Evansville Haunted House Brings Over 40 Years of Scares

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Halloween is less than a week away, which means those looking for a good scare have one more weekend to enjoy a spooky Tri-State tradition.

The Old Courthouse Catacombs in the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse have been a tri-state staple for over 40 years. The owner says he’s worked hard to make sure people want to come back year after year.

The catacombs of the Old Courthouse come to life every Halloween season and people flock in droves for a dose of terror.

“We find it fascinating that people are willing to pay dearly to be scared,” said Old Courthouse Catacombs owner Phil Wolter.

Phil Wolter launched the attraction in 1980. Since then, he says he has put on 43 shows and supervised 12,000 actors. He says the urge to visit haunted houses must be a similar impulse to what drives people to ride roller coasters or watch scary movies.

“When you come to the theater and see a horror movie, you can look at your own fears, watch them, address them, and laugh about them,” Wolter said.

Wolter says a lot goes on behind the scenes to make the event happen every year. Wolter is an artist who paints the creepy catacomb murals. He also has experience in acting and says there is an overlap between the two.

“We have live characters, there’s blocking, costumes, makeup, lines, special effects, sound, lighting, wardrobe,” Wolter said. “Anything you see in a regular theater production, you’ll get here.”

Each year the attraction has a theme, and with one exception, it is different each year. This year’s theme is “The Burial Grounds”, and it is based on local history. The old courthouse was built on the oldest documented cemetery in the region. Nearby historical markers indicate that there are still unmarked graves on the grounds.

Wolter says he wants to scare customers, but more than that, he wants them to have fun.

“We make it fun, safe and scary,” Wolter said. “It’s not the kind of carve-you-up, gory, gory industrial show. There’s a bit of that here and there, but it’s mostly for fun. We know it’s all wrong here, right? »

But be careful if you find yourself in the catacombs, there may be someone right behind you.

If that’s not enough terror for you, the catacombs are just one of two haunted houses that Wolter runs. The other is “The House of Lecter”, two blocks away.

Click here for timetables and ticket information.

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