronic equipment is largely a lost art but we might have someone else to help.
Yes, there are alternative ways to present the original ZIOPTIS DIAL-A-TRIP episodes. But that would mean starting again from scratch, and most likely remove the ability of callers to leave their own messages.
So, in the absence of re-launching DIAL-A-TRIP we recently started adding some of the silly & fictitious flavor of stuff found there to the website.
Of course, human beings do not grow to be 45 feet tall. Actor BB who created & plays DALE BOMBAST is an amazingly talented local artist who also does about 100 spot-on impersonations. One DIAL-A-TRIP episode featured ELLIOT NESS, DEPUTY DAWG, and GEORGE KELL for example.
FIN-TIN THE DIRT FACED CLOWN & CANDY FISHALOT are also fictitious Zioptis characters invented by BB. 5 different girls have played Candy in DIAL-A-TRIP episodes, for those keeping track! haha Also, I have several books full of scripts for future episodes with CANDY & FIN-TIN.
NOVEMBER 28, 2022 MONDAY 11:11 AM - A NEW DAY, THE SAME MISSION
So that didn’t hurt too much we hope! Admitting you’re no longer #1 can be a tough pill to swallow but is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Telling the truth is what mature people do.
FAKE NEWS & ALTERNATIVE FACTS
Clinging to past glories that no longer apply while insisting they do is dishonest, regardless of how powerful the claimant is.
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 11:11 PM - DOTTING THE I’S & CROSSING THE T’S
“Hey Zioptis, why not say we’re THE HAUNTED HOUSE BIRTHPLACE OF THE WORLD instead of just the USA?”
Good question! It’s just that pesky fact thing again...checking with Mr. Google we find these reports:
The origins of the haunted house date back to 19th-century London, when a series of illusions and attractions introduced the public to new forms of gruesome entertainment.
One of the first recorded purpose-built haunted attractions was the Orton and Spooner Ghost House, which opened in 1915 in Liphook, England. Closely resembling a carnival fun house, it was powered by steam.
Okay, so it was ENGLAND actually. But what about the USA?
DISNEYLAND’S HAUNTED MANSION opened in 1969, and some credit them with being the first USA haunted attraction.
But MUTILATION MANSION in MADISON HEIGHTS started THREE YEARS before that in 1966.
Obviously, there was a world of difference between these but nonetheless they both were haunted attractions.
THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTS may come and go as markets fluctuate, but the origin of haunts is “set in stone” so to speak. Nobody can take away our rightful title of being the BIRTHPLACE OF HAUNTS in the USA!
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 10 PM - ALL WILL BE REVEALED
We said a big change was coming...we actually already made the change, did anybody notice?
The top statement has been changed from THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD to THE HAUNTED HOUSE BIRTHPLACE OF THE USA.
THE TRUTH MATTERS - BUCKEYE BAD BOYS
When we started the ZIOPTIS HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE in 1999, Michigan was indeed King of the Hill with the most haunts of any state.
THE MITTEN CONTINUED TO RULE FOR MANY MOONS...
But as we’ve said many times, in the haunt industry the only constant is change.
GO SOUTH YOUNG MAN
So where is the bona fide WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES?
It’s OHIO, hands down with 127 haunts while Michigan clocks in with 76 haunts.
JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
At Zioptis, we will not claim to have a title the facts say we don’t deserve. We freely concede, and declare that as of 2022 OHIO IS THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. After Ohio is California with 120 and Pennsylvania with 101.
Okay, now that we’ve settled that there’s another issue to set straight regarding the origins of the haunted attraction genre. COMING NEXT!
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 9 PM - HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
My dad invented a game that became a family holiday tradition for us called The Object Game.
First, the game master displays a tray containing about a dozen everyday objects like a pencil, thimble, etc. Then the players are briefly sequestered while the game master “hides” the objects. Each object is in plain sight, but camouflaged by clever placement.
The players return & set about trying to find all the “hidden” objects, reporting their progress along the way to the game master. When time expires, the winner is the one who found the most objects. The contest is rigged & prizes are jimmied so certain people will get a certain prize regardless of how they did...one time I came in 7th place but won a pair of VIP TIX to BRIT FLOYD.
It’s a lot of fun and we still play this game at family get togethers.
POWERS OF OBSERVATION
But what does this have to do with the Haunted House Hotline?
It’s something that is hiding in plain sight right now!
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 8 PM - IN THE WINK OF AN EYE
POOF! And just like that, it’s PRESTO CHANGO. My, how time flies when you’re having fun...
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 7 PM - REVENGE OF SUSIE CREAM CHEESE
Here’s yet another generational iffy...a highly eccentric & silly guitar virtuoso with song titles like ZOMBY WOOF, PYGMY TWYLYTE & UNCLE MEAT.
It’s the late, great FRANK ZAPPA who we realize some of you have never heard of.
But all music was once new. And if you’re just now discovering a gem from 30 years ago or more, it’s new to you. Take a listen to this gem with Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia” from HOT RATS, released on Oct. 10, 1969: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGQxI0G6mKk One listener of this says: “This song has like 8000 parts and they all fit together perfectly.”
FRANK ZAPPA - APOSTROPHE full album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oF9aJUePkNA
But what does FRANK ZAPPA have to do with haunted houses?
Nothing...or perhaps everything.
Zappa was a wacky creative genius. Hmmm...that sounds like a whole lot of people we know in the haunt industry.
We’ve seen musicians involved with haunted attractions before, like ALICE COOPER (HOMER MILL, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD) & ROB ZOMBIE who recruited MR from TERRORTOWN for Zombie’s GREAT AMERICAN NIGHTMARE HH.
History doesn’t reveal its alternatives, but we can’t help but wonder: If Frank Zappa was alive today, which haunt would he potentially get involved with and what would that be like?
A personal friend of ours, the late & great ultra wacky artist MARK BEAM, had worked with Zappa. He created the MUD SHARK that was used on stage during concerts, and taught Zappa’s kids art.
Music and haunting go together like cheese & crackers!
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 6 PM - EVERY ENDING IS JUST A BEGINNING
My partner is here for a nice visit...what a whirlwind of haunts still as FRESH MEAT in our minds!
Another thing we’ve said before and will say again is this: In the haunt industry the only constant is change.
Don’t some things stay the same, like iconic haunts that seem timeless?
Not necessarily, and so it is that we find ourselves in a spot that’s as inevitable as death & taxes as a major change is coming.
But right now it’s dinner time. Call me anything you want, but don’t call me late for dinner! (;
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 2 PM - THE END OF AN ERA
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Nothing man-made lasts forever, except perhaps memories...
So many haunts...so many journeys...
We used to get lost at least once per season, sometimes even more than once in a night! GPS didn’t exist, and I have the world’s worst sense of direction. I can play triple paradiddles* backwards & forwards, and double paradiddles backwards & forwards between my bass drum and snare drum...but when it comes to north, south, east & west...I’m not so hot & my partner is almost as bad...
One time we were out in the boonies...dirt road...no street lights for miles...CASCO TWP. I think. We were SO lost, and in calling them the calls kept cutting out...cell phone service was in its early days.
We finally made it to the haunt, and they had a hayride powered by horses. With no engine noise, the snorting of the horses and the steam coming from them was half the show!
Or who remembers McCURDY’S REVENGE in CORUNNA? It was a volunteer haunt that had one of the most plausible fake stories ever, about previous patrons who were lost somewhere in the haunt.
* = A paradiddle is a drum rudiment, which is a drumming exercise.
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 6 AM - NOT TO WORRY
We filled up the gas tank of the MAGIC BUS last night for only $2.77 a gallon at the CITGO on FORD ROAD in DEARBORN.
There’s no shortage of gas, only some temporary glitches in the supply chain.
Which means a road trip to HOLLY or SAGINAW to go haunting soon should be no problem!
NOVEMBER 27, 2022 SUNDAY 5 AM - THE ALPHA & THE OMEGA
According to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the rate at which time passes depends on your frame of reference.
Time seems to follow a universal, tick tock rhythm. But in fact it doesn’t.
Huh? And what’s that got to do with haunted houses?
I have no idea. I’m a bona fide math dummy, and have a calculator sewn into my hip.
But DALE BOMBAST is forty-five feet of pure genius, and he’s bound to have the answer sooner or later.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 7 PM - THE PINK ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
If I tell you, “Whatever you do...do NOT think about “A PINK ELEPHANT” the first thing you think about is what? A pink elephant, of course.
The power of suggestion can be compelling, and has been known to influence people in devious clever ways.
***DISCLAIMER*** But rest assured dear Zioptis Populace, we would never use such tactics (more than twice) in any given sentence or catchy sounding phrase like MELTED BATHING CAP. Thank you.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 6 PM - FIN-TIN’S PRIVATE BASKET OF SHAME
Although we strive for accuracy in reporting, certain sensitive topics will remain off limits during this difficult time for our favorite DIRT-FACED CLOWN, FIN-TIN. For example: Ever since his recent ill-advised valiant stand against traffic safety, Fin-Tin’s only remaining friends are his SHINY YELLOW TRICYCLE & CANDY FISHALOT.
Please do not mock the pathetic clown. Thank you.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 5 PM - BIG WORD FROM THE BIG MAN
We just heard directly from DALE BOMBAST, who is in the process of composing EXCLUSIVE PUBLIC STATEMENTS to be released whenever we feel like it. *
* = Subject to change at the discretion of The Professional Bean Counters Association. **
** = You guys do know what satire & hyperbole are, right? Knowing DALE, this could get wild. Do not read. Permanent psychological damage may result, and we are not responsible. Thank you.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 12 NOON - THE BIG GAME!
All of our beer swilling buddies & their wives / girlfriends are here to watch TV, expecting big excitement on the big screen.
We have a mountain of chicken wings from BUFFALO WILD WINGS, ribs from ZUKIN’S RIB SHACK, and tacos from MANUEL’S TACO HUT. *
AN AMERICAN CLASSIC
What they don’t know is that before they came, we took a poll and the girls made a decision. Which means that in a few minutes, we’ll be showing “HEIDI” on DVD.
It’s a heart warming tale, and my personal favorite by the immortal SHIRLEY TEMPLE.
Gotta run, it’s show time! Come back later for more BIG FUN IN THE BIG CITY.
* = We have it on good authority that a GENUINE PIXIE SPREADING FAIRY DUST works at this establishment, allegedly going by the name TINKER BELLA... but that sounds like a stage name to us. Disregard, and please tip your waitress.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 6 AM - FORTY-FIVE FEET OF DENIAL
Some of you are familiar with DAIL (rhymes with pail) BOMBAST, aka DALE BOMBAST who is the world’s biggest talk show host towering head & shoulders above the rest at forty-five feet tall.
DAIL has conducted countless interviews with unsuspecting members of the Zioptis Populace to the delight of the masses.
As a bona fide MEDIA STAR, there have been rumors that he craves so much attention he has decided to make the big leap to politics and WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2024!!!
But these rumors have been verified to be FAKE NEWS. Pay no attention.
And please, no wagering.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 5 AM - NOPE
As you may recall, we’ve said that we have a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON.
To avoid frivolous speculation and needless worry, we’d like to assure the American Public that ZIOPTIS IS NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2024!!!
Furthermore, if nominated we will not run & if elected will not serve.
Also, please be advised that we have no plans to submit credentials to join the PROFESSIONAL BEAN COUNTERS COUNCIL, THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY or THE COMMUNIST PARTY. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
NOVEMBER 25, 2022 FRIDAY 9 PM - ROOT, ROOT-ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM, IF THEY DON’T LOSE IT’S A SHAME
Wait, isn’t it supposed to be “IF THEY DON’T WIN IT’S A SHAME”? Those are the correct words in “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”
But this is the true story of how losing the game would mean WINNING A MILLION BUCKS! It was a game with The Detroit Lions, and the winner was a local sports fan...we’ll just call him John Doe. (JD actually doesn’t mind if the story spreads, because he’s the unlikely anonymous hero.)
This amazing account of a most unusual situation was told to me by my brother about a former client of his (JD), who found a way to translate a unique experience in Las Vegas into a major success here in Detroit.
***SIDEBAR*** This is also what CB from HUSH did, when he discovered some exquisitely delicious drink recipes in Vegas to feature back here in Detroit. HUSH already had the prized liquor license secured, with earlier efforts to utilize it thwarted by the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic. They needed a spectacular way to roll out the deluxe drinks, and the “THREE SECRET BARS” were born.
Anyway, the story goes something like this:
The year was 2007, and another dismal season for The Detroit Lions had just finished. They were the laughing stock of the division.
JD and his pals said it’s time to get out of town & head to Vegas for some fun in the sun...
They made the rounds, but before they came back to Detroit JD said he had one more thing to do at the OTB place. OTB is short for Off Track Betting, and basically you can bet on any single sporting event as well as the entire season of any sporting event.
JD jokingly asked: “How much would it cost to make a bet that would pay a million dollars if The Detroit Lions lost every game of next season?”
I think it was about $1,500, and JD happily paid the bookie with a smirk and a wink.
Everyone thought this was a hoot, except for JD who felt with great passion the dismal & pathetic Detroit Lions could make good his crazy wager.
Sure enough, the following season saw The Detroit Lions doing everything they could to sabotage themselves.
One by one, the games lost count grew closer to the MILLION DOLLAR PAYOFF. JD’s total belief that the Lions were total losers was proving to be prophetic.
Finally at 15 - 0, the possible big payday was just one more loss away. The OTB bookies called JD, and offered him $500,000 to walk away from the bet.
But that proved insufficient to deter JD’s SCHADENFREUDE FUELED FRENZY, as he snapped back “Negative function, my Lions are going all the way!”
A week later JD became a millionaire.
So what’s the moral of this wacky story, and what does it have to do with haunted houses? Beats me. Stay tuned for more fun stuff!
NOVEMBER 25, 2022 BLACK FRIDAY 4 AM - DON’T DO IT!
NO, NO! Go back to bed! Hide your car keys. The deals can/will wait & so should you.
Avoid the disappointment & regret that surely awaits.
BLACK FRIDAY IS A RUSSIAN HOAX - DON’T BE FOOLED
NOVEMBER 24, 2022 THURSDAY 10 PM - A THOUSAND LASHES WITH A WET NOODLE
I can’t believe it. After all the stink we made about not distributing FAKE NEWS, guess what we did?
It was an honest mistake however. So let’s set the record straight.
Earlier, we talked about turkey & tryptophan leading to ultra relaxation.
Then, as I was driving to my Thanksgiving Day destination I checked the “traffic on the eights” report on WWJ RADIO 950 AM.
After the traffic report, they had a short piece about...sure enough, turkey & tryptophan and feeling sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner.
They acknowledged that tryptophan becomes the neurotransmitter serotonin, which indeed induces relaxation.
However, they said you’d need 20 servings of turkey to get enough tryptophan to induce sleepiness. They said that digesting a large meal takes lots of energy and that’s what causes drowsiness.
Also, tryptophan is not unique to turkey. Other foods like cheese & dairy contain this amino acid / protein building block.
ZIOPTIS STANDS TRAIL - REQUEST FOR SPECIAL MASTER IS DENIED
So for our FAKE NEWS INFRACTION we hereby impose upon ourselves the penalty of A THOUSAND LASHES WITH A WET NOODLE. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s awfully annoying. (;
NOVEMBER 24, 2022 THURSDAY 11 AM - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Just watching the AMERICA’S THANKSGIVING PARADE from Detroit, which has 9 new floats this year.
Cool...here’s the BATTLE OF THE BANDS which brings back memories. But that’ll have to wait until later, as preparations for Turkey Day continue.
We’ll be back later, stay tuned and enjoy the beautiful day!
NOVEMBER 24, 2022 THURSDAY 2 AM - HOW THE ULTIMATE LOSER LIONS MADE A MILLION FOR LOCAL MAN - coming on Friday!
There’s a lot of media hype right now about The Detroit Lions, but we’ve got some info about them you won’t hear anywhere else!
This is a TRUE story about The Detroit Lions and...just some guy...we’ll call him John Doe for now. You’ve heard the phrase “Stranger than fiction”?
Well, this one is a doozie! Pretty sure we haven’t mentioned this before...it actually goes back to 2008...come back Friday when we’ll have more time to spill the beans.
NOVEMBER 24, 2022 THURSDAY 1 AM - DREAMING OF TRYPTOPHAN AGAIN
HAPPY THANKSGIVING from your pals at Zioptis!
May your turkey be moist and your loved ones near.
Have you noticed how mellow & relaxed you feel after eating turkey? It’s not your imagination, it’s due to the amino acid tryptophan contained in turkey.
So put on your feed bag. Eat. Repeat as desired for yummy tummy.
NOVEMBER 23, 2022 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - GRATEFUL & GIVING THANKS
As we head into Thanksgiving Weekend a realization sets in that all-in-all, we’ve got a Wonderful Life right here in The Mitten!
We have awesome haunted attractions, tasterrific cider mills, fascinating museums, and so much more! https://www.michigan.org/
There’s a Thanksgiving Day Parade and football game in Detroit, with eyes of the nation on us.
I heard an interesting story from my brother about how The Detroit Lions snagged the exclusive annual football game on Thanksgiving. As I recall, it goes something like this:
Many moons ago before football was the giant industry it is now, the NFL was having difficulty in booking a Thanksgiving Day game.
Sports bars and giant flat screen TV’s were far in the future. Watching football on a tiny box with a black & white screen rated up there with sorting pocket lint.
A lack of interest, and the desire to be home with families by the teams trumped everything else.
OR AND GO HOME
Then The Detroit Lions made an offer to host the would-be big Thanksgiving Day game, but with a condition. The stipulation was that for better or worse, The Detroit Lions would host this annual event from then on.
It proved to be a big gamble that paid off big time.
And this reminds us of the kind of spunk and determination it takes to start a haunted attraction in a highly competitive market like Michigan.
So let’s hear it for the chance takers & rule breakers!
Oh yeah, and Go Lions. Maybe you’ll even win this time.
THE GAUNTLET IS THROWN
Okay, enough with the football thing.
NOW, who will step up to the plate and book the first major Thanksgiving Day Tennis Match???
Tennis is the sport of a lifetime, and can be the most intense physical battle you’ll ever see! In contrast, with football there are two gangs beating up on each other.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
When somebody breaks a bone or can’t stand up anymore, they just send in another
clown bloke to take his chances. How thrilling. And then there’s NASCAR, where you turn left.
NOVEMBER 23, 2022 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - A FLIP OF THE COIN
When a couple has an argument it’s often said there are 3 sides to the story: his side, her side & the truth. Certainly, one’s opinion is subjective yet likely to be truly believed to be correct by the owner of that opinion.
For example, the guy enthusiastically says “HAUNT A is better than HAUNT B & HAUNT C combined!”
Then the girl says “That’s ridiculous! HAUNT A is better than HAUNT B, HAUNT C, AND HAUNT D combined!”
We’ve found such statements to be absurd, from our point of view. But the people making these statements truly believe them to be facts, from their point of view.
So the objective truth can be elusive, right? What about the following statements:
IF THE GLOVE DOESN’T FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT
THE TRUTH MATTERS WHAT YOU REPEATEDLY HEAR MUST BE RIGHT
ALTERNATIVE FACTS THE OBJECTIVE TRUTH
ACCURATE ACCOUNTS FAKE NEWS
NEWFANGLED REALITY ON A STICK CORRECT DATA
EXCITING STORIES HUMDRUM ACCOUNTS
NOVEMBER 23, 2022 WEDNESDAY 12:30 PM - SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
Here are 2 statements: 1) 2 + 2 = 4 2) 2 + 2 = 5
They can’t both be right, or can they?
(Don LaFontaine voice-over) “In a world full of science fiction mumbo jumbo and alternative facts rammed down your throat, how do you know what to believe?”
NOVEMBER 23, 2022 WEDNESDAY 12 NOON - THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
Remember, our MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT is coming sometime during THANKSGIVING WEEKEND!
NOVEMBER 22, 2022 TUESDAY 8 AM - GOBBLE UNTIL YOU WOBBLE
THANKSGIVING is only two days away, but it can take that long just to properly thaw a frozen turkey in the fridge.
Forget all those pesky details! Let someone else do the cooking: https://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/dining/2022/11/11/restaurants-open-on-thanksgiving-day-2022/69633037007/
This way, you can go to the BIG PARADE while somebody else prepares your meal. https://www.travel-mi.com/Detroit-Thanksgiving-Parade.html#gsc.tab=0
Time to go back to bed now...see you in slumber land!
NOVEMBER 21, 2022 MONDAY 10 PM - HOT TIMES, WINTER WEATHER
Ah yes, the winter weather of December...the perfect time for a FREE OUTDOOR CONCERT & PROFESSIONAL FIREWORKS, right?
Wait a sec...how about we throw in a bunch of food trucks, a FOURTH OF JULY SCALE PARADE with school marching bands, tons of lights, custom floats, Holiday Hounds on Parade and much more...
Sounds crazy, right?
Welcome to the sleepy little town of IDA, MICHIGAN where they celebrate CHRISTMAS IN IDA the first weekend of every December. This thing is massive, about 50,000 attend annually. https://christmasinida.com/
We’ve mentioned this event before, after my partner discovered this gem while looking for upcoming Country Music Concerts.
This year the headliner is DIAMOND RIO who I must admit I’m not familiar with. There are lots of other performances: https://christmasinida.com/entertainment-schedule/
The first year we went to this we stumbled upon what has got to be the perfect parking spot for this event. It’s the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant CARL’S HIDE-A-WAY at the end of the main drag. This makes the perfect spot to watch the parade after the concert & fireworks which are about 2 blocks from there.
The first time we went to this event we tried to leave before the 2 hour parade. But just as we got to our parking spot at CARL’S the parade began, with CARL’S being the start point of the parade. Afterward, we were glad we were forced to stay. Another year, CARL’S was the ending point of the parade. Either way, it’s the perfect spot to park!
And several years, right across the street from CARL’S we saw a large friendly looking dog in the upstairs window of a house looking on at the festivities. Speaking of dogs, the parade also features the Holiday Hounds On Parade where people have decked out their pets in wild & crazy holiday garb. BIG BOW WOW FUN!
NOVEMBER 20, 2022 SUNDAY 6 PM - COUNTDOWN TO BLACK FRIDAY
The sales blitz is upon us, beckoning bargain hunters to flood the gates and storm into the stores en masse next Friday and some even right on Thanksgiving.
You can save 15%, maybe even more and it will only require that you first set your alarm clock for 4 AM on Black Friday.
Then rush to the mall as fast as possible, running all stop lights to beat out would-be bargain stealers hell-bent on ruining your glorious retail purchase experience. Affix a battering ram to the front of your car to deter rude motorists looking to steal your private parking spot.
But how badly do you really need a three dollar toaster?
We have a different strategy, and you’ll save a WHOPPING 100%!
It’s so simple. Set your alarm for 4 AM. Get up and hide your car keys. Go back to bed and meet us in slumber land.
You just saved 100%! You’re welcome.
NOVEMBER 20, 2022 SUNDAY 5 PM - HIGH FLYING HIJINKS
Just remembering one of the THRILLING GAGS at JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON...and if you’re afraid of heights this will terrify you! Not sure if they still have this, but here’s a description of this wild creation:
It’s a custom-made “bridge” of sorts that takes you from one exterior part of the building to another, one person at a time. This is done at the highest possible elevation! It’s a narrow passageway with a metal mesh floor you can see through, supported by a large metal pole in the middle. A “cage” of sorts has been fashioned running the length of this insane creation to keep you from falling to certain disaster!
The colossal building at JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD used to be a manufacturing facility during wartime, and later a Department Store.
There are 2 other MEGA HAUNTS in ridiculously massive buildings that come to mind, EREBUS in PONTIAC and FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW.
EREBUS is in a giant 4 story warehouse, and FACTORY OF THE DEAD is a 5 story behemoth.
***SIDEBAR*** FACTORY OF THE DEAD will be open on Saturday, December 17, 2022 for A HOLIDAY HORROR STORY! https://factoryofthedead.com/
NOVEMBER 20, 2022 SUNDAY 2 PM - RABBIT IN THE HAT
We’ve been discussing MAGIC AT HAUNTS recently, but failed to mention an early haunt that helped pave the way. That would be HAUNTED HILL ACRES in BELLEVILLE, long gone but still fresh in our memories.
It was a multi-attraction farm haunt, with a hayride & walk thru haunts.
The hayride featured a realistic “fight” with a disgruntled renegade farm employee who suddenly rides up on an ATV. It was so plausible we fell for it the first time we saw it!
They also produced a HOLLYWOOD GRADE HORROR MOVIE, based on actual legends involving Indian burial grounds on their property.
MERRY MYSTICAL MADNESS
But perhaps their biggest influence was from early magic shows, staged in a garage emptied out to create a makeshift theater and later outdoors on benches in front of a camp fire.
The magic shows filled the garage to capacity, and were slick presentations with the elegant Magician’s Assistant to seal the deal. People love to be fooled, seeing things that shouldn’t be possible happen!
In the last years of HAUNTED HILL ACRES, the magic shows disappeared as their focus turned to film making.
This haunt also repurposed buildings as we’ve recently discussed. Their main walk thru haunt was formerly a veterinarian facility, with the animal cages still intact. Some of the cages became “jail cells” holding some famous nefarious characters.
The final room was a MINI MUSEUM TO DIE FOR of vintage analog electronic equipment, with lots of magic dials, flashing lights and such. Pretty sure they had a JACOB’S LADDER too, with the distinctive electric spark that grows as it moves upward between two metal rods in a “V” shape.
But as we’ve noted before, even the coolest haunt someday sings their Final Swan Song. And so it is with HAUNTED HILL ACRES / Abraham Farms. Gone but not forgotten, all we can say now is THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!
NOVEMBER 20, 2022 SUNDAY 1 PM - PARTY LIKE IT’S THE FOURTH OF JULY
Huh? Details coming tomorrow...
NOVEMBER 19, 2022 SATURDAY 5 PM - BLOOD THIRSTY & NOT SORRY
HOLY HEMOGLOBIN, BATMAN!
FOREST OF FEAR - ONE SIP TO PARADISE
TYPE AB NEGATIVE IF YOU PLEASE
RED NOT DEAD
FIN-TIN’s PLASMA PARADISE
SANGUINE FLUID OBSESSIONS FROM BEYOND
CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Who in the haunt community could we be talking about? There are 2 specific clues in the above captions.
If you think you know, zip an email to us at: ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
If we get enough responses we may turn this into an impromptu contest with a BIG PRIZE!
NOVEMBER 19, 2022 SATURDAY 4 PM - KING OF THE ICONS
QUICK! What is the ONE MAGICAL MOVIE that the youngest & oldest among us has surely seen?
Does this ring a bell: OVER THE RAINBOW?
CREEPY IS AS CREEPY DOES
Every movie has its back story, and this one is a doozie!
EXPEDITION EXTINCT - ABANDONED & CREEPY THEME PARK
This movie used to play only once per year, when many people didn’t yet have a COLOR TV.
Have you guessed which movie yet? Here’s another clue: EVIL FLYING MONKEYS!
If you still don’t know which movie, or even if you do, click here for an interesting behind the scenes look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc8qFp108os
NOVEMBER 19, 2022 SATURDAY 3 PM - Just had a computer crash...RATS! Please stand by... the most recent dump from the bottom of the Main Page to Archives 40 was lost & had to be copied from the website online then transferred/pasted to Archive 40. All font settings and color changes are gone, and annoying capital A’s appear with a tilde. I shouldn’t complain...I once lost the ENTIRE website on a computer that died & had to start from scratch.
HOLY MOLY over 63,000 hits last period: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_33.shtml
NOVEMBER 18, 2022 FRIDAY 2 AM - HOT DOGS, HOT CHOCOLATE, HOT NIGHT
The WAYNE COUNTY LIGHT FEST Opening Night was a spectacular success!
My partner wasn’t available, so I went with TB aka CANDY FISHALOT who was thrilled to go.
After some boring announcements & being serenaded by a school choir, the fireworks flew high in doubles for most of the show. By doubles, I mean they sent 2 identical shells together to make the same display twice in the sky simultaneously.
After the fireworks (10 minutes) they flipped the switch and TAH DAH...LIGHT SHOW! Santa Claus came through with an early Christmas present of letting everyone in free.
One display in particular totally enchanted CANDY and made her SQUEAL WITH DELIGHT! It was a scene on the left featuring JOLLY OLD SAINT NICK himself. He’s doing the fisherman thing, and has a rod and reel. He casts off, then has big success catching a fish.
The excitement had Candy jumping out of her skin, and craving a fish dinner. Unfortunately, the food truck at the halfway pit stop of the show did not have fish dinners. But she forgot about the fish when she saw HOT DOGS on the menu. Candy loves hot dogs, and like my partner is on a sacred quest to find the ultimate wiener.
TUBE STEAKS A GO-GO
They had DEARBORN BRAND hot dogs which Candy smothered with mustard, onions & relish. They also had ketchup at the condiments table, but Candy correctly warned that “using ketchup on coney dogs in Detroit is considered sacrilegious among connoisseurs of tube steaks.”
Indeed, DOUSING A DOG with ketchup is justification for the cook to shoot you and is considered a breach of processed meat etiquette in The Kangaroo Court of Public Opinion.
JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
DETROIT IS THE CONEY DOG CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, according to a show on THE FOOD NETWORK. So I think we can all agree that people in MOTOWN are among the most enthusiastic hot dog eaters on the planet, right? I mean, THE TRUTH MATTERS whether we’re talkin’ HOT DOGS or HOT
running out of space again - have to move stuff to Archives
and the hot chocolate was indeed hot & delicious.
HOT LIQUID HAPPINESS
NOVEMBER 17, 2022 THURSDAY 6:30 AM - NOW PLAYING:
BEST SPOOKY PRANKS on JUST FOR LAUGHS GAGS on WMYD-TV CHANNEL 20 in DETROIT. It’s a hoot!
NOVEMBER 17, 2022 THURSDAY 2 AM - ROOTS
No, not the TV SHOW. It’s the origins of the haunted attraction genre.
THE JAYCEE’S were the first people to operate haunted attractions in the USA, starting in 1966 with MUTILATION MANSION in MADISON HEIGHTS and I think WARREN too.
Also, ALLEN PARK JAYCEE’S, DEARBORN JAYCEE’S, and WESTLAND JAYCEE’S had trailer haunts in this era.
But HANDS DOWN, the most prolific of the JAYCEE’S was the WYANDOTTE JAYCEE’S who sadly have closed up shop...for now anyway. Their FACEBOOK PAGE says: “3131 Biddle (old City Hall) was sold last spring by the City of Wyandotte...as of right now we have no plans on opening with a new location.”
Also on their FACEBOOK PAGE we find this:
Since 1976 the Wyandotte Jaycees has produced a haunted house each October. The name and theme of the attraction change every year, often the location does as well. Here's a list of our haunted houses from the past decade-plus.
2021 - Circus Sinister
2020 - Bloodlust (Valentine's Day)
2019 - Purgatory
2018 - Oblivion
2017 - Kindred
2016 - SIN
2015 - Delirium
2014 - Fō-bē-ə?
2013 - Bloodbath on Biddle
2012 - Nightmare Sanctum
2011 - Lockdown
2010 - Massacre Manor
2009 - Hellblock 13
2008 - Templin's Night Terror
2007 - Hell's Hospital
WOW, that’s quite a run! We can only hope that somehow the WYANDOTTE JAYCEE’S find a way to come back! They had a most unique relationship with the city government in Wyandotte, who found & offered buildings soon to be demolished that could be used for a haunt before the wrecking ball hit.
NOVEMBER 17, 2022 THURSDAY 1 AM - AND THE ROCKET’S RED GLARE
FIREWORKS TONIGHT! As part of Opening Night Festivities starting at 6 PM at the WAYNE COUNTY LIGHT FEST.
The entrance is at MERRIMAN HOLLOW PARK, 7651 North Merriman Road in Westland, which is between Ann Arbor Trail & Warren Avenue, 2 1/2 miles south of I-96.
Rumor has it that SANTA CLAUS will be there too, to “flip the switch” that turns on the light show. And because Santa is known for giving stuff away, everyone will then GET IN FREE to see the LIGHT FEST!
For more info you can call (734) 261-1990 or click here: https://www.waynecounty.com/articles/wayne-county-lightfest.aspx
NOVEMBER 16, 2022 WEDNESDAY 9 PM - ABRACADABRA
In talking about HAUNTS THAT USE MAGIC, we need to also mention SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE.
This is a haunt that grew out of a neighborhood Halloween party that took on a life of its own. It became so wildly popular that the transition to a commercial haunt was a no-brainer.
MAGIC & HUMOR are big at SLAUGHTERHOUSE! One of our faves is a large scale illusion with a prisoner about to be executed. The prisoner is a live human being. Then suddenly FLASH! and the prisoner MAGICALLY TRANSFORMS into a skeleton! This is a pro-level magic illusion.
A really good haunt mixes it up, scrambling your senses and emotions. SLAUGHTERHOUSE nails it, AND makes you laugh ‘yer butt off too. One of our fave sketches involves a nightmare encounter with SIRI, the automated female voice assistant.
NOVEMBER 16, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - FOREVER YOUNG
HOLY MOLY! It’s no secret that the worldwide Covid pandemic put a serious damper on vast sectors of the business world, including haunted attractions. Many of them totally closed down in 2020, with residual effects lingering...
And here’s yet another reason not to get infected with Covid even once, despite most cases being mild recently.
It may feel like just a cold, but a new medical report I just saw says there’s new evidence that a long-term side effect of Covid is speeding up your aging process.
And anything that ages you faster eventually hinders your ability to go to as many haunted houses as possible. That’s no good.
But wearing masks and gloves can be cumbersome whilst haunting, so what else can you do? As for me personally, I’m double vaccinated and triple boosted. The latest booster specifically targets the OMICRON variants that are running rampant. It’s possible this saved my butt! We went to some crowded haunts for sure...no telling who has what...why can’t it just be like it used to be? Sigh...
But it’s not hopeless. The messenger RNA approach allows scientists to fine tune vaccines for specific variants. It’s not rocket science, but science it is!
And NO, the vaccine does not change your DNA or implant a micro chip for BILL GATES to monitor you, no matter how many FAKE NEWS reports say these absurd things.
Over a million people in the USA have already died, and the count grows every day, GO AWAY YOU STUPID PANDEMIC! I’m breaking up with you. We are SO done with you...or we want to be anyway...why can’t you be done with us?! Sigh...it’s always sumpthin!
NOVEMBER 16, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5 AM - REDEMPTION FOR THE LOST & CONFUSED
Are you ashamed & regretful that you didn’t see as many haunts as you could’ve this last season?
Lament no more! ZIOPTIS has your back, and will reveal details on 2 HAUNTS open soon.
FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY will have off-season events in December!
FACTORY OF THE DEAD will have their CHRISTMAS EVENT on Saturday, December 17, 2022. This is the same crew that ran the legendary BRIDGEPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL haunt. Now they have an AMAZING FIVE STORY BUILDING in SAGINAW, clearly putting them in the mega haunt category. We visited this haunt in 2019 http://www.zioptis.com/html/2019_b.shtml but missed them in 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic. The size of this place is gigantic, an imposing presence to say the least! Highly Recommended! https://factoryofthedead.com/
ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY will also be joining in the festivities with A ROTTEN CHRISTMAS NIGHTMARE on six nights! DECEMBER 2nd & 3rd, 9th & 10th, and 16th & 17th. Featured attractions will be THE MANOR & THE FOREST with doors opening at 7 PM. (248) 930-2835 or https://rottenmanor.com/
NOVEMBER 16, 2022 WEDNESDAY 3 AM - PRANKS A LOT ‘YA HOSER!
Who remembers CANDID CAMERA with ALAN FUNT? Hidden cameras captured people being themselves whilst falling victim to ruthless pranksters.
THE GREAT NORTH TRUE & FREE
Our maple leaf & syrup loving neighbors to the north in Canada grabbed the torch from CANDID CAMERA and came up with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS966yiGeA8
NOVEMBER 15, 2022 TUESDAY 1:30 PM - DATA DUMP DONE
I just ran out of space on the Main Page again! Articles from the bottom have been moved to the top of Archives 39. Back to the story below...
NOVEMBER 15, 2022 TUESDAY 1 PM - ON SECOND THOUGHT
When we last left off we were remembering the MOST MIND BENDING GAG we’ve ever seen at any haunt anywhere, THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN.
After much soul searching, we’ve decided not to reveal the method and only describe this brilliant gag.
PRESENTATION: Shortly after entering the haunt, your group meets a CARNIVAL BARKER type of character (we’ll call him FREDDIE) in a small room with four exits. Each exit has a large different colored circle above it.
FREDDIE displays a bowl containing lots of plastic balls, in the 4 colors seen on the exits and in equal amounts.
He explains that your chosen group leader will determine which exit you take by randomly choosing a ball. He holds the bowl above sight level, making this a GENUINE RANDOM CHOICE.
After the selection off you go through the exit you just chose. You continue your journey, but then you find yourself back with FREDDIE in the same room. “YOU AGAIN?” he scolds.
He again offers the bowl of plastic balls and implores you to “Make a better choice this time, will you? I’ve got better things to do than coddle lost & confused haunters like you!”
Your group leader again removes a colored ball, and you leave through the corresponding exit. But a few minutes later, you again find yourself back with FREDDIE in the same room! He turns up the rhetoric: “Are you guys lost or just rude? Did you finish school, or do you just have ZERO sense of direction? Sheesh, let’s try this once more and get it right this time will you already?”
He again offers the bowl of plastic balls, but despite the TRULY RANDOM CHOICE of exits the process repeats itself again and again. YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF THIS ONE ROOM! FREDDIE becomes highly agitated, now calling you by name as he’s seen you so many times already.
IT CAN’T BE, BUT IT IS!
This is a most confusing scenario, and much head scratching is done.
The method to accomplish this in a crowded haunt is pure genius, and the last thing we would ever have suspected. But to give away the secret would violate the Magician’s Code and disrespect Stuart, so we’ll leave it at that.
THE HAUNTING eventually caught the attention of an east coast Television organization who made them an offer they couldn’t resist. Stuart is now featured on TV regularly, and has also appeared on the syndicated PENN & TELLER FOOL US TV show where he DID fool them!
WE MISS YOU, Stuart MacDonald. Your influence on the MICHIGAN HAUNT SCENE continues to this day. You set the bar sky high, setting a standard no other haunt to our knowledge has ever reached...except maybe THE REALM OF DARKNESS.
Deep down, we knew it was just too good to last and we commend him on a highly successful career.
I guess there’s nothing left to say except THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, STUART!
NOVEMBER 14, 2022 MONDAY 10 PM - NECTAR OF THE GODS
Just sipping on some KROGER BRAND CIDER now...it’s good but not stellar like WIARD’S! Okay...BLAKE’S, PARMENTER’S & HY’S too...these are all stellar quality APPLE CIDER & more great examples of PURE MICHIGAN!
Michigan is such an amazing state...museums for example...did you know there’s an ICE MUSEUM in PORT HURON? https://www.facebook.com/knowltonmuseum/ How about a MAGIC MUSEUM in MARSHALL? https://americanmuseumofmagic.com/
And of course, Michigan is FAMOUS FOR AMAZING HAUNTS!
So we just mentioned MAGIC & HAUNTS, which reminds me of mainly of...can you guess...not all of you are old enough to know this...THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN. This haunt is gone now, but they live on as perhaps the MOST LEGENDARY ICONIC MICHIGAN HAUNT along with THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC.
THE HAUNTING was run by Master Magician Stuart MacDonald, and he seriously MESSED WITH YOUR MIND! He used his magic skills both in the haunt and during large scale outdoor magic shows. His wife was the requisite beautiful Magician’s Assistant, always getting sawed in half, vanishing, etc.
One time Stuart out did himself, creating the MOST MIND BENDING sequence we’ve ever seen at any haunt anywhere. It had you scratching your head, trying to figure how in the world what just happened happened! Can’t remember if we ever revealed this one, could be in the Archives...maybe we’ll just describe the effect for now. (see ON SECOND THOUGHT above)
NOVEMBER 14, 2022 MONDAY 1 PM - KA-BOOM!
Oh boy, it’s time for a PROFESSIONAL FIREWORKS SHOW!
It’s this coming Thursday, November 17, 2022 about 6 PM as part of Opening Night Festivities at the WAYNE COUNTY LIGHT FEST.
The entrance is at MERRIMAN HOLLOW PARK, 7651 North Merriman Road in Westland, which is between Ann Arbor Trail & Warren Avenue, 2 1/2 miles south of I-96.
Rumor has it that SANTA CLAUS will be there too, to “flip the switch” that turns on the light show. And because Santa is known for giving stuff away, everyone will then GET IN FREE to see the LIGHT FEST!
For more info you can call (734) 261-1990 or click here: https://www.waynecounty.com/articles/wayne-county-lightfest.aspx
NOVEMBER 13, 2022 SUNDAY 10 PM - CREEPY RELICS FROM BEYOND
What’s the creepiest thing you ever saw at a haunt? It’s supposed to be creepy, right?
Haunted Attractions are known for having wild & crazy gags, and that’s the point. People are looking for a thrill that’s safe FOR THEM.
But what happens when an ULTRA ZEALOUS haunt operator decides to stage a gag so outrageous it seems inevitable that an actor would get hurt?
***DISCLAIMER***This info for historical reference only. Any attempt to recreate this stunt would be ill-advised at best.
This was a long time ago...we went to a then new haunt called CROAKIE’S PARTY ISLE in MONROE. It was an outdoor haunt with lots of campground scenes and a strange hay roofed passageway for the entrance.
Haunts usually save their BIGGEST WOW for the end, and so it was here. A very special actor blew us away with a surprise reveal never since equaled.
PRESENTATION: This is a scene with a live human “prisoner” sitting on a table, about to face his punishment for heinous deeds by being “sawed in half.” His legs are hanging off the front of the table. A chain saw is fired up for the task, and with great fanfare the gleeful warden prepares to cut him off at the waist.
Amazingly, the saw actually clearly passes through his body whilst lots of blood sprays out of the freshly cut wound.
At first it seems the gag is over, with the excellent illusion of sawing through a body much as a professional magician would.
But then the victim’s torso falls off the table and starts running at you, without his legs which are still hanging off the table dripping with blood!
Since his legs have just been very clearly sawed off, he uses his arms to propel himself towards you while vocalizing in a strange guttural language all his own. The girls in our group positively freaked out at this scene!
METHOD REVEALED: The main secret ingredient here is the actor, a REAL LIFE AMPUTEE with no legs. He is dressed up with jeans and tennis shoes to look like a normal guy. The “table” is a custom-made platform of sorts draped with a table cloth to disguise this wickedly devious contraption. A hidden special horizontal slot has been cut to run the saw through, with stage blood packets loaded to complete the illusion. It was a massive guaranteed SLAM DUNK!
***SIDEBAR*** About a week after this, JT who was with us for this astonishing stunt was at Wyandotte Hospital. She was in the ER, and saw a forlorn looking patient waiting with NO LEGS. Was it the same dude? CREEPY IS AS CREEPY DOES!
This is the ONE GAG that none of us will ever forget! So what’s the CREEPIEST THING you ever saw at a haunt? Email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
NOVEMBER 13, 2022 SUNDAY 7 PM - SHAMELESS TEASER
Earlier we promised to reveal the most intense JAW-DROPPING GAG ever at a MICHIGAN HAUNT.
But before we do, a DISCLAIMER is in order:
We are NOT suggesting anyone should attempt this astonishing stunt under any circumstances whatsoever. We later discovered this INSANE GAG likely landed the lead performer in the hospital.
NOVEMBER 13, 2022 SUNDAY 2 PM - LEAVE IT TO BEAVER IN OUR BACKYARD
Some of you are probably too young to know about an old BLACK & WHITE TV SHOW called “Leave It To Beaver,” so first we need to give you a short lesson so you’ll understand.
Once upon a time, American life was simpler & much less violent.
The words “school” & “shooting” were never used in the same sentence. Neighborhood disputes rarely involved anything more serious than dogs barking too late at night. When problems came up, they were resolved with polite words. Staying in touch with family & friends was done in person, and at dinner time the whole family would gather and tell about their day. Baseball games were competitive, but the umpire’s calls never drove parents into an angry rage.
COLOR TV shows were rare, but nobody cared because most people only had BLACK & WHITE TV’s.
Against this backdrop came the TV show “Leave It To Beaver” which exemplified the idealized suburban American family of the mid-20th century. The show ran from 1957 to 1963, and was presented from a child’s point of view. Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver was the inquisitive & naive lead character, with stories following his adventures at home, school, and around his suburban neighborhood.
It’s easy to see how many could long for things to be more like they were in the heyday of BEAVER...
TRUTH, JUSTICE & THE AMERICAN WAY
The last thing we expected this haunt season was to virtually step back in time to the mindset of “Leave It To Beaver.”
But that’s what happened when we went to LOCHAVEN HAUNTED HOUSE in WATERFORD TWP. A house has been turned into a MASSIVE & MYSTICAL YARD DISPLAY and walk thru haunt. (Pictures will be posted later.)
ANDY OF MAYBERRY MEETS SPOOKY TOWN USA
The vibe here was a NOSTALGIC NOD to the feeling you get when you see shows like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER & THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. It’s a bunch of friendly neighbors celebrating their ARTISTIC FREEDOM to be super spooky in a most spectacular way. Everyone was smiling...it’s a unique hospitality...reminded us of the vibe last year at TILLSON STREET in ROMEO.
Imagine you had a neighbor who did this with their lawn: https://www.facebook.com/LochavenHauntedHalloweenHouse/
This has been running for over 20 years! KUDOS TO ALL INVOLVED FROM ZIOPTIS.
NOVEMBER 13, 2022 SUNDAY 11:11 AM - LUCKY 13
It’s your lucky day! Later today, we’ll be SPILLING THE BEANS and revealing from behind-the-scenes the most intense JAW-DROPPING GAG ever at a MICHIGAN HAUNT.
NOVEMBER 13, 2022 SUNDAY 6 AM - Now posted: full review of NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. http://www.zioptis.com/html/2022.shtml
NOVEMBER 13, 2022 SUNDAY 4 AM - FRESH, DELICIOUS, PURE MICHIGAN!
Just sipping on some HONEYCRISP APPLE CIDER...sooo good!
Michigan is famous for exquisite apples and ICONIC HAUNTS spawned from orchards like BLAKE’S & WIARD’S.
We haven’t made it to BLAKE’S since 2019, but we did visit WIARD’S this year on the heels of an ESPN short about them that played during the recent big football game on TV between U OF M & MSU.
At the end of the hayride, WIARD’S gives everyone cider & donuts. This doubles as a reward for surviving the madness and a clever marketing tool. One sip of their incredible fresh cider and you’re hooked. Their ULTIMATE HAUNTED BARN exit leads you into their store, where it’s difficult to resist getting a gallon or 2 and some donuts to go. ***SERVING SUGGESTION*** One of our favorite combos is to also get a jar of APPLE BUTTER and dip the donuts in it. https://www.wiards.com/
Of course BLAKE’S also features an incredible store with ultra fresh cider & donuts, as well as APPLE BUTTER.
Also, BLAKE’S now produces their own HARD CIDER in various flavors and is available at many party/grocery stores. I’ve tried it and it’s delicious! https://www.blakeshardcider.com/
Of course there are other cider mills in Michigan. For example, recently at TRENTWOOD FARM MARKET in TRENTON I found HY’S BRAND CIDER from ROMEO and it too is fabulous. https://hyscidermill.com/ This is the brand HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR used to serve at their ROAD KILL CAFE, before they sadly closed.
HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR was in LENOX TWP. which is the same city where SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK is.
HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR made many of their own highly artistic props by repurposing farm tools & implements. The hayride was HIGH INTENSITY, with FRENETIC LIVE DJ's and incredible large scale gags. One of them was a gigantic metal spider that suddenly “attacks” from above. Another magical effect was the use of GREEN LASERS that produced thousands of tiny dots in the tall trees.
And one magical evening we saw a BREATHTAKING display at HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR that could only happen because there was NO WIND that night. No wind means the fog machines have no competition from Mother Nature. There were large powerful lights in the parking lot facing towards the woods. The trees naturally split the bright lights into thousands of distinct little beams cutting through the thick fog, producing a LIQUID SKY DISPLAY like no other. It was POSITIVELY GLORIOUS!
Thanks for the memories, Charlie! We will never forget your smiling face and your friendly German Shepherd bow wow. Oh yeah...and RICKY, one of the most whacked-out clever actors ever at a haunt!
RICKY had an uncanny ability to pop out and appear/scare you from all sorts of unlikely locations, above and below you. His demeanor ran the gamut from taunting monster to ladies man / pickup artist. My very well endowed partner is no stranger to guys hitting on her, and she’s heard virtually every CHEESY PICKUP LINE. But RICKY completely FLIPPED THE SCRIPT, accusing her of hitting on him with hilarious results.
For context, he would only do this to “victims” deemed appropriate that had already responded back in a playful and accepting manner.
It was long ago, and I don’t have the tapes handy but I can improvise the gist of what RICKY said to my partner: “HEY! Stop undressing me with your eyes, you naughty girl! I’m not that kind of guy...you’ve GOT to stop thinking of me strictly as a sausage with two legs attached for your sick & perverted personal pleasure. You have a boyfriend? Awesome! He can make us breakfast in the morning, but if the orange juice isn’t fresh I’M GONNA CLUB HIM!” Never before, or since then, have we had an actor make us laugh so hard. Now THAT’S entertainment, HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR style!
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 10 PM - DELICIOUS DANGER DU JOUR
The allure of haunted attractions can seem a mysterious phenomenon, but there are established psychological principles at work.
Successful haunt operators knows this, and exactly how to best utilize them to WOW THE CROWDS and leave them wanting more.
Why is it that people will spend millions to experience their worst nightmare?
THE DELIGHT OF THE FRIGHT
Thrill seekers may not realize it, but haunting goes to universal core instincts.
Whether it’s at a haunted attraction or a slasher movie, fear translates to big business and there are many ways to get a slice of the marketing pie. Every year it just gets bigger & bigger, as fascination with getting scared grows.
FAKE DANGER, REAL THRILLS
Despite the IN YOUR FACE presentation, there’s an inherent safety felt due to psychological distancing. Haunted attractions are designed with stringent public safety standards strictly enforced.
This underlying knowledge is key to the experience. The maniac wielding a chain saw won’t actually cut your arm off, leaving you free to enjoy the sensation of physiological stimulation / arousal.
The happy haunter is free to play with fear, knowing there’s no actual threat to their well-being. Add to that the adrenaline rush haunting is known for, and you have the formula for a successful haunted attraction.
TERROR AS A SHARED EXPERIENCE
For all these reasons, haunting is a group activity like no other and sometimes becomes ever-evolving URBAN LEGENDS. One especially wild URBAN LEGEND starts with someone excitedly asking if someone has heard about “This one haunted house in Ann Arbor where it costs $100 to get in, but you get $10 back for each room you make it through. It’s put on by a renegade frat house with medical school students who got expelled for stealing body parts to use in the sickest haunt ever...”
We’ve talked about this recurring URBAN LEGEND in more detail before, but you get the idea.
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 9 PM - INVISIBLE REALITY
Earlier, we indulged in some silly talk about Eleven Eleven.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN ANGELS?
But there’s another side to every story. Some people even say that Eleven Eleven is a call for new & exciting things that will have a powerful influence over your life. Archangel Michael awaits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvtxOPubCvs
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 5 PM - THE FASTEST MAN ON THE PLANET
So I was just talking to my haunt partner about the BIG FUN we had at NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE starting the moment we arrived.
They had a MADMAN running back & forth the length of the ship. Thanks to some clever spring-loaded leg extenders, he sprints at superhuman speed while spouting impromptu monster taunts. POW! A great start...
Inside the ship was an awesome scene that starts as you hear an orchestra playing ahead. The music is twisted and off-kilter. You then enter the dining room lit only with slow strobe lights. All the tables have meals ready to eat by the skeleton diners. Best of all, the orchestra is also made up of skeletons all holding full size real musical instruments.
But our fave gag at NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE was a strange juxtaposition, the likes of which we’ve never seen at any other haunt. First you get a really old feeling as you pass through crew quarters left exactly as they were many moons ago. Musty clothes are hanging...it looks old...it smells old...it feels old...it IS old.
Then a ballerina girl appears ahead down the hall. She has a friendly smile and a happy looking colorful outfit. But then she does a pirouette and morphs into a hideous creature. It looks totally real, but in fact is a high-tech moving hologram!
NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE had successful runs in LORAIN, OHIO, TOLEDO, OHIO, and finally in RIVER ROUGE, MICHIGAN.
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 4 PM - NOT BY THE HAIR OF MY CHINNY CHIN CHIN
It has come to our attention that there are some FORMATTING IRREGULARITIES within some articles appearing in Archives 39 and other pages: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_39.shtml
Please be advised that these IRREGULARITIES mostly involve TEXT COLOR and the needless appearance of capital “A” letters with a tilde, and in no way shape manner or form are proof of WIDESPREAD FRAUD regardless of ALTERNATIVE FACTS or FAKE NEWS that you may have read on TWITTER or FAKEBOOK!
These IRREGULARITIES are residual effects from a total computer failure years ago. We had no choice but to copy the entire website online from the internet, then transfer it piece-by-piece on to a new computer.
This process left thousands of IRREGULARITIES that can only be fixed manually, one by one. ***DISCLAIMER*** Rest assured this website is NOT ABOVE THE LAW and these issues will be addressed WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR in a somewhat timely manner, whenever we get around to it.
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 3 PM - ANCHORS AWAY, MY FRIEND
Who remembers NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE? It was an old BOB-LO BOAT converted into a PRIMO HAUNTED ATTRACTION, and a trip down Memory Lane for many who rode roller coasters and such at BOB-LO AMUSEMENT PARK.
NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE vanished after an unfavorable DNR report that shut it down...something about toxic chemicals spewing from the vessel.
We thought that was the final nail in the coffin. But several months ago, we saw a LOCAL TV NEWS article about a BOB-LO BOAT being bought by a local family. They were passionate about restoring it...think it was the ST. CLAIRE.
There was no mention of what exactly they intended to do with it. Which means there’s a possibility that another haunted attraction will be made from a BOB-LO BOAT!
In the meantime, it’s only a short road trip to BAY CITY where the EDSON INCIDENT is. This is another giant vessel (can’t call it a “boat”) that has been repurposed into a PRIMO HAUNTED ATTRACTION that we visited in 2017: http://www.zioptis.com/html/2017_a.shtml
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 2 PM - NOT WHAT YOU THINK
Nope, not even close.
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 SATURDAY 5 AM - HOLIDAY MEMORIES
It’s hard to believe it’s all over. The Visqueen has been rolled up, decorations have been put back in storage, and the children have special memories of countless celebrations at home, school and such.
The ELEVEN ELEVEN HOLIDAY SEASON was another for the record books, shattering previous jubilee stats.
Now that all the hubbub is over, folks are getting back to their humdrum routines.
But don’t despair, as soon we’ll be guiding you into FIREWORKS time with multiple PROFESSIONAL FIREWORKS DISPLAYS that will knock your socks off! Exact details coming soon, with the first PROFESSIONAL FIREWORKS DISPLAY on Thursday, November 17, 2022.
NOVEMBER 11, 2022 FRIDAY 11:11 PM - THE BEST TIME OF THE DAY ON THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR
OHHH BOY, HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN again! The Visqueen is holding up just fine, thank you.
Eleven eleven is a very versatile number. It’s the same upside down or right side up as well as forwards or backwards. No matter how mixed up you are, eleven eleven remains the undisputed and much ballyhooed Rock Of Gibraltar.
Some people think eleven eleven is a MAGICAL GATEWAY NUMBER to other realms! There has been talk of ANGEL NUMBERS, and suggestions that we should pay close attention when we see them in seemingly random occurrences.
But that sounds like just more CONSPIRACY THEORY NONSENSE to us.
Never mind. Pay no attention to the man behind the keyboard. Thank you.
NOVEMBER 11, 2022 FRIDAY 10 PM - PLAN B, AGAIN
Oh wellski. The BIG NEWS was going to be GLORIOUS!
It was planned as a SPECIAL ROLLOUT for the big day, Eleven Eleven and of course VETERANS DAY.
So the BIG NEWS will have to wait, but the MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT is still coming up during the upcoming THANKSGIVING WEEKEND.
It’s been a long time coming, but in the end TRUTH MATTERS and we will not be party to “alternative facts” or “fake news.”
If the truth diminishes glowing long-standing assumptions, so be it.
Editor’s note: I just ran out of space on the main page again. A block of articles from the bottom has been moved to the top of Archive 39: http://www.zioptis.com/html/archive_39.shtml
NOVEMBER 11, 2022 FRIDAY 11:11 AM - THE BEST DATE EVER
HAPPY ELEVEN-ELEVEN ELEVEN-ELEVEN!
NOVEMBER 10, 2022 THURSDAY 6 AM - ROLL OUT THE VISQUEEN
That’s something BILLY G used to say whilst preparing for the END OF THE WORLD ELEVEN ELEVEN PARTY every year...never mind what it means...
We’re actually taking advantage of the unusually warm weather today to visit the grave of our beloved Webmaster BILLY G who died of Covid. We’ll tidy the place up...and be back later with some BIG NEWS!
NOVEMBER 10, 2022 THURSDAY 5 AM - BASIC PREMISES
Before we can have an intelligent discussion about ONLY ONE ZIOPTIS AWARD this year, we need to agree about opinions being subjective whereas objective issues are not open to debate.
For example, if I say: “This work of art by Van Gogh is both beautiful and disturbing. It’s a fine line between genius & insanity that leads such a man to cut off his own ear” it’s a subjective statement.
If I say: “This work of art by Van Gogh is in a frame that measures 24 x 36 inches and hangs 5 feet from the floor” it’s an objective statement.
So the objective statement is always true and not open to debate, right?
It should be.
But what if I have, for example, a building that’s 10,000 square feet in size....a haunted attraction, an apartment, whatever...
Then I go to the bank for a loan and say I have a building for collateral that’s 30,000 square feet in size.
It’s no longer an objective statement. Now it’s an “alternative fact,” or in plain people-speak a false statement...A LIE. That’s a no-no because “Thou shall not bear false witness...”
MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR
Are we in agreement? We don’t want to ruffle any feathers. Thank you.
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 8 PM - DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 7 PM - DASTARDLY NOTIONS & THE MEN WHO FACILITATE THEM
NURSE GLADYS & HER MIGHTY
(text coming if I figure out what all this is supposed to mean, special thanx to DAIL BOMBAST for the delightful confusion)
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 6 PM - THE ONE & ONLY BESTEST EVER!
Earlier, we let on that we’re giving ONLY ONE ZIOPTIS AWARD this year.
But if you’ve been following faithfully (as you should) you already know what it is.
If not, stay tuned as soon enough ALL WILL BE REVEALED.
(shameless teaser ending)
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - FREE
Okay, there’s still no free beer...but the pizza part is true.
Just watching the local news on WDIV-TV 4 DETROIT, and they showed the massive lines yesterday in Ann Arbor we talked about earlier. This piece featured the FREE PIZZA & HOT CHOCOLATE being given out to hungry students, waiting to register to vote & then vote for the first time.
The steam was rising, with the gooey deliciousness of the mozzarella cheese dripping off the edges. Pizza is the TANGY TREAT THAT CAN’T BE BEAT and is seldom refused. Have some today for best mental hygiene.
TOARMINA’S PIZZA made 60 giant pizzas for this in record time, and there were other pizzerias on board with this mission too. Some political organization paid for it all.
KUDOS FROM ZIOPTIS TO ALL INVOLVED!
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - KISS ME YOU FOOL!
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - OUT OF CONTROL
Here’s yet another amazing yard haunt, this time in CALIFORNIA.
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 12 NOON - A FOOL’S PARADISE
“Hey Zioptis, what was the BEST HAUNTED HOUSE in Michigan for 2022?”
Indoors or outdoors?
“Either way, but one you personally went to.”
We’re giving a Grand Total of ONLY ONE ZIOPTIS AWARD for 2022. Stand back and stand by.
NOVEMBER 9, 2022 WEDNESDAY 11:11 AM - PARADE OF PROCRASTINATORS
I had no idea. In Michigan, you can register to vote AND vote on election day.
The local news on Channel 4 WDIV DETROIT showed a ridiculously long line of youngsters in Ann Arbor waiting to register then vote yesterday. Most of them were U OF M students, and some of them waited as long as SIX HOURS!
They showed the very last guy in line, a guy named Eric whose last class of the day ended at 7:50 PM. They condensed his 6 hour journey into about a minute.
WHY DO IT NOW WHEN YOU CAN WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE OF THE LAST DAY?
In any sector of society, we find procrastinators. Sometimes we even find them to be people behind the keyboards of random unnamed haunted house websites. (;
At any rate, voter turnout yesterday broke records. For better or worse, incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer was reelected by a wide margin.
We remember a prior promise of Whitmer was to “FIX THE DAMN ROADS!” (Her words, not ours... excuse her French please.)
During haunting, as well as the rest of the year, we’ve personally encountered countless ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS that show this arduous has indeed begun. Of course, such a HERCULEAN TASK doesn’t come easy and takes a long time.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE - THE ORANGE BARREL BLUES
When you’re trying to make it to the next haunt before they close, getting stuck in a construction caused traffic backup can be maddening & frustrating. And we’ve done over $1,000 of front end damage hitting a giant pothole too, so we get it.
But eventually the ORANGE BARRELS are removed, and in their place a CONCRETE MASTERPIECE is revealed to be enjoyed for many moons by happy travelers who will not be late getting to the next haunted house. YAY!
Let’s hear it for the good guys, and please remember to SLOW DOWN where workers are present.
NOVEMBER 8, 2022 TUESDAY 10 PM - DORA THE EXPLORER FOR SECRETARY OF SILLY WALKS
Please “write-in” candidate DORA THE EXPLORER who is endorsed by DAIL (rhymes with “pail”) BOMBAST. As you may know, DAIL BOMBAST aka DALE BOMBAST is the World’s Biggest Talk Show Host * who appears exclusively on ZIOPTIS DIAL-A-TRIP. * = DAIL is 45 feet tall.
NOVEMBER 8, 2022 TUESDAY 9 PM - BOZO THE CLOWN FOR PRESIDENT
Whoopsie, wrong election. Never mind.
NOVEMBER 8, 2022 TUESDAY 5 PM - IT’S ONLY HUMAN TO KEEP CONSUMIN’
Just looking through the pictures we took at HUSH & ROTTEN MANOR...WOW! They look fabulous...the facial expressions & pro-level makeup POP OFF THE SCREEN thanks to ULTRA HIGH RESOLUTION images from a 24 Megapixel NIKON DSLR.
COMPUTER GEEK STUFF FOLLOWS, DO NOT READ!
These need to be released ASAP...OH NO! The memory on the 64 bit side of my desktop with PHOTOSHOP is almost gone. I need to get more memory installed and also have accumulated dust vacuumed out as a safety precaution. A previous lesson from the COLLEGE OF HARD KNOCKS taught me this is a rude display of COMPUTER VENGEANCE. Not for the squeamish.
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
This is a highly unusual DELL computer. The website program wouldn’t work on its original 64 bit system, so we had a separate 32 bit system installed. There’s plenty of memory left on the 32 bit side to run the website program, thank goodness!
We’ve been running the SAME PROGRAM SINCE 1999. It’s specifically designed to be “DIAL-UP FRIENDLY” which we realize means nothing to some of you. Basically, it’s a TEXT ONLY driven system which requires very little memory.
Back in the day, not everybody could afford the more expensive HIGH SPEED INTERNET offered by profit-driven providers like AMERICA ONLINE. They distributed FREE CD’s that were redeemable for X-number of FREE MINUTES connected to the internet
So there are no fancy spinning graphics or impressive 4K videos on our little homemade website. Instead, only one small file of a HALLOWEEN IMAGE FROM THE 1930s appears as a background on the main page. Actually, it accidentally has been added to other pages and I have no idea how to remove it nor do I care at this point...wah! we soooo miss our BELOVED WEBMASTER BILLY G!
NOVEMBER 8, 2022 TUESDAY 4 PM - FREE PARKING, $5
Some things in life aren’t always as they seem. For example...
(coming next if I figure out where this should go)
NOVEMBER 8, 2022 TUESDAY 2 PM - DAY OF THE EAGLE
No not the opening track of BRIDGE OF SIGHS by ROBIN TROWER, but it’s a classic so here it is anyway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kpdHWW9WD8
If you were an eagle you’d likely spend much of your time flying high, soaring to new heights while scoffing at lowly humans who need fancy contraptions to fly.
And you could quickly travel from haunted attraction to haunted attraction, without worrying about hitting deer on bothersome highways.
There’d be no need for pesky restaurant reservations either, with a steady diet of worms and small unsuspecting animals to feast upon.
Gorging on gourmet cuisine with no annoying Guest Check to pay is your birthright, and further evidence of your superiority to lowly Homo Sapiens.
Don’t be an inferior human! Make an appointment now with your local medical professional for a species-swapping operation.
If you get confused, this can become an annual event to allow you & your friends time to accept your socially awkward disorientation. If anyone objects, they can be canceled and relegated to the world of “Alternative Facts” that can not be confirmed and/or disproved.
If you take any of this seriously, we have some PRIME SWAMPLAND and front-row tickets to the SUBMARINE RACES for sale on a strict first-come first-served basis. Don’t be a loser, be a user! Batteries not included.
NOVEMBER 7, 2022 MONDAY 11:11 PM - BON APPETIT
We’ve talked about buildings / properties being repurposed into haunts, like when the site of the former SKATELAND WEST became HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND or a laser tag arena became SLAY NIGHTS in HOWELL.
PROPER SUSTENANCE HO!
Here’s a doozie of a conversion that a coworker of my partner highly recommends. Essentially, this is a 300 year old barn that’s been deconstructed, rebuilt and refurbished into a one-of-a-kind restaurant that we can’t wait to try! https://www.sylvantable.com/
NOVEMBER 7, 2022 MONDAY 10 PM - FATE IN YOUR HANDS, AGAIN
You may have heard THERE’S AN ELECTION coming up tomorrow.
The future is in your hands, VOTE!
NOVEMBER 7, 2022 MONDAY 3 PM - FATE IN YOUR HANDS
You may have heard that the POWERBALL LOTTERY thing has reached a NEW RECORD with the top prize of $1.9 BILLION.
But you’ll have to come up with $2 to be able to win.
We decided to give it a try, getting $50 of easy picks. Which begs the question: When we win the $1.9 BILLION, what will we do with the money?
That’s easy. First, THE BONE YARD, KRAZY HILDA’S & SINISTER get blank checks. However much it takes to bring them back. All three of these haunts got the short end of the stick, somebody needs to make this right.
Next we’d make some RIDICULOUSLY ASTRONOMICAL OFFERS THAT CAN’T BE REFUSED to the former operators of THE HAUNTING and THE REALM OF DARKNESS to resurrect these ICONIC HAUNTS.
We’re just getting started...also we’d give a MILLION DOLLARS to EVERY HAUNT IN MICHIGAN.
So what would you do with almost 2 BILLION BUCKS?
It’ll cost you 2 BUCKS to buy the fantasy that could come true!
Yes, the odds are not good. On the other hand, somebody eventually is going to win...somebody that bought a ticket to ride and came up all roses.
NOVEMBER 7, 2022 MONDAY 6 AM - LUNAR LOOKOUT
Attention lovers of cosmic beauty!
A BEAVER BLOOD MOON is coming up tomorrow, with the next one not until March 14, 2025. https://www.space.com/blood-moon-lunar-eclipse-november-2022-what-time https://www.space.com/blood-moon-lunar-eclipse-november-2022-guide
Avoid disappointment and future regret! Make plans now for a MOON AGE DAY DREAM, and no not the classic song by DAVID BOWIE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2ORPgP5_rI
WATCHER OF THE SKIES
No, not the classic song by GENESIS. But it’s a cool tune anyway, so here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi3vD5ki1bE
Sky gazing is a great way to spend some time while waiting patiently for the next haunt season to start!
BLOODY MARY IN THE SKY
Prepare your favorite beverage and enjoy the show, courtesy of Mother Nature. CHEERS!
NOVEMBER 7, 2022 MONDAY 4 AM - HOW DRY I AM
There has been lots of chatter about the NEW & MUCH BALLYHOOED three bars this season at HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, and we get it. It’s a really big deal, mainly because this is the first time they’ve been able to utilize their liquor license. *
But forget all that for a second.
Never mind the drinks, HUSH has been a FABULOUS HAUNT on its’ own since day one.
And consider this: Earlier, we transcribed verbatim a wildly enthusiastic text message from HUSH patrons who did NOT go to the bars during their experience there. They were TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY by just the haunt.
All this goes to show that indeed HUSH is first and foremost a HAUNTED ATTRACTION. Anything else added can be considered “icing on the cake,” and HOW SWEET IT IS!
* = Previous plans to use their liquor license during a MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATER were thwarted by the world wide Covid pandemic, which isn’t over and has already killed over a million Americans including 5 people we know.
Rest In Peace, Adam T. Ladd
June 19, 1974 - May 30, 2014