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Published: Wednesday, 1/12/2005

The price is fright for haunted housing

A menacing clown greets visitors entering the mobile haunted
house at the Haunted Hydro Dark Attraction Park in Fremont. A menacing clown greets visitors entering the mobile haunted house at the Haunted Hydro Dark Attraction Park in Fremont.

"Crazy" Bob Turner has an extra haunted house he'd like to sell you.

It has 14 rooms, 4,000 square feet, and a 100-foot mural.

Oh, and by the way, the front entrance is a giant, fiber-glass clown face with razor-sharp teeth and an evil grin. He'd put the clown on his own front door, but well ...

"My wife would divorce me in a minute," he said.

Mr. Turner and his wife, Beth, are owners of the Haunted Hydro Dark Attraction Park in Fremont, where this killer clown-themed mobile haunted house - lovingly called "Barnum Barney's House of Carnies" - has been helping to scare people on and off for five years as a supplement to the main attraction.

Now it's up for auction on eBay (starting bid: $35,000) and bringing national attention to Mr. Turner. A story ran on the item in the New York Times, and the writer of the "Zippy the Pinhead" comic has already incorporated the clown house into an upcoming February strip.

"If Zippy had $45,000, he would have clicked the 'Buy it now' button right then," Zippy creator Bill Griffith wrote The Blade in an e-mail. "Fortunately, I monitor all his online impulse buying, so instead of buying the clown house, I just used it in a Zippy strip."

Mr. Turner said it was time to sell the haunted house to keep things fresh and because he has the chance to buy a super-cool, fogged maze unit. He turned to an online sale, which ends today, because the best time to sell such items isn't until March at a national Halloween and costume show.

"When you're selling around Christmas, it has to find the right home and the right buyer, so I was a little creative," he said.

To anyone who needs an extra haunted house or maybe is just looking for intense therapy to get over a fear of clowns, Mr. Turner said his unit is just perfect.

"It was a very, very successful unit for us," he said. "It's actually 14 separate haunted areas. It comes with a theme of evil clowns and things that you would see in a circus."

You know, things like a zombie band.

Mr. Turner laughs: "They weren't there to play music for your entertainment."

Contact Ryan E. Smith at: ryansmith@theblade.com

or 419-724-6103.

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