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Category: Travel

Indiana Beach Mystery Mansion

Indiana Beach Mystery Mansion

I have fond memories of Indiana Beach, and especially of this classic pretzel dark ride: Mystery Mansion.

So far, this is the only known online pictures or footage of Mystery Mansion at Indiana Beach (thanks to foch41). Skip along to 1:57 for footage of the ride.


Tom Spackman, Chief Executive Officer of Indiana Beach, designed and developed the Mystery Mansion ride in 1969, and it ran until 1998 when it was re-themed into the Den of Lost Thieves by Sally Rides.

You can also read a lot about pretzel dark rides here.

Details and information:

I’m currently working on a wikipedia article with all the info I could find here:


If you have memories, pictures, or video, PLEASE link them or upload them somewhere and drop a link in the comments. If you were a ride operator, maintenance, remember any of the scenes or interior, please comment on those too!

Christmas Valley Oregon

Christmas Valley Oregon

For people who enjoy deserts and sage – Oregon’s Christmas Valley has some really cool adventures.

  • Fort RockFort Rock is on the western side of Christmas Valley and is a naturally occurring tuff ring, a kind of volcanic crater that forms when hot magma meets cold groundwater. It’s also the site of a cave where archaeologists unearthed several pairs of sagebrush sandals confirmed to be about 10,000 years old – providing some of the earliest evidence for human occupation in North America.
  • Crack-In-The-Ground – An ancient volcanic fissure, Crack-in-the-Ground offers one of the most fascinating slot-canyon like hikes in Oregon. A dirt trail leaves the sagebrush behind and descends into the fissure, which measures two miles long, 15 feet wide and up to 70 feet deep.
  • Hole-In-The-Ground – Another volcanic landmark with a literal name, Hole-in-the-Ground is a big explosion crater (known as a maar) in the middle of nowhere, measuring nearly a mile across
  • Christmas Valley Sand Dunes – When thinking of sand dunes, Oregonians tend to think of the Oregon coast. Way out in the desert of central Oregon is another set of dunes, covering 11,000 acres of land and reaching up to 60 feet high
  • Fossil LakeFossil Lake is dry lakebed on the southeast side of the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, well known among paleontologists as a site for fossils. The ancient lake that once filled the area is thought to have been 200 feet deep, but over time it slowly dried up, leaving behind the remains of many prehistoric animals that visited its shores.
  • Lost Forest – Lost Forest is what remains of an ancient forest of ponderosa pines, which once covered much of the region
  • Glass ButtesGlass Buttes is one of Oregon’s best places to find and (legally) gather shards of obsidian
Evolution of Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Evolution of Disney’s Haunted Mansion

I LOVE classic haunted house stories and attractions. I’m not talking about modern ones that appear in every major city at Halloween – where actors try to gore you out or have people jump out screaming while dressed up in leatherface costumes or as zombies. And especially not ones that submit you to highly questionable experiences.

My favorites ones are dark rides. I got addicted to spooky rides as a kid going to Indiana Beach. They had 2 major rides I would take as many times as I could. First was Dr Frankenstein’s Castle and the second was the Haunted Mansion dark ride.

Later in life I got to visit the spiritual father of them all – Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. I loved that ride and did it too many times. Turns out, Park Ride History has done a great job on how the attraction evolved. I had no idea there were so many amazing ideas – I wish they could even do another or expand the mansion further to include some of them.

There’s lots of interesting other YouTube videos about the Haunted Mansion – including the reason the stretching room exists. Give them a go.

Going to the best amusement parks in the world – during the pandemic

Going to the best amusement parks in the world – during the pandemic

COVID has ended almost all world, domestic, and even local travel. This means we have to get creative. I started touring the world – but virtually. One of the things I found is that dedicated fans have made extremely high quality 4k recording of almost every major amusement park and ride around the world.

I recommend a good number of the rides at Tokyo Disneysea in Japan. But maybe you’d like some Star Wars, or Indiana Jones, Beauty and the Beast, or one of my favorites Expedition Everest.

Go on youtube and explore all the amazing adventures around the world you can have in 4k video for free.

Ice Hotel Sweden

Ice Hotel Sweden

The world’s first and largest hotel built out of snow and ice. Icehotel Winter is reincarnated every winter for the last three decades, every year with brand new art to experience. During an intense period during November and early December every year, the empty space on the riverbank turns into a magnificent hotel made of ice and snow.

Portland Winter Light Festvial 2021

Portland Winter Light Festvial 2021

The Portland Winter Light Festival has been growing every year. What started as a very humble collection of eccentric artists has become a ever growing event.

Unfortunately, half of this year’s event occurred during our big snowstorm – the very weekend I was hoping to go out so I missed most of it. Bummer. However a few folks posted some video of this year’s event:

Also, here’s some collected photos from the event over the last few years to enjoy


Buffalo Bill’s house from Silence of the Lambs becomes a B&B

Buffalo Bill’s house from Silence of the Lambs becomes a B&B

The real-life house that was used as Buffalo Bill’s residence in the movie “Silence of the Lambs” is about to become a B&B.

The dimly lit, wallpapered house, where Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine, inset) skins his victims in “Silence of the Lambs,” has sold for $290,000.

New York theatrical art director Chris Rowan purchased the home for $290,000 on January 28 and plans to convert it into a quaint bed and breakfast. The investment comes as the movie “Silence of the Lambs” turns 30 and a spinoff called “Clarice” begins on CBS.

Besides some minor renovations to handle guests, the most important renovation will be the infamous well in the basement where Hollywood’s original psychopathic killer traps his victims. 

The filmmakers shot the basement scenes off-site (the house doesn’t actually have a creepy hole in the basement) but the new owner reportedly plans to add one to give guests the full Buffalo Bill experience.

See and read more here:

The Newburgh Christmas lights

The Newburgh Christmas lights

BBC Scotland reports that the tiny town of Newburgh in county Fife has a wonderful Christmas tradition. For the past 20 years, this tiny town selects one student each year to get their Christmas drawing made into an illuminated creation that lights up the town’s streets.

Nobody remembers exactly how it started (likely a proposal by a local school teacher), but continues every year. Once a winning proposal is selected, the artwork is sent to Blachere Illumination to convert them into the massive street light. They are then hung up around town for the enjoyment of all.