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!

How Did Michigan Cities Get Their Names? Part 9

In our ongoing series of how cities in Michigan got their names, we’ve been able to share with you the history of cities from around our state. In case you missed them, here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8. This week, check out part nine, which shares the stories of how five more Michigan cities were named.

Bay City
Bay City was first known as the village of Lower Saginaw in 1838. Its name was changed to Bay City when Bay County was organized in 1857. By 1860, Lower Saginaw was becoming a bustling community of about 2,000 with several mills, and many small businesses in operation. In 1865, the village of Bay City was incorporated as a city. It was a time of rapid growth with lumbering and shipbuilding, creating many jobs.

Menominee
Menominee gets its name from a regional Native American tribe known as the Menominee, which roughly translates into “Wild Rice.” The area was originally the home of the Menominee Indian Tribe. They now have a reservation along the Wolf River in North Central Wisconsin. Menominee gained prominence as a lumber town. In its heyday Menominee produced more lumber than any other city in America.

Pontiac
The first settlers arrived in what is now the City of Pontiac in 1818. Two years later there were enough people there to form a village named after the famous Indian Chief (Chief Pontiac) who had made his headquarters in the area only a few years prior. The village was officially recognized by the state legislature in 1837 and it incorporated as a city in 1861.

Rockford
The first important settler of what would become the city of Rockford was Smith Lapham. Lapham built his own sawmill on his side of the river, which was completed by 1844. Other settlers soon followed. By the fall of 1845, the settlement had about 5 houses. Since the settlement existed largely on land owned or sold by Smith Lapham, it became known as Laphamville. By 1865 the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Company had begun a railroad extending northward through the village. The railroad had been advising the residents to adopt a shorter name, and when a newly arrived resident from Rockford, Illinois proposed the name of his former town, the new name was narrowly approved. It was replatted under the name Rockford in 1865 and incorporated as the Village of Rockford in June 1866 with 315 inhabitants.

Marysville
Edward P. Vickery settled at the present day foot of Huron Boulevard in Marysville. He named the operation Vickery’s Landing and the settlement surrounding it eventually became known as Vicksburg. However, there was already another Vicksburg, Michigan, so in 1859 the name was changed to Marysville, after Nelson Mill’s (an entrepreneur in the area) wife Mary.