Haunted houses are all well and good, but fake spiderwebs and plastic chainsaws get old after awhile. Real scares do a body good. Think Ghost Hunters, The Exorcist and The Sixth Sense. That's the stuff that gets the hair standing up on the back of your neck.
With our abundance of sunshine and sub-tropical weather, Miami may not seem like the scariest city -- but we've got our fair share of creepy locales, one of which is Miami Springs' Curtiss Mansion.
Long rumored to be a bastion of ghostly activity, there are all kinds of scary stories surrounding the 87-year-old historic home. The pueblo-style dwelling once belonged to Glenn Curtiss, aviation pioneer and land developer. Curtiss died unexpectedly in 1930, and there have been rumblings of spooky phenomenon ever since.
This year, guests can visit the mansion to see for themselves if the angsty undead are still hanging around. The home was recently restored to its 1935 condition after standing in disrepair for decades.
"This property has not been opened for 30 years," said Mariel Ruiz Escasena, Director of Events. "We just opened up on April 1st. People have always thought that this place was haunted to begin with, it's just one of those things. This historic location was severely neglected and abandoned. There was no roof on the property and a Banyan tree was growing out of the kitchen window."
Now in its shiny new state, the venue is hosting Haunted Mansion Tours from October 25th through 28th, where guests can come face to face with their fears. Ghost stories have spread for years about weird noises and other strange phenomenon while on site.
"I've heard from various people that they've actually walked into the living room and gotten goosebumps. Others have heard noises like the door closing, and I personally have heard the door closing," Escasena says. "We had a ghost hunter stay here overnight and they felt very eerie. They couldn't put their finger on exactly what it could be. People tell me that there's something in that living room, but it's good energy. Glenn must be very happy that we've revived his home!"
"[Visitors are] going to see an operating room," she continues. "They're going to see different characters. It's not super gruesome; it's very creepy and eerie and very geared towards the property itself."
In addition to the ghostly tour, they're offering a Mystery Clue Hunt and Cocktail Reception on October 26 and 27 for those 18 and over. The game will be set outside in the property's courtyard (under a clear tent), in a makeshift lounge with couches, tables and a chandelier.
"The food we're serving is what we're calling a 'Vampire's Feast.' There'll be a meat carving station with different sauces. We'll also have a 'Baked Worm' station, serving black linguine with different toppings to pick and choose from. There will also be four passed hors d'oeuvres, and two signature cocktails," Escasena tells us. A cash bar will also be available.
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So get ready to greet Glenn -- he might be standing by to shake your hand. Or rip your heart out. Either/or.
The Haunted Mansion Tour runs from 8 p.m. to midnight on October 25 through 28. Tickets cost $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Anyone under 15 must be accompanied by an adult, and the tour is not recommended for children under 10 years old. The Mystery Clue Hunt and Cocktail Reception runs from 8 to 11 p.m. on October 26 and 27. Reservations and advance tickets are required, and guests must be 18 or over (with photo ID). Tickets cost $50 per person and include dinner, two cocktails and prizes. Visit the venue's website for details.