Monday, October 31, 2011

Explorations: Northern Nightmares

Each year, Hubby and I try to do something spooky during October.  In the past we have gone to Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood. , and last year we went to the Scarehouse.  So we were looking for something new and different to do this year.  Boy howdy, did we find it.

While doing some online searching I located an attraction in Butler County called the Northern Nightmares Tour.  This trolley tour went all over Zelionople and Harmony, pointing out allegedly haunted sites, and telling local ghost tales.  This sounded right up our alley, so, on Saturday afternoon, we headed out.

Since we headed out early, and planned on being gone for a while, we started with dinner at The Harmony Inn.  For any local folks reading, if you have not tried this place I really urge you to go.  We went last winter for lunch, and we were impressed then.  We were doubly impressed with their dinner menu.  Really unique menu items, and the food was delicious.  Plus, the ambiance is really cool.


 The Harmony Inn is a haunted location, and after we ate, the staff let us explore, even allowing us in the attic.  It was really spooky.



After we were done with dinner, we headed off to catch the trolley tour.  It was a nice, small trolley, and was really comfortable.  The spooky tour guide was the executive director of the Strand Theater, and he told us lots of amazing and creepy tales along our 45 minute tour.  I do not want to spoil it for you, since I really hope  my local readers will go next year, but there were some interesting twists along the way.



Our last tour stop was the Strand Theater.  At this point, for most, the tour was over.  But for Hubby and I, we still had a bit of excitement.  You see, that night, the Strand was showing Night of the Living Dead, which many know was filmed locally in Evans City.


 The proceeds went to a group trying to save the Evan's City Cemetary Chapel, which you see in the film.  I love horror films, particularly ones filmed locally, and I have visited the Evan's City Cemetery to revel in the movie nostalgia.  So, we decided to go to the viewing.  Imagine my surprise when we learned the 3 original cast and crew members were there to speak to us.  How exciting.  Russell Streiner (Johnny), his brother Gary Streiner (a sound engineer on the film) and Ella Mae Smith (an Evans City resident who played a zombie).


It was so amazing to be there to hear them speak, and this moment right here made it totally worth it:

The theater has been restored beautifully, and we loved seeing the movie on the big screen. We got to sit in the balcony, which in and of itself was a really cool experience. Finally, we were ready to head out, but we had one last thing to do.  Out admission also gave us a free raffle ticket for a raffle of some movie posters.  Guess who won a poster?  Hubby!


All in all, the had a magically spooky night, one I am not likely to forget for a long time.

Notice two of the pictures are full of fuzzy orbs.  As much as I would love to say this was spectral evidence, it was merely fog and mist.  For more pics, go here.