Monday, September 17, 2007

Eerie Halloween Getaways Include Haunted Prison, Theater, Other Experiences

Mansfield, Ohio is the place for truly unusual and spooky Halloween escapes. From a haunted prison, to a live play telling the creepy story of a real local character accused of murder and autumn hayrides, visitors can find information on all these attractions online at or by calling (800) 642-8282.

The Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site, once a working prison, and the site for several blockbuster movies, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Air Force One,” is now a well-known tourism attraction. This year, the Reformatory will offer “The Night ‘They’ Came Home” Haunted Prison Experience. Billed as one of the scariest places in the Midwest, the event features the longest haunted cellblock ever and loads of ghosts, demons and creepy characters brought to life via live actors, Hollywood special effects and high-tech scare devices. The Haunted Prison Experience runs September 28 through October 31, Thursdays, 7-11 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m.-midnight; and Sundays, 7-10 p.m., Admission is $15 and the tour is not recommended for children under 10. The Haunted Prison is the perfect addition to Mansfield’s all-inclusive getaway packages, which start at just $59 and include overnight accommodations, a meal voucher and attractions.

“There many are documented cases of paranormal activity at the Ohio State Reformatory,” said Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Lee Tasseff. “Groups of professional and amateur ‘ghost hunters,’ and even a crew from the Sci-Fi Channel, have spent many nights at the prison recording what they report as unexplained encounters with ghosts and spirits.”

Just a few miles away, “The Undead Haunted Experience” takes place in an old department store, where an abandoned secret government lab is reputed to lie beneath a modern mall. Experiments of the late 1950s said to have gone haywire. The store was sealed and forgotten for decades until renovations unleashed bizarre human and insect mutations and rampaging zombies. Tickets are $12. “The Undead” runs concurrently with the Haunted Prison dates and times.

Eerie music sets the mood at Malabar Farm State Park, the former home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and screenwriter Louis Bromfield and the site where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married. Malabar Farm and Mansfield Playhouse present “The Ceely Rose Story,” a live play that tells the story of Ceely Rose, accused of a ghostly triple murder that took place near Malabar in 1896. The show runs Oct. 12-14 and Oct. 19-21 in the farm’s restored 1896 timber frame barn. Tickets are $30 per person, and include a chicken and ribs barbecue picnic dinner and the live performance. Friday and Saturday dinner is at 5:00 p.m. and performances begin 6:00 p.m. Sunday Matinees dinner begins at 2:00 pm, with performances beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Travelers can take advantage of specially designed affordable getaway packages when planning to experience Mansfield’s Halloween activities. For more information or to book a getaway, consumers can visit or (800) 642-8282.

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