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Woods of Terror celebrates 25 years of chills

This photo is the property of Evil Light Photography/JLW and Woods of Terror on Church St. (Eddie McLaurin) and may ONLY be used in conjunction with the promotion of Woods of Terror on Church St.

Any other use must be approved in writing. All violations will be prosecuted to the full extent of North American and United States copyright law. The images are not to be archived reused or sold to third parties. 

Copyright 2014/Evil Light Photography/JLW
This photo is the property of Evil Light Photography/JLW and Woods of Terror on Church St. (Eddie McLaurin) and may ONLY be used in conjunction with the promotion of Woods of Terror on Church St. Any other use must be approved in writing. All violations will be prosecuted to the full extent of North American and United States copyright law. The images are not to be archived reused or sold to third parties. Copyright 2014/Evil Light Photography/JLW

Copyright 2014/Evil Light Photography/JLW

During the Great Depression, poverty, hunger and anger took the souls of many and left their spirits to wander the town of Greensboro, causing fear and disruption. Thankfully, a priest bound the spirits to a plot of land 12 miles from the city limits, a haunted territory now known as the Woods of Terror.

For 25 years Woods of Terror owner Eddie McLaurin has run one of the best haunted attractions in the nation, and he claims that this year’s quarter-century anniversary is the best yet.

“This is the best show I’ve ever had,” McLaurin said. “I’ve got a lot of talented actors this year. It doesn’t matter how good my sets are, if the actors are bad, the show is bad, and these actors are the best actors I’ve ever had. They’ve got so much energy that I’m scared they’re going to be worn out by the end of the year.”

One may not think of haunted attractions as a part of the theatre and acting realm, but McLaurin notes that quality acting is the key to any scare. It’s why his actors go through weeks of training with an acting coach, who teaches them the basic fundamentals of scare tactics: startling, stalking, hiding and confronting (blocking your path).

Returning WOT fans will notice many of their favorite characters still roaming around. Kevante Tatum, who performs as the sinister zombie or double-jointed crawler, Cali Alday, who plays as little girl Sally Slaughter, and Fred Williams, the Snake Man who carries the Colombian red-tailed boa, Morticia, can all be spotted on the “midway” where they scare and entertain guests waiting to go through the trail.

In honor of the anniversary, McLaurin has also restructured about 30 percent of the trail, changing up some of his most popular sections, like the Night Stalkers and Arachnophobia attractions. There are also new onsite bathrooms.

The updated Vampire House is one of the biggest changes to the haunted trail this year. Extra hallways have been added instead of just the two rooms, and the outside has been built-up as well. McLaurin said he used more than 500 fence panels to add the additions. “Even though I only changed about 30 percent, when you’re going through, it’ll feel more like 75 percent,” McLaurin said. “This year I worked on a lot of little details.”

With more than 30,000 visitors a season, averaging to about 900 guests per hour, McLaurin is always thinking of ways to improve his haunt and keep it interesting.

He says that his plans for next year and onward include an underground haunt and a historical ghost tour, walking through the real graveyard on his property.

“It’s very unique,” he said. “It’s about 200 yards deep in the woods. All the graves are sunken in because they probably weren’t’ put in boxes correctly. The stones that are there drop off at 1870. It won’t be scary; it’ll just be a ghost walk. I want to be respectful.”

Wanna go? Woods of Terror, located at 5601 N. Church St., Greensboro, is open Thursday through Monday and Nov. 4-5 (for black out tours). Tickets are $17-$50 depending on day. Go to woodsofterror.com for tickets or more information.

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