Boo! Actual Crimes Committed In Haunted House Attractions
Creepy clowns, sex-toy scares, and assault: When fake haunted house frights cross over into real crimes.
Haunted house attractions have been a Halloween perennial for just about as long as people have celebrated Halloween.
While most such endeavors involve fun scares and amateur actors in spooky costumes jumping out to yell, “Boo!,” many adults-only fright establishments in recent years have upped the ante to terrifying extremes that involve confinement, sensory deprivation, and physical contact. There's even a strip-club haunted house in Portland, Oregon.
Still, even at their most hands-on and in-your-face, haunted house patrons trust that the shocks involved will stop short of anything that’s actual criminal.
Alas, the following incidents prove that such is not always the case and sometimes a haunted house that’s billed as “really scary” can become really scary - for real.
Spookhouse Clowns Attack Mom and Teen With Sex Toys
Robert Keller, 23, and another male identified only as "John Doe" reportedly taunted customers at the Massacre haunted house attraction in the Chicago suburb of Montgomery with salacious sex talk and by pressing vibrating sex toys against their bodies. Both men were dressed as "bloody clowns." Police arrested Keller for disorderly conduct and aggravated battery. The incident prompted a lawsuit from a local woman who alleged that Keller and Doe harassed her and pressed the vibrating sex toy against the buttocks of her 17-year-old daughter. The suit was eventually settled out of court. [Chicago Tribune]
Registered Sex Offender Caught Working at “Dwelling of Despair”
The Dwelling of Despair and Forest of Fear is a joint Halloween attraction just outside Milwaukee that, in 2015, was open for just 11 days. Unfortunately, for at least six of those days, registered sex offender Andy Hawthorne worked at the charity scare attraction and had direct contract with children, expressly violating his court orders. Hawthorne was discovered only after he took off a monster mask and an off-duty police officer, there with his children, recognized the offender. [WNCN]
Bisexual Groper Among the Ghouls at Wisconsin Scare House
Daniel Rosmann, 52, was arrested on three charges of fourth-degree sexual assault plus counts of lewd behavior and disorderly conduct after groping both men and women at the Abandoned Haunted House attraction in Mount Salem, Wisconsin. In total, eight customers complained to management about Rossman, whose transgressions included grabbing a woman's breasts and humping two men "aggressively." [Wisconsin.com]
Actors Clobbered by Crutch Fiend at Canadian Halloween Maze
Rabble rousers disrupted the spooky fun at the O'Keefe Ranch Halloween Maze in British Columbia, Canada, by assaulting at least three of the attraction's performers. A woman identified only as <em>"Kimberly,"</em> whose role involved sticking her arm out between two boards while pretending to ask for help, said one of the troublemakers smashed her appendage with his crutch. Kimberly went to the hospital and later told reporters. <em>“He managed to hit my hand three times, so I’m bruised from my knuckles to almost my wrist. He went after my son as well. He didn’t hit him, but made an attempt to hit him. From what I heard from the ER staff, I was the third person to come in with injuries.” [Global News]
Clown Canned Over Assault Claims at Omaha’s Mystery Manor
Brenton Donaldson, 27, was arrested for third-degree assault after pulling a woman's hair and holding her head against a table for 10 to 15 seconds at the Mystery Manor in Omaha, Nebraska. Donaldson, who played a sadistic clown in the haunted house attraction, said he was just acting in the spirit of his character. He was fired. [WOWT]
“Kranky Klown” — Owner of Texas Terror Nights — Busted for Child Porn
Derek Ryan Laepple, 36, of Tyler, Texas, was arrested by the U.S. Marshal Service on child-pornography charges just two weeks after he sold his ownership stake in the Terror Nights Haunted House attraction. Laepple not only owned the property, but he also appeared there as a performer, portraying a character called "Kranky Klown." During the investigation, which turned up video of girls under age 11 showing their genitals, a local investigator noted, "Laepple owns and manages a local haunted house which is a large attraction for children every year." [KLTV]