10 Country: Tim’s Haunting Life - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Tim’s Haunting Life

October 21, 2003

Albany-- We see that Halloween isn’t far away, with all those ghost, goblin and pumpkin decorations. And, it wouldn’t be the same without a haunted house, but who would build one?

One ordinary looking person claims to be a haunted house contractor, who thrives on scaring the wits out of people.

Tim Thompson looks like an ordinary working stiff who takes care of people’s telephone needs “That’s what they say,” says Tim, from his desk at Southern Bell where he manages people who install telephone and computer lines.

Behind his soft voice and white shirt lurks another type person, and person who thinks about Halloween year round. “I have an agreement with my wife,” says Tim.

One Christmas morning, after their daughters opened their Christmas gifts, Tim was outside building a coffin for his next haunted house when he wife, Simone, imposed a time limit, although a rather long one. “I can work on Halloween from January 3 through November 1, but I’m still thinking about it the other times,” says Tim.

He likes to scare people out of their wits by building haunted houses, getting some of his ideas from movies like Halloween, the movie that scared him out of his wits years ago. “On Halloween night in 1978 I saw my first horror movie,” says Tim. The movie, Halloween, scared him so badly that he didn’t want to walk home that night, but something spooky happened when he did go home.

He became a student of horror often studying scary movies frame by frame to get ideas for building his future haunted houses. “One thing we try to do is be true to the stories we’re trying to copy in these rooms,” says Tim.

He has a haunting reputation. “I’ve built them from Miami, Florida to Albany, Georgia ” says Tim proudly. Thirteen haunted houses to date, a lucky number to him. “During Halloween, 13 is a lucky number,” says Tim with a quick laugh.

He’s the horror mastermind of the Albany Evening Lions Club’s Haunted House at 114 N. Washington St. “This is the biggest it’s ever been”, says Tim as he walks through one of the 12 scary rooms under construction in an old downtown building.

Even with the overhead lights on and the builder explaining each scene still causes you to look over your shoulder occasionally. An eerie feeling surrounds you. Dolls with blood over them, tied down with a flaming skull sitting on the butcher block beside them make you wonder what type of twisted mind would create such a scene.

Tim’s mind. He added the doll room to this year’s haunted house, along with one of his first creations: An electric chair for executing people.

The haunted house builder has his limits. “I want to spend the night one night after it closes, but I’m probably too chicken,” he says as he walks down a dark hallway.

Haunted house builders do their research, freely exchanging ideas and helping solve problems for each other using the Internet. “Haunters are some of the craziest people alive,” says Tim.

They must have a good side to share their secrets so freely. Tim conducts his own research each year based mostly on the number of screams. “There are people behind the walls watching, listening to what people are scared by,” says Tim.

One of those people watching and listening is Tim. “Oh, I’ll be there in character.” And, he can’t wait to scare you.

The Albany Evening Lions Club’s Haunted House opens Friday, October 24, at 7 pm and closes Halloween night.

Tim recommends leaving children under eight years old at home because of the realistic scenes.

posted at 4:10PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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