Skellington Manor celebrates 25 years of scares

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There’s a place in the heart of Rock Island that’s been scaring people for a quarter of a century: Skellington Manor.

Today marks the start of their scaring season and its Theatre of the Macabre’s opening night.

“It’s always exciting for us,” said Skellington Manor owner Michael Steen. “We just keep evolving every year.”

Steen said they’ve added a new addition this year for fans of Sweeney Todd. It joins their stock of move set-level special effects. However, Steen said it’s their 60 actors that make the manor come alive every night.

“We could put a whole bunch of money into props, but it’s just not the same without our staff,” he said.

Amy Murphy plays a doll in this year’s haunted house. She said the actors add another dimension to the sets.

“People being able to see something that’s human, but doesn’t look human, it messes with them psychologically and it scares them,” Murphy said.

There’s also some good that comes out of every scream. Part of the ticket sales goes to the Pay It Forward Foundation — Steen’s non profit that helps build wells in Kenya. 

“Those people just want a clean glass of water,” Steen said. “I always believe that we are our brother’s keepers.”

But that doesn’t mean when you visit Skellington Manor Steen and his crew won’t try to scare you to death. 

“If you can scare someone that well you’ve really done your job well,” Steen said.

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