Category Archives: Haunted Shinanagins

Anything to do with the Haunted House I work at as well as any other spooky haunt related stuff.

R.I.P ProfessorEvil

It’s amazing how sometimes life just smacks you in the face. Today when I signed on to Face Book I didn’t know that the fist thing that I would see is an announcement that one of my friends had passed away. If I had I’m pretty sure I would have still signed on but I’m realistic like that.

My friends name was Rik “Professor Evil” Cary. Though he and I didn’t work the same haunt we had many¬† mutual friends and many of the same interests. He was always a supportive and fun loving guy and everyone who knew him will miss him. He was the kind of guy who was always willing to give you advice whether it be about how to make a cotton candy cocoon for a haunt, how to make a dress manikin out of duct tape or just how to get through school without killing your classmates.

Part of the reason this hits me so hard is that just a couple of weeks ago we were happily chatting about our next haunts and how we were going to try to set up a sort of event that will help all the home haunters associated with CalHaunts in the area see each other’s haunts. Which is something no one ever gets to do because we’re always busy with our own.

And now he’s gone. Which feels really weird. I won’t lie to you, I am currently crying as I type. It’s very strange because while Rik and I talked many times over the internet we never met in person. But I cared about him and considered him a friend none the less. If I weren’t still reeling from the shock of this loss I might write some deeper thoughts on both loss and how friendship cane occur over any sort of medium but right now I think I’m gonna take some time for myself to greive and to remember a very awesome person who is no longer with us but will always be in the thoughts and hearts of those who’s lives he touched.

If you knew Rik or you are familar with his haunt ProfesssorEvil’s Nightmare than you know how greatly the haunt community and just our every day lives are changed by this news.

ProfessorEvil’s Nightmare


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Rebel Yell Character: Clara Goodwin

The portrait of Clara in the Parlor. Photo Credits: EurobeatKing. Photo Manipulation: Me

Hello All,

It’s time for another Haunted Shenanigans post. I thought I’d start by sharing with you the character I play at the Rebel Yell Haunted House. Before we got into the details of the character herself let’s go into the basics.

Clara here is the Pepper’s Ghost of the haunt. What is a Pepper’s Ghost? Also known as a Split Glass Effect a Pepper’s Ghost is essentially one of the earliest versions of a hologram you will ever see. It’s been utilized in theater, at fairs, side shows and is currently used in many haunted attractions all over the world (You are probably familiar with the Ball Room scene in The Haunted Mansion at Disney Land? Those dancers are a split glass effect.)

How it works: uh… here’s a link.

Essentially, you take a peice of glass and set it at an angle from the subject you want to have be “ghostly” or “morph” (the subject is in a black box. Behind the glass you have a scene or perhaps the item you want to morph into the subject. Using lighting (bringing up the light on the subject as you dim the light on the scene or the object to be morphed) you can make the subject appear and disappear (as transparent or solid as you like.) As the light comes up on the subject it reflects in the glass and you get an image of the subject.

Clara is achieved by using black light reflective makeup and costuming.

Clara make up.

The Character:

Naturally with a haunt you want to have a story. Otherwise it’s boring for both the guests and the haunters. So we have our own little story.You can find the full story of Rebel Yell here:

Clara didn’t have a story when I started playing her. She didn’t even have a name. She was in fact originally a manikin but then the manikin’s head fell off and I took it’s place. Typically you don’t see the effect done with a live person. I’m not saying we’re the only haunt to do it but it’s not common. Probably because it’s hard to get an actor willing to stand in one place for hours on end. Everyone loved the live action ghosts so much that we kept her. So I made up a story for her.

Clara’s Story:

Given the sordid history we gave our haunt I wanted to examine some of the past history of it so I created a story involving a young women torn between two brothers who ran the Funeral Home that became the Rebel Yell House. Essentially she was to marry one brother but the other was jealous and killed them both. The brother was locked in the attic and poor Clara was embalmed alive. She was buried in an unmarked crypt and the brother who killed her eventually hung himself in said crypt. Clara haunted the house and was partly responsible for the death of the doctor’s children and wife. She was trying to help but being unable to speak kind of lead to some miscommunication. Now she tries to help those who get lost in the house find their way out.

Costume and Makeup:

As I said before the costume and makeup are black light reflective. The dress I wear is white with the skirt being made of white tule. Which, being shredded gives the effect that the skirt is disappearing into nothing and that I am floating. The make up is Kryolon brand UV reactive blue body paint, some black eye liner and some UV reflective red makeup. The reason for choosing blue was to match the purple/blue cast of the costume and also to give me that nice wraithly glow. The box I stand in is lit with black lights and the scene behind the glass is set up to look like the entrance to a crypt lit dimly but just enough for you to see the items.


When I’m playing Clara I try to seem sad and helpful. I’m not sure I come across as such but I try to keep it in mind when I am beckoning people towards me and then pointing them towards where they should be heading next.

Fun Momments:

Being a ghost who dosen’t talk and whom people can’t touch or see where I actually am has some fun things that go with it. For one thing I get to hear all sorts of wild speculation as to how the effect is achieved. According to many I am a projection from a camera, a manikin, or some kind of television thing.

More entertaining is when people try to communicate with me. They say all sorts of things and assume I can’t see them and are surprised, delighted and bewildered when I respond to their questions with nods or head shakes or gestures.

My favorite story is when a little girl and her brother were staring at me. The sister was super impressed by me but the brother kept explaining how the effect worked (erroneously, he didn’t really know) and insisted that I wasn’t a real person. So when he wasn’t looking I popped my head around the corner where the girl could see me and I put my finger to my lips. The rest of the evening she was a giggly happy girl because she knew how the effect worked and he didn’t and she had a secret with the “pretty ghost lady.”

Drawbacks: Well obviously standing still in one place being blinded by black lights can bet a little tedious. This is why we have a manikin stand in for me so that I can occasionally get out and roam the haunt.


There you have it. Clara Goodwin, the Rebel Yell Haunted House’s resident Pepper’s Ghost. I hope you enjoyed this installment of Haunted Shenanigans.




Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Haunted Shinanagins


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A Haunting We Will Go

Me in the dining room of the Rebel Yell Haunted House when it was part of Pirates of Emerson

Hello My Ghoulies,

Halloween has been my favorite holiday since… well since I first started having memories. I’ve always loved it. I liked dressing up, I liked spooky things, I liked running around the neighborhood past my bed time. I just love the holiday. Even before I understood where it actually came from and what it actually meant. After I found that stuff out I loved it even more. But that’s another story for another time.

Today I want to talk about Haunted Houses. No, not actual haunted houses where the spirits of the restless dead watch you while you sleep. I mean the amusement type. I have always loved going through them. Not because they scared me but because well… I’m kind of a morbid person. I like the look of them, the smell, watching people get scared by simplistic effects. I just love it.

Back when I was still in high school my friend Jilly and I finally decided we were going to make a haunted house in our yards. Sadly, Jilly was killed in a car accident the year we had planned to do it. I went on to put one on in my grandmother’s front yard.

It was simple. Cardboard walls, painted with spray paint. Friends in whatever costumes they happened to come in. Really simple lighting. But the neighborhood kids ate it up. So we did it again… and again… and again… and again… and… again. The costumes got more elaborate. The lighting a bit better. The scares planned out. Decor thought about. We upgraded from spray paint to normal paint but kept the cardboard walls.

My brother’s best friend DJ, who also lived in the neighborhood, started doing his own. His was based more on special effects and detailed scenes. Less on actors and plot.

After six years I decided to call it quits on mine and Local Mayhem (which is what we called ourselves) disbanded. Mostly due to the fact that a lot of the cast were going on to University and moving away from the area. So for a long time I didn’t do haunt stuff.

In 2007 a professional haunt called The Pirates of Emerson invited Californian home haunts (haunts operating out of residential homes usually for no profit) to join them at the Haunting Fields in Fremont. Rebel Yell (the haunt DJ started) was invited and jumped at the opportunity to go semi-professional. DJ called me to help them with makeup and costuming. Though come opening day they needed me to join the cast.

I had a blast. I had forgotten how much I loved scaring the wits out of people and hearing them say “That was lame… let’s do it again!” So I was hooked and luckily DJ and the rest of the Rebel Yellers liked having me around so I got asked back. Sadly 2008 did not have a haunt for us but 2009 did.

But… 2010 did not.

2011? Sure did!

I’m proud to say that I have been part of and contributed to such a wonderfully fun and delightfully morbid event. I have a lot of fun building, decorating, designing and acting in the haunt. It’s a lot of fun entertaining the locals and hanging out with other demented people who enjoy making people scream in fear and delight. As this blog progresses I’ll tell you more about it in detail but for now that’s all I have to say. Just a little something to wet your appetite.

Bats and skulls,



Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Haunted Shinanagins


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