If you’re looking for a good scare to get you in that Halloween mood, look no further than the Valdosta Dead Inn located at Five Points Valdosta on 3109 N. Ashley St.
Managing partner Dixie Ray Haggard, Valdosta State University associate professor of history, opened the Valdosta Dead Inn on Sept. 29 after four years of planning.
“I’ve always been interested in Halloween,” said Haggard. “I got to know my wife when she acted in a charity haunt I ran almost 20 years ago. We’ve gone to haunts all over the country and we decided to bring something to Valdosta.”
The Valdosta Dead Inn differs from similar ventures in town, according to Haggard, because they are actor driven and have exceedingly detailed sets and themes.
“There is a conscious connection from set to set that most other haunts don’t have,” explained Haggard.
THE LEGEND: The story of the Valdosta Dead Inn goes a little something like this. Alasdair McIntyre and Ursula Connor met at a dance held at the Valdosta Dead Inn. They were engaged on Aug. 15, 1906, and wed 10 months later on Friday June 28, 1907. It was the most famous wedding ever held at the Valdosta Dead Inn and not because of its sophisticated grandeur, but because of the tragedy that shortly followed.
According to the South Georgian Chronicle, Alasdair and Ursula along with four members of their wedding party remained at the inn in the gardens after the wedding breakfast reception. The next morning, Alasdair and Ursula missed their hired coach that was supposed to take them to their honeymoon, thus prompting the family to alert the authorities. The authorities feared a wild animal attack, but no clues of any kind were ever discovered as to the disappearance of the newlywed couple and their four young friends.
Some attributed the tragic disappearance to the fact that the wedding was held on a Friday, a day notoriously known to bring loss. Others blame the lunar eclipse which occurred the next morning. A few believe that the ground where the inn stands is cursed by the Timucua tribe who were the first to inhabit the land surrounding the Valdosta Dead Inn. However, one thing is known for sure ... when night falls through the halls of the great inn, pitiful sounds of a shrill and broken Ursula can be heard and sometimes seen as she attempts to help others avert a similar fate.
The Valdosta Dead Inn is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight until Oct. 31. Tickets are $13 if you purchase them in advance and $15 at the door. Oct. 13-15, you can get a good scare while you help the hungry by bringing one can of food that will take $5 off your ticket price. For more information visit www.valdostadeadinn.com
For other Halloween fun, check out the following events:
• The official trick-or-treat hours for Valdosta, Lowndes County and Hahira will be 6-9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31.
• The Civil Engineer Recreation Program at Moody Air Force Base will sponsor its 31st annual Mooooody Haunted House on Bemiss Road, Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29 and 30. From 6-7:30 p.m., the kids can enjoy a lighted haunted house. From 8-11 p.m., the lights will be turned off. A special kids night, with candy, face painting and a jump house, will be held from 6-9 p.m., Oct. 29. The haunted house is free for ages 3 and under; $3 for ages 4-10; $5 for ages 11 and up.
• Wild Adventures Theme Park’s Phobia is the only Halloween experience of its kind set in a blackwater swamp, with its tea-colored waters and after dark haunting environment. With the addition of The Fearmaker, a demented character, Phobia has been described as the ultimate haunted experience. Park guests will wander along a single, horrifying pathway as they face their most terrible fears, and they will either escape the Fearmaker’s deadly grip or join his entourage. Phobia is open from 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Some guests, including children under the age of 12, may find some of the experiences or images disturbing and should not visit Phobia. Visit www.wildadventures.com/phobia to learn more.
• On Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30, Kid-O-Ween has returned to Wild Adventures Theme Park. Children can select their own magical pumpkin in Monty’s Magical Pumpkin Forest and doodle on a giant coloring mural. Kid-O-Ween includes lots of fall-themed interactive activities, such as Monster Mash Dance Party, a hay bale maze, trick-or-treat, and a craft station sure to inspire even the littlest goblin. Kid-O-Ween runs from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and is appropriate for guests of all ages.
• Hahira’s Fall Festival Third Thursday will be Oct. 20. There will be candy, a haunted caboose, a costume contest and games and a hay maze for the kids. Shops will be open late from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.