The following appeared as the front-page headline story in the October 27, 1993 issue of t
The following appeared as the front-page headline story in the
October 27, 1993 issue of the Palm Beach (Florida) Post. I have
uploaded it verbatim; hope this is an appropriate echo for it.
HORROR HOUSE DECEPTION ANGERS PARENTS
A church-run show at the Martin Fairgrounds depicts an abortion,
Satanic rituals and a suicide
BY CAROLYN FRETZ
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
STUART -- When Susan Neal took her son and one of his friends to the
"House of Horrors" at the Martin County Fairgrounds Tuesday night, she
was expecting ghosts, goblins, a cackling witch, and maybe a lurching
mummy if it was a really good show.
What she and her 13-year-old son, Justin Johnston, and his friend,
Shawn Long, saw instead was a series of vignettes depicting an
abortion, a teenager committing suicide, and a Satanic ritual
climaxing with the sacrifice of a child.
"This doesn't have anything to do with Halloween," Justin said,
shaking his head as he left the exhibit.
His mother was seething.
"I am _so_ angry," she said. "What really gets me is the pretense.
They tricked us into coming here. We thought we were going to see a
The manager of the Martin County Faigrounds, Jim Overton, said the
fair association was duped, too. And at 8 p.m. he ordered the "House
of Horrors" shut down for the night.
"We expect our attorney and the county's attorney to take whatever
steps are necessary to shut it down for good tomorrow," he said.
The "House of Horrors" is a production of the Abundant Life
Ministries Assembly of God of Stuart, a Pentecostal church whose
members are fundamentalist Christians.
The Assemblies of God is a 75-year-old denomination with churches
worldwide. The Stuart parish, with 135 families in its congregation,
celebrated its seventh anniversary this year, said the church's
pastor, Jonathan McClain.
The church leased a pavilion from the fair association at a special
discounted rate for churches for the week beginning Monday and ending
Overton says the lease application specified only "a haunted house."
"We're very unhappy," he said, "I feel taken advantage of, frankly."
Overton said he is worried that people will think the "House of
Horrors" is sponsored by the fair association and that the
controversial show[sic] will attract large confrontational crowds.
McClain says the church has a valid lease, but it will purchase riot
insurance today to try to appease Overton.
He said his church is trying to warn young people about the dangers
of drugs, sex and Satanic rock 'n' roll, and he has no regrets about
using the promise of a Halloween treat to lure them in to hear that
message. "Life has a lot of horrors to it, and we'd like to literally
scare the hell out of these kids," McClain said. "If this show saves
one kid's life, it's worthwhile."
Some of the teenagers who walked through the "House of Horrors"
Tuesday night agreed.
"It shows real[sic] life and the real consequences you could face after
doing certain things," said Laura Dunshee, a junior at Martin County
That is exactly what is wrong with the show, said Debi Beakely, who
was raised in the Pentecostal faith. Her 13-year-old son, Jason
Mosier, and a friend went through the "House of Horrors" Monday night.
"My son has not slept with a night-light for years," she said. "Last
night he had one on all night, and this morning while we were waiting
for his schoolbus he said to me, 'Mom, I keep thinking about that
little boy screaming,' -- talking about the boy who was sacrificed in
the Satanic scene."
Jason learned about the "House of Horrors" from an orange and black
flier passed out by his home room teacher at Dan McCarty Middle School
in Fort Pierce. The flier included an illustration of the Grim Reaper
and specifies, "No one under 13 allowed."
The spokeswoman for the St. Lucie County School District, Chevon
Baccus, said no one was authorized to distribute the flyer.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank