The good news is that more than 25,000 people have survived visits to Morbid Mountain over the past five years.
That is a good thing because, each year, the holiday haunts at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford seem a little more scary and one would expect that the chances of being carried away by zombies or getting eaten by blood-sucking freaks would be rising.
For instance, this year, they have revamped and renamed the former Blackout haunt. The new scene, called “Dazed and Confused”, replaces total darkness with strobes and black lights meant to make people scream and, as Bill Quigley, Gunstock’s director of marketing, warns, “Now you may want to close your eyes!”
Now in its sixth year, Morbid Mountain offers three haunted mazes: In addition to Dazed and Confused, there is the Execush Inn and the Forest of Fear. Each “haunt” offers its unique threats to keep people in their discomfort zone.
Bill, with a glint in his eye, says, “It makes a great date night.” He quickly adds that it also is a great fun night that not only attracts individuals and families but also groups like the Boy Scouts, as well as sports teams ending a hard week of practice.
Having opened on Sept. 28, Morbid Mountain is limited to Saturdays for the first two weeks. After Oct. 5, the haunts are open on both Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10:30 p.m. through Oct. 26. Morbid Mountain also will be open from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13, after the morning’s Morbid Mountain 5K Run and Walk which has an 8 a.m. registration time with a 10 a.m. start.
The 5K run/walk, which benefits the Lakes Region Disabled Sports program, starts at the base area at Gunstock and goes along dirt roads and trails. Participants have a choice of doing the course only or also gaining entry to the Morbid Mountain haunts (an option only available to those registering online). Those who register on the day of the race will pay a higher entry fee.
For those who are unaware of the legends of Morbid Mountain, the website www.morbidmountain.com, in addition to providing more details about the haunts and offering online ticket sales, provides the historical background behind the haunts.
It began when newlyweds Mike and Cindy, on their way to one of New Hampshire’s grand hotels, found themselves in a torrential downpour and were unable to get the top down on their convertible. They made the mistake of stopping at the Execush Inn to get dry accommodations for the night. While staying in the honeymoon suite, Cindy would discover a dark secret about her husband — and then learn her own role at the haunted inn.
Logbooks at the Gunstock Mountain Resort Campground tell the story of strange happenings in the woods: screaming from Breezy Knoll, a destroyed campsite, a lack of response from security when a Fish and Game officer arrives to check into whether there was a marauding bear. The last log entry: “Fish & Game officer calls “It’s not a bear….” and the line goes dead.
The final legend recounts how Sean, dazed and confused after finding he had delayed too long after stopping to hike a trail on his way home from work, with darkness causing him to trip on a branch, finds himself at home with party guests he does not recognize, and even his wife looks somehow different. Panicking, he runs into a dark hallway and finally finds himself in a room decorated with masks — which begin to laugh at him.
Those brave enough to tour the three Morbid Mountain sites may well find themselves panicking as they make their way through dark mazes where cobwebs in their faces are the least of their worries. There are cries of danger, warnings that the end is near, and the feeling of being watched, with the possibility that something from the shadows will leap out and terrify.
Bill Quigley notes that the ticket prices for Morbid Mountain have not changed but the ability to purchase them online is new. Those paying this way will be able to print out their receipts and take them to Guest Services to pick up their tickets.
For group pricing, with breaks for 15 or more and 30 or more, call Wendy Barrett at 603-737-4320, ext. 120, or email email@example.com.
For those who do not like to go out at night — especially during the Halloween season — Gunstock still has plenty to offer. With the leaves changing, a ride to the top in a Gunstock ski lift provides a great view of the fall colors with a perspective that also includes looking down on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Additionally, the Gunstock Adventure Tours are open weekends this fall, through Oct. 27, with Aerial Treetop Adventures, zipline tours, and Segway tours available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Zip tours and scenic lift rides continue on weekends through Nov. 3.
For more information on Gunstock, see www.gunstock.com.