Texans Love Haunted Houses
As a Texan newbie, I was surprised to learn that the Dallas – Fort Worth area boasts 24 major haunted house attractions during the Halloween season.
Two dozen haunted houses!
And that’s not counting all the little ones I see hosted in community centers and churches here in north Texas. Frankly, with so many places of worship around, I thought there might be some sort of fundamentalist Christian backlash against Halloween. Instead, Texas celebrates Halloween in a big way.
Behind the Screams Tour of Moxley Manor
Last Saturday, my husband and I took a “behind the screams” tour of Moxley Manor. The first thing I noticed was how small it looks from the outside. Don’t let this initial impression deter you: Moxley Manor’s rooms, corridors and cubbyholes are spread across 6,000 square feet. And, believe me, it feels even bigger as you wander through that labyrinthian interior in semi-darkness, trying desperately to find your way out.
We were given a tour by the mastermind behind Moxley’s madness, Mr. Richard Alvarado. Out of costume, Richard is friendly, light-hearted, and decidedly un-scary. (In costume is another story, but we’ll get to that later.) While Moxley Manor is a relative newcomer to the DFW scene, Richard has years of experience in the haunted house industry.
The entrance was crowded with hopeful victims the night I visited, and according to Richard, “We had around 2500 visitors last year and are already on target to at least double that this year.”
A Labor of Love
There’s a story behind every piece of furniture and knicknack at Moxley Manor. Decorating the haunted house is an ongoing project for Richard and his girlfriend, Rachel, who work on it throughout the year, fixing things up, adding creepy-yet-homey touches, putting up new features and generally maintaining it the way you would a regular house. In fact, when it came to the kitchen, Richard says, “I was like a new bride. I just had to have the 1950 Roper oven and that International Harvester refrigerator.” Although those chosen appliances are now spattered with “blood,” I get the distinct impression that Moxley Manor is a labor of love.
Yes, I screamed
Before we went in, I smugly thought I would make it through Moxley Manor with little more than a few nervous giggles. Well, I tell you, I thought wrong! Despite our prior tour in full daylight, when the time came to experience Moxley Manor at full throttle, it was quite different, and by “different” I mean “scary!”
For one thing, I thought we would have more people walking through at the same time to help diffuse the scariness, but it was just me and my husband. I also thought that if I went first, I would be spared the most startling occurrences – not true! Even though I had walked through the house and have an excellent sense of direction, Moxley Manor is full of hidden hidey-holes and secret passages where actors emerge to scare the bejeezus out of you – and they don’t always sneak up on you from behind. Sometimes they pop out from the sides, or even in front of you.
We had barely made it past the first room, in fact, when a creepy figure appeared – seemingly out of nowhere – and growled. It was timed so perfectly that I let out a huge scream. Only when the creepy figure whispered, “Hi, Tui!” did I realize that it was Richard Alvarado, himself.
So, yes, I screamed. I screamed a lot! At least I made it all the way through, unlike the teen-aged boys ahead of us in line. They freaked out halfway through and had to be escorted out a side entrance.
Is Moxley Manor really haunted?
Rumor has it that Moxley Manor may actually be in a haunted space. When I asked Richard about it, he said, “I don’t really believe in that, but some of the stuff that’s been happening around here is starting to make me wonder.”
What kind of stuff? According to Richard, even though he and Rachel are the only ones with keys, and are conscientious about turning the lights off when they leave, “A lot of times when we get back here the lights are on.”
Another time, said Rachel, “When we came in, we flipped on the lights and there was a 2×6 piece of wood standing straight up – all by itself.”
Other oddities include strange scratches in a concrete wall, loud banging sounds, and the alarm going off for no reason. The Paranormal Society Investigators recently collected a couple of EVP’s after a session at Moxley Manor. Follow this link to hear them for yourself, and to see photos they took with orbs in them. I brought my digital recorder along, but there was too much human activity going on for me to tell if I caught an actual EVP or not. (I did capture evidence of myself screaming, but I don’t plan on sharing that with anyone!)
Makes A Great Date Night
Of course, you don’t have to believe in ghosts to enjoy a good scare, which is exactly what Moxley Manor offers. Nor am I a fan of horror films, but I still had a great time. I felt exhilarated afterward, actually. Sure, Moxley Manor is a great place to take a date, but a trip there can be refreshing after a hectic week at the office – all that screaming is rather cathartic!
Moxley Manor Hours, Admission, Address:
Address: Harwood Village Shopping Center, 510 Harwood Road, Suite O, Bedford, TX 76021
Dates: October 1-2, 7-9, 13-16, 18-31
Friday and Saturday: 7:00 p.m. – Midnight
Sunday through Thursday: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Halloween Night: 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Admission: General admission is $15, however, $20 lets you cut to the front of the line. See the official Moxley Manor website for details on admission and special offers.
For more information: Check out the official website for Moxley Manor.