Web Exclusive - October 2012
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Halloween Hauntings

Bennett's Curse
Jessup, Md.

By Deborah L. Vence

Allan and Jill Bennett, who own the famed Bennett's Curse in Jessup, Md., wanted to find a way to house their multi-themed haunted attraction together in one space—to help make the spine-chilling haunt even more entertaining.

"In an effort to keep waiting times down for our guests, we decided to have one point of entry for all three attractions. Once guests finish the first attraction they continue into the other two without a break or wait in line," said Jill Bennett, co-owner of Bennett Productions LLC, an entertainment company that specializes in themed haunted attractions, such as Bennett's Curse, which is located at 8024 Max Blobs Park Road in Jessup, Md., halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The Bennetts chose ClearSpan Fabric Structures, a South Windsor, Conn.-based manufacturer of tension fabric buildings that offers in-house engineering, manufacturing, financing and installation, to provide the structure. For Bennett's Curse, the structure is a Hercules Truss Arch Building that has the flexibility of using the Manta Ray anchoring system to create a permanent structure, yet it also can be moved, if necessary.

As a result, The House of Vampyres, Zombie Kingdom in 3D and The Sanctuary of Insanity now are grouped together in one 22,500-square-foot building (225 feet long and 100 feet wide). The eerie attraction features everything from giant demons to a claustrophobic hallway to chainsaw-wielding madmen—not to mention bloodthirsty vampires and flesh-hungry zombies—all waiting at every dark corner.

Bennett explained that the building's fabric "is a Fabrene P708 woven polyolefin Class A NFPA 701 fire retardant. It took three weeks to install the ClearSpan building, which included the Manta Ray Anchoring System, Truss Arch building and fabric covering."

The high ceilings in the building are beneficial in accommodating the attraction's larger animations, while the clear span of the building makes the layout easy to design and change with no obstructions. The new structure was needed not only so visitors could move quickly from one scene to another, but also so that the attractions could stay up permanently. In the past, three temporary pole tents were used to house the attractions, which were taken down each season.

The Bennetts have stated that they are pleased with the building, noting that it is a "versatile building and worthwhile investment, which can be used for entertainment, industrial or agricultural use," Jill Bennett said.

Bennett's Curse, which has been voted as one of America's best haunted houses and featured on the Travel Channel, has been operating for 11 years. The Bennetts expanded their haunted attraction in 2008 to a second one, Creepywoods Haunted Forest in Kingsville, Md. Creepywoods Haunted Forest is considered a top-rated haunted trail in the region—outfitted with gigantic creatures, bloodthirsty werewolves, ghostly spirits and more. And, besides the existing haunted attractions, Bennett said, "We have plans to open more attractions in the near future."

Bennett's Curse: www.bennettscurse.com
ClearSpan Fabric Structures: www.clearspan.com