Houses of Horror

Grisly, interactive and haunted attractions to keep you thrilled throughout the fall

click to enlarge The Mayhem Mansion
The Mayhem Mansion

Once upon a midnight dreary, haunted houses, ghoulish creatures and harrowing tales descended upon the Queen City, giving Cincinnatians plenty of eerie activities to keep them screaming throughout the season. Whether you’re looking for thrills, chills or something a little more family-friendly, this preview has you covered, including an intensity guide to help you find just the type of scare you’re looking for. Choose your haunt, grab some friends and enter at your own risk — you might just discover a real-life ghost or two along the way. Intensity guide out of three skulls. Visit our ScaryBeat section for more Halloween haunts, including family-friendly farms, spooky shows and autumn-themed events. 

Bobby Mackey’s Music World

This bar, owned and operated by Country singer Bobby Mackey, invites you to “come for the ghosts and stay for the music.” Featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures in both

2008 and 2010, the building was built in 1850

and originally served as a slaughterhouse and meatpacking operation. After the slaughter

house closed in 1890, the building took on new life as a casino and eventually became the

site of the Latin Quarter, a nightclub popular with mobsters. The site became renowned for murder, mob activity and satanic rituals before becoming Bobby Mackey’s in 1978; the build

ing remains rich with history, and many patrons say the bar is still inhabited by former frequenters. Its most notorious ghost is that of Johanna

Jewel, a club dancer and the daughter of the Latin Quarter’s owner, who fell in love with a young Country singer named Robert Randall. When Johanna became pregnant, her father had Randall killed — supposedly through mob connections — and Johanna poisoned herself in her dressing room. Learn more about the building’s history Friday and Saturday nights

during the bar’s haunted basement tours. You’ll stand inside Johanna’s dressing room, where many people claim to smell roses — her favorite

flower — and make your way to the “portal to hell,” a dust-filled hole once used to drain animal remains in the building’s slaughterhouse days. (A young girl’s head was purportedly disposed of in the drain after she was murdered; the head was never recovered.) After the tour,

head back upstairs to catch a show by Mackey

himself — chances are, he’ll perform one of his favorite songs, “Johanna.” Admission fee. Thirty-minute tours Fridays and Saturdays. First tour 9:15 p.m.; final tour leaves 1:15 a.m. 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, Ky., 859-431-5588, bobbymackey.com.

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The Dent Schoolhouse

Legend says that a group of students mysteriously vanished from the Dent Schoolhouse in 1942, followed by several more disappear

ances in the years to follow. It wasn’t until 1955 that a foul odor led angry community members

to the schools’ janitorial basement, where the students’ bodies were discovered in barrels wedged between the walls. The murders were attributed to the school’s janitor, but the man — Charlie — was never found. That is, until now — Charlie is said to roam the halls of the school today, cleaning alongside the 50 to 65 actors

who bring Dent to life every Halloween; the spirits of his victims are also said to roam the halls. Impressive acting and convincing animatronics

are waiting to terrorize you in this abandoned

schoolhouse. Even more horrifying, however, is the basement — in addition to the room’s grisly history, rusty pipes provide perfect coverage for actors to hide before they grab you. New sets, animatronics and technology are implemented

every year, providing a fresh experience even for those who frequently haunt the attraction. With an average walk-through time between 25 and 35 minutes, this is one of the longest haunts in the city. Have an even more intense

experience Nov. 6 and 7 during Dent’s lights-off

tour ($15) or bring the kids along 5-7 p.m. Oct. 25 for the lights-on tour ($10; $5 kids 12 and under), which allows you to get a good look at the school’s decorations and animatronics,

jump-scare free. Through Nov. 7. $20; $30 fast pass; $40 front-of-the-line. 5963 Harrison Ave.,

Harrison, 513-445-9767, frightsite.com.

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Heritage Village Museum's Haunted Village - Photo: Provided


Heritage Village Museum’s Haunted Village

This “slight-fright” event takes over Sharon Woods Park for six nights of family-friendly fun. Take a wagon ride through Heritage Village, which portrays rural life as it was in the 1800s — it features several historic buildings including the Gatch Barn, which has 19th-century farm equipment on display. Kids can trick-or-treat their way through the village, play a few ghoulish games, interact with witches and mad scientists and have their faces painted. Costumes are encouraged. 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 24. $8. 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, 513-563-9484, heritagevillagecincinnati.org.

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Highway 50 Fright Field

Since opening its doors in 2013, Highway 50 Fright Field has dedicated itself to bringing the crew’s “demented dreams” to life. The attraction, located on a real 1830s farm near a Native American archaeological site, takes guests through a cornfield and haunted trail ride into a “cemetery gone bad.” This year, the trail is longer than ever, so prepare for additional screams. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays in October (closed Halloween). $10 adults; $8 kids 12 and under. 11294 State Route 50, North Bend, 513-353-0284, highway50frightfield.com.

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Kings Island

Kings Island transforms when the sun goes down, scaring up haunted mazes and scare zones as part of its annual Halloween Haunt. More than 600 live actors suit up for the event, becoming clowns, werewolves, ghouls and so much more. This year features 11 haunted mazes, four outdoor scare zones and three live musical performances: percussive music show Blood Drums, after-life revue Hot Blooded and new show Monster Rock featuring songs from Aerosmith, Journey, Foreigner and more. Make sure to venture through the all-new Blackout Maze, an indoor maze where whispers chase you through the dark. You’ll also have access to 20 rides throughout the night, including Banshee, the world’s longest inverted coaster (4,124 feet of track!). The chills die down when the sun comes up on Saturdays and Sundays during the family-friendly Snoopy’s Halloween Party. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Tickets start at $29.99. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, 513-754-5700, visitkingsisland.com.

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Parky’s Farm Halloween Nights

Parky’s Farm scares up family-friendly fun during their annual Halloween Nights — a perfect destination for your littlest ghosts, spiders and pumpkins. Make a s’more by the Creepy Campfire after seeing the park’s large-scale

light shows and displays, or bring the kids by an

inflatable obstacle course and check out the

Hardly Haunted House. Afterward, venture into

the Spooky Hollow Ghost Town on a haunted wagon ride. Live entertainment, food booths,

souvenirs and pony rides add to the fun. 6-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through Oct. 25. $7; free for ages 2 and younger. Parky’s Farm, 10073

Daly Road, Winton Woods, greatparks.org.

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Horror Hike Haunted Trail

This nothing-held-back attraction takes guests through a half-mile hike through a wooded area complete with uneven and rough terrain. This year, the trail has transformed into a freak show American Horror Story-style and is more elaborate than ever. Expect blood, guts and gore galore as costumed actors touch, grab and block you as you make your way through the trail. This haunt isn’t for the faint of heart — actors “cater to an audience that expects to be scared and intimidated,” using aggressive demeanors, tones and language (this one’s definitely not for the kids). 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 7. $13; $5 reentry. 1415 E. Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, Ind., horrorhike.com.

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Land of Illusion

Featuring four haunted houses and a mile-long trail of terrors, the park draws inspiration from classic horror blockbusters. Explore the Voodoo Bayou Shanty, inspired by a spectral Louisiana swampland, where Bloody Bill is waiting to usher you inside. Ol’ black magic

awaits. Or be chased through a circus from hell

in Killer Klowns, in which “screams of joy soon turn to screams of horror.” (Afraid of clowns? This is not for you.) Land of Illusion offers two addition attractions not included with general admission — Zombie Sniper Patrol and Demon Drop. Don’t fear the walking dead — ward off the apocalypse in the Zombie Sniper Patrol

($23 per ride; $12.99 with general admission).

You’ll climb aboard a retrofitted U.S. Army

cargo truck and fire a paintball gun at live-actor

zombies; catch them in the woods before they make it into the village. Demon Drop ($20 for two jumps) is a 40-foot free-fall experience

that requires safety gear (and perhaps an extra

pair of pants). Through Nov. 1. 8 p.m.-2 a.m.

Fridays-Saturdays; 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Sundays. $34.99 Friday-Saturday; $24.99 Sunday. 8762

Thomas Road, Middletown, 513-423-9960, landofillusion.com.

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Lewisburg Haunted Cave

Located 80 feet below ground, the Lewisburg Haunted Cave — a real limestone cave — features 500 feet of haunted bridges and 30,000 live bats. For a haunt with a side of history, the Lewisburg Historical Society offers wagon tours of the limestone mine — home to the largest brown bat habitat in Ohio — during the Haunted Cave’s hours of operation ($7). Ride in a tractor-drawn wagon into the 44-acre underground mine and get a glimpse into the cave’s former limestone mine operation. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $16; $8 children 10 and under. Cash only; ATM on site. 4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg, hauntedcaveatlewisburg.com.

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The Mayhem Mansion - Photo: Kevin Doyle


The Mayhem Mansion

The Mayhem Mansion is allegedly the site of a mass murder perpetrated in the fall of 1933. Bootlegger Robert Haverford unexpectedly lost his daughter to an illness just as Prohibition was coming to an end; sticking to the old-fashioned traditions of his family, Haverford held her funeral in his home and promised to serve guests liquor from one of his finest casks. After attendees were served, however, they soon became ill themselves — Haverford poisoned their drinks and took his own life after they fell. The mansion was boarded up, and the bodies of Haverford and his victims were left inside to rot. Only one second-floor window remains open — and it’s through that window that you’ll enter the Mayhem Mansion. Actors, props and jump-scares abound in addition to invisible walls, tilting hallways and more. The attraction also features Haverford’s Hollow Trail, where — for an additional fee — you’ll explore a trail inhabited by homicidal characters. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 7. $14 adults; $8 children 10 and under; $10 Haverford’s Hollow Trail. 13966 DeCoursey Pike, Morning View, Ky., 859-356-DEAD, themayhemmansion.com.

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Mount Healthy Haunted Hall

This year is the 26th anniversary of the hall, and the old-school attraction is celebrating with the theme The Best of the First 25 Years. The haunt will feature more than 20 scenes new and old, including exclusive one-year-only scenes from different points throughout its history. Returning favorites include the International House of Pain, Spookers Bar, Bates Motel and Tired Bones Retirement Castle. The hall also remains home to original props including the Reverend Emmett Rotts and Bug Boy. Gory props and dedicated actors make this a realistically hellish haunt, but on Oct. 25, the attraction turns family-friendly during its Lights Up Night event. From 6-6:45 p.m., kids can go trick-or treating through the hall and explore its giant vortex tunnel ($5 children, free adults). 8-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7-9 pm. Sundays through Oct. 31. $10; $8 with canned good donation. 7700 Seward Ave., Mount Healthy, 513-729-1974, mthealthyhauntedhall.com.

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Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

Freddy Krueger, demonic clowns and more await at this hayride straight outta hell. The undead are waiting to catch a ride, concealed within tall stalks of corn, and flaming semi-trucks compete

to run your wagon off the road. The attraction pays homage to terrors old and new, from Friday the 13th and Jeepers Creepers to The Exorcist and The Purge. Sandyland Acres is also home to the Farmers Revenge attraction, a (rather short) barn maze featuring a fearsome farmer. 8 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Hayride $12; Farmers Revenge $10. 4172 Belleview Road, Petersburg, Ky., 859-322-0516, sandylandacres.com.

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Springboro Haunted Hayride

Violent creatures lie in wait as this tractor-drawn wagon twists and turns its way through the backwoods. Motorized chases, igniting vehicles and convincing actors are just some of the aspects composing this 26-year-old attraction featuring a far-from-average hayride. Also on site is The Black Bog, a haunted trail through a towering corn maze. Sundown-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $12 hayride; $12 bog; $22 both attractions. 6070 Springboro Road, Lebanon, 937-748-2272, springborohauntedhayride.com.

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The USS Nightmare

Cincinnati’s infamous “death dredge” used to be a working steamboat in the early- to

mid-1900s. Named the William S. Mitchell after its captain, the 290-foot-long steamboat

was plagued with strange events, including bizarre accidents and mysterious deaths.

Most famously, however, is the day the ship broke loose from its moorings and slammed

into four different bridges on a frantic journey down the river. The damaged dredge was

purchased by BB Riverboats and has been serving as a popular haunted attraction for 20 years. Actors bring the boat to life — you’ll run into characters like the rat girl and William

S. Mitchell himself, who died aboard the ship. A special lights-on matinee is “perfect for younger kids or the faint of heart.” The Captain’s Extreme Tour is on the other end of the spectrum, promising an even more intense experience than regular boat tours with enhanced special effects and a more aggressive crew. 7-11 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, Sunday; 7-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday through Oct. 31. $17 Wednesday; $20 Thursday-Sunday. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., 859-740-2293, ussnightmare.com.

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Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride

Although the bus ride is the haunt to beat,

Wilmington has a total of four attractions: the ride,

Nightmare Penitentiary, Slaughter Hotel and Terror in the Corn. Climb aboard a bus destined for

hell and embark into the forests of Clinton County.

The open-top vehicle begins its journey in a fog-

filled tunnel and continues past Rattlesnake Mine

— all while chainsaw-wielding actors jump on the bus from their hiding spots in the woods. Worst of all, however, is the mysterious Farmer Dave, who is always looking for “new things to reap and to sow.” Every year has something new to offer, and 2015 brings an all-new attraction: Terror in the Corn, which takes you through a field of tall corn stalks. The particularly adventurous can get additional scares during the Hollow’s Lights Off event on Sunday, Oct. 18 ($20), when you can make your way through the corn in complete darkness. Two other attractions — Nightmare Penitentiary and Slaughter Hotel — are also on site. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. $15 Haunted Hollow Ride; $12 Terror in the Corn; $25 all four attractions. Cash only; ATM on site.

1261 W. Dalton Road, Wilmington, 937-382-6147,

wilmingtonhauntedhollowride.com.

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