James HowellStaff Writerjhowell@heartlandpublications.com
October 7, 2012
Visiting the Haunted Hospital ensures fun times and cheap scares, but the “hair standing up on the back of your neck” feeling might come from a different source – the building just might be haunted.
Sounds of footsteps being heard in empty rooms, strange smells, and shadowy figures have all been reported, said Tim Winters, commander of the Ashe County Honor Guard.
But don’t let that keep you away, said Winters, who, with a group of hard-working volunteers, has transformed the old hospital in Jefferson into the “Haunted Hospital.”
“The majority of people really enjoyed it,” said Winters. He also said “we had a fair crowd. There could have been more but it was good for the first weekend.”
Without spoiling any surprises, the Haunted Hospital’s theme this year will be a haunted insane asylum. Six people will enter the Haunted Hospital at a time, and be led through it by a guide, said Everett Adams, the senior vice commander of the Ashe County Honor Guard.
There is an aspect of the Haunted Hospital that sets it apart from other haunted houses: it’s rumored to actually be haunted, said Adams.
According to Adams, his crew has seen and heard strange things while preparing the Haunted Hospital for guests.
For instance, while setting up a maze in the Haunted Hospital, Adams said he heard footsteps approaching from around the corner of the hall. At the time, Adams thought these footsteps were coming from his wife in an attempt to scare him.
Actually, his wife was outside during the ghostly footsteps. When she walked in from the side door, Adams realized whatever he heard was not his wife.
Adams isn’t the only person to cite bizarre happenings in the Haunted Hospital. A member of his crew said he saw the figure of a little girl walking through a room.
Adams and Winters, along with other honor guard volunteers, said they have felt tugs on their clothes and hair, had electronic equipment fail, smelled coconut-scented perfume, and even seen floating lights and shadowy figures while preparing the Haunted Hospital.
Despite these strange occurrences, the honor guard was no worries about using the building to entertain visitors, said Winters.
But worrying aside, the main reason for braving the hospitals terrifying rumors is the fund-raising potential for the honor guard, said Winters.
“This is our major fundraiser and all of the proceeds go to the honor guard,” he said.
Winters also said “all of this is for a good cause; that’s why everyone is so dedicated to it (the Haunted Hospital).”
According to Adams, the Ashe County Honor Guard provides police officers, fire fighters and first responders with military-style funerals. For instance, the honor guard pays for flags that will be draped over the caskets of first responders.
Adams said this service is not exclusive to the families from Ashe County as the honor guard will provide this courtesy to the surrounding region. According to Adams, the Ashe County Honor Guard was one of the first honor guards in western North Carolina to provide military-style funerals to fallen first responders.
The Haunted Hospital will be operating on Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. through Oct. 27, meaning there will be no shows on Halloween this year. Admission is $5 per person; children under 10 get in free.