Friday, September 30, 2011

Winchester Mystery House Fright Nights Launches Today!

I would go so far as to call this the most anticipated Halloween attraction anywhere in the Bay Area this year. One of the most mysterious and haunted places in the world is finally getting a maze attraction for Halloween! For some behind the scenes information, check out their newsletter below:

WMH Fright Nights

Secrets of the New "Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze"

We asked Fright Nights' Production Designer Jeff Schiefelbein to share some insight, EXCLUSIVELY for our 13th Hour Newsletter subscribers, on Winchester Mystery House's newest event!

How did you get started in the Haunted Attraction business?
While I was growing up, my parents always hosted elaborate Halloween parties for their friends. As a child I was mesmerized by the decorations and costumes and when I was 15 years old I put together my first haunt in the yard of my parents' Orange County home.  The rest is history.

What was the planning process like for the "Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze?"
When people hear that the Winchester Mystery House will be unveiling an all new Haunted Maze this year the typical response is, “Finally!” So in one sense it has been in the making for many years. In actuality, for this year's event we began planning with a site visit in March 2011. This has been a unique process because usually we get to work with an empty warehouse and have free creative rein on what goes in it. With Fright Nights we had to build it around existing buildings and a specific theme. You can't just throw vampires and zombies into the mix! We saw it as a challenge and opportunity and I am proud to say that we took full advantage of what the Winchester Estate had to offer. Plants come to life in the green house, the 15 foot rack of the fruit drying shed becomes a perfect butcher shop, and the tool shed, already full of scrap metal and tools from Mrs. Winchester's day, was easily transformed into a blood-curdling, twisted machine shop.

Anything we should keep our eye out for in the maze?
We incorporated the number 13 everywhere! Thirteen candles here, 13 pumpkins there, pumpkins carved in the number 13, 13 slash-marks on the wall, etc. Also, the seance room has some of the most advanced special effects used in any maze I've worked on.  We took a topographical map of the room and have a 360 degree projector that makes the entire room come to life. We hired on a very talented sculptor, he's worked with Disneyland on the Indiana Jones Ride and Pirates of the Caribbean among other things, who has created a life-size replica of Mrs. Winchester's tombstone and a fully functional fountain as if those killed by the Winchester Rifle took over Mrs. Winchester's Egret Fountain themselves.

For more information on Jeff and the others in the Fright Nights production team visit,

Fright Nights take place on consecutive weekends and selected weekday nights beginning Friday, September 30 through Halloween, Monday, October 31, 2011. Additional event dates are: September 30; October 1, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. Fright Nights begin at 6:30p.m.; closing hours vary throughout the event.

Ticket sales began June 1, 2011 at with a new "Slasher Savings" option providing discounts of up to $20 for selected dates. To buy tickets to our Fright Nights event visit

Who's Responsible for Raiding the Victorian Gardens?

This poor soul was simply trying to park his car for Fright Nights in the VIP parking lot when he fell victim to the spirits of those killed by the Winchester Rifle. It looks pretty real doesn't it? The Winchester Mystery House has partnered with the best in the business to bring you the ultimate spine-tingling experience this Halloween.

Imagination Design Works Productions is an independent entertainment Production Company formed for the purpose of creating feature length motion pictures, television programming and live entertainment productions. The company is owned and run by Brett Tomberlin and is the creative entity behind this year’s Fright Nights.

The name Sinister Pointe may not seem too familiar to you, but if you are a haunt enthusiast in the Southern Californian area you have probably been to at least one of their haunts. They have been devloping haunted attractions throughout Southern California for over 14 years including Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, Irvine's Realm of Darkness, and the themed "Saw" and "Silent Hill" mazes (Universal Studios Florida transported the "Saw" maze to their park!). Jeff Schiefelbein, quoted above, is the creator and mastermind behind this gruesome company.

While the above two companies hail from Southern California, the "Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze" couldn't have been completed without the help of some local Bay Area companies! For instance, our "VIP Parking Lot" was a true collaboration provided by J.A.Y.S Towing and Transportation, Delta Chargers (they provided a full-size yellow school bus), and Pick n Pull, "We sell parts, we sell cars, we buy cars!"

What are you waiting for, grab your tickets now to experience the all new "Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze" yourself! To buy tickets online go to
Supernatural Winchester Brothers approaching the Winchester Mystery House

Supernatural Fans Get the Chance to Win a Trip to Winchester Mystery House's Fright Nights!

Could it be? Are the Winchester Brothers on their way to the famed Winchester Mystery House? No, not really... but their fans are! If you are in the following ten areas across the country - Boston, Washington DC, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Hartford, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Austin, and Jacksonville - then be sure to tune into your local CW affiliate station for instructions on how you can win a trip for two to San Jose, California, to experience Fright Nights at the Winchester Mystery House!

Did Supernatural creator Eric Kripke really get the idea for the Winchester surname from Mrs. Winchester's famed home? He reveals all in an article on

Interviewer: Why did you pick the name Winchester? Does it have any supernatural significance in relation to the Winchester House?
Eric Kripke: "The Winchester House is, indeed, one of the reasons I chose the name... I was a few days away from production and had to come up with a new name in a hurry. 'Winchester' just popped in my head, in part because of the Western connotations (and I wanted 'Supernatural' to have the vibe of a modern-day Western), and in part because of the Winchester Mystery House."

Rentmaster, Angie and Noelle Talmon. "A 'Supernatural' Spin-Off? Death by Bad Taco? Series Creator Eric Kripke Explains." 14 Feb 2008. <>

1 comment:

  1. Cool place. I visited many years ago. Our tour guide was very ornery and got into a fight with a guest at the end of the tour. I remember thinking that even the workers are creeped out.