Halloween in Metro Detroit: Houdini, Haunted Houses and an Heiress

If you love haunted houses, ghost stories, and eerie legends, then Halloween in Pure Michigan is sure to send chills down your spine! Today, guest blogger Dan Fuoco gives us the inside scoop on some must-see haunts and spooky tales in metro Detroit

Haunted Houses

Erebus
The allure of a good scare is a tingling feeling that gets hearts pounding in excitement. A good scare incessantly makes you look over your shoulder, curiously and frantically imagining the worst scenario. It’s the reason Erebus is so wildly popular. This Top 10 nationally recognized haunted attraction claims its’ victims through 4 stories of unique and terrifying paths and hallways.

Slaughtered at Sundown

Photo courtesy of Michelle Andonian Photography

This haunted house, located off a dirt road outside of society, adjacent to a corn field, is the perfect location for a haunted attraction. Enter a dark, winding illusion of decaying zombies, evil carnage, a spine chilling cemetery full of agony and torture.

Harry Houdini Haunts Halloween History in Detroit

The rumor that Houdini drowned in a water torture cell on stage in Detroit is false. In fact, he died at Grace Hospital of peritonitis (an abdominal infection) brought on by untreated appendicitis.

Before coming by train to his performance in Detroit, Houdini was punched in the abdomen by a McGill University student in Montreal. The punch was in response to a claim by Houdini that he could take any punch as a test of his physical strength. This may have precipitated his decline.

Houdini went on stage at the Garrick Theater suffering from severe pain and a fever of 104 degrees. Houdini continued the show even after passing out, until he was eventually taken off stage and transported to Grace Hospital with acute appendicitis.

Houdini died on Halloween.

Spirits Among Us

The Masonic Temple
Built in 1912, the Masonic Temple has over 1,000 rooms, several secret staircases, concealed passages, and hidden compartments in the floors. During construction, wealthy owner George D. Mason ran out of money which prompted his wife to leave him and eventually a death via lunging from the roof top.
Periodically, Temple security guards claim to see his ghost ascending the steps to the roof.

The Whitney
Sightings of lumber baron David Whitney Jr.’s first wife, Flora have circulated throughout Detroit.

Flora told her sister that she always wanted to live in a mansion. Unfortunately, she was unable to fulfill this dream because of a natural death caused before the home was built. A year after Flora’s death, Whitney married her sister Sara.

David Duey, the Whitney’s director of operations, has witnessed the elevator traveling between floors and the doors open and close with no visible riders. “This has been caught on security cameras at night when there is no one in the building,” he says [AwesomeMitten.com].

Do you know any Michigan ghost stories? Tell us in the comments below! 

Dan Fuoco is the Interactive Marketing Manager for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (VisitDetroit) and is responsible for building and engaging with VisitDetroit’s social media and blog communities.  You can find him geeking out over: social media infographics, muscle cars and Detroit. Follow him on TwitterInstagram and periodically on Pinterest.

Frightful Fun at the World’s Largest Haunted House

Did you know that Michigan is home to the world’s largest haunted house? Erebus, located in Pontiac, is a four story haunted house that was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Walk-Through Haunted Attraction in 2005. Today, Ed Terebus, who owns and operators Erebus with his brother Jim, fills us in on the haunted house business and what you need to know before making a visit to Erebus.

Q: For those who have never been to Erebus, can you give us an overview of the popular haunted destination?

A: Erebus is the result of Dr. Colber, who worked for the government to build a time machine, then later worked on building the time machine on his own.  He was successful at sending people back into time, with the only one glitch being that the time period looked at the people like a virus and wiped them out.  Determined to overcome this glitch, he sent in group after group of his own personnel, but they were unsuccessful and he ended up broke and lacking the proper personnel to run his machine.

Dr. Colber came up with a brilliant idea to disguise his time machine as a haunted house (Erebus) and have the general public help fund his project and use the people going through as human guinea pigs. The theme is time travel

Q: How did you get started in the haunt industry and what’s the history behind Erebus?

A: My brother Jim’s boss made him join the Jaycees. They were doing their annual Halloween haunted house, and it was like he was meant to do.  Years later when he was working for Ford, he was laid off and decided to open a haunted house.  The first haunt was 1200sqft. and $1.50,  the second year 2,800sqft and $3.00 and the third year 3,400sqft and $4.00. We ran that for 13 years, then bought a bigger space.

Q: What are some new attractions visitors can expect this year?

A: Erebus, in Greek Mythology, is the son of Chaos and the brother of Night. This year we’re bringing in the “Big Mama” – Chaos is Here 2012.  Chaos is unleashing an all-out assault… we’ll hit you from every angle with full on fear… and show no mercy.

Q: What’s one thing visitors should be aware of before they visit Erebus?

A: Michigan is the haunted attraction capital of the world with more than 70 haunts in a 50 mile radius.  We can’t buy that really cool prop from the trade show because 25 other haunts will have it in this market. We pride ourselves as one of the most unique haunts in the country by designing and building almost all of our own props in house.

Here is a good example: Buried Alive!  will put you in a room, slam the door and dump 10,000 balls on your head (and bury you alive)!  How long can you hold your breath?  We spent over six years thinking about this and if you want to experience it you have to come to Erebus!

Like I said before, we pride ourselves as being one of the most unique haunts in the country by building almost all of our own props in house. You will see things here that were born from the imaginations of a couple guys that have been thinking about scaring people for 33 years!  If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it!  That is a motto of success; we just applied it to scaring people!

Q: What’s your favorite part of Erebus?

A: We never work on the same thing!  Every year we try to out do what we did the year before, so our creative juices are always flowing.  Even better than that, I get paid to scare people!  LOL!

Q: What makes Pontiac or Michigan in general the right place for Erebus?

A: Halloween needs a place with four season,s and Michigan is beautiful in the fall!   Pontiac is right for Erebus because it’s in the heart of Oakland County, and every major street leads to Pontiac… just look for the search lights!

Q: Where can people go to learn more?

A: Please visit HauntedPontiac.com to learn more about Erebus.

Ed Terebus and his brother Jim have 66 years combined experience in scaring people for a living as owner/operators of haunted attractions in Michigan.

For other haunted attractions in Michigan, visit michigan.org. Have you been to Erebus – The World’s Largest Haunted House, or do you plan to make a visit this year? Share with us below!