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The Phantom Gazette – News on All Things Halloween

Exploring the Real Castle Frankenstein AKA “How the Phantom Spent the Christmas Holidays”

Castle FrankensteinThe Phantom of the Ville travels to Darmstadt, Germany to explore the ruins of Burg Frankenstein and investigate the history and myths surrounding this iconic medieval castle.

Castle Frankenstein
Happy New Year, haunt fans, it’s The Phantom of the Ville back on the streets of Louisville, KY after a two-week adventure spent across the pond in Germany and the Netherlands. As an incorporeal specter who has spent his entire afterlife within the borders of the United States, I experienced something of a spiritual and cultural awakening during my journey that I hope to share with you over the course of weeks to follow.

I experienced the overwhelming Gothic majesty of the Cologne Cathedral and listened to the chimes ring out from its’ towering spires as I marveled at the world-renowned Christmas Market in the streets below, imbibing in gluhwein (hot, spiced wine served in festive mugs as a European holiday tradition) and filling my belly with currywurst (the German equivalent of fair food consisting of fried sausage slathered in red curry sauce). I took the Autobahn into the Netherlands to visit one of the oldest and most elaborate theme parks in the world, The Efteling, which is twice the size of the original Disneyland and opened in 1952, three years prior to Uncle Walt’s grand experiment. The park’s attractions envelope guests in the world of fantasy, fairy tales and folklore including many elaborately produced dark rides that rival anything at Disneyland. The Efteling has its’ own haunted attractions: Spookslot Haunted Castle and the Villa Volta Mystery House, which I will go into much more detail about in a follow-up article.

I also experienced an art exhibition of a scale I had never seen before at the Gasometer Oberhausen, a converted former industrial gas holder that now showcases a full-scale replica of the Matterhorn that “floats” upside down above the audience as 3D projectors deliver 67 million pixels of animation across its’ surface to bring the mountain to life. Among the number of ancient castles that stretch across the historic landscape of Germany, I also visited a 12th century moated castle called Burg Linn in Krefeld, which is the oldest known castle along the Lower Rhine.

Castle Frankenstein
As a lifelong scholar of English literature and obsessive fan of classic horror, the most personally impactful destination on my holiday adventure is also a mecca for monster lovers all over the world. When I interviewed Wisconsin Fear Grounds’ owner, Tim Gavinski, a couple of years ago he recalled to me the scariest night of his life spent with his military unit on the grounds of Burg Frankenstein in Darmstadt, Germany. The castle was brought to American pop culture attention in 2008 when SyFy Channel’sGhost Hunters International” did an entire episode on site and declared the ruins “significantly active.”

What are the legends surrounding these mysterious ancient ruins and what is the connection to Mary Shelley’s 200-year-old novel and the 1931 Universal film featuring Boris Karloff as Baron Frankenstein’s monstrous creation?

The castle, built on the Odenwald mountain range overlooking the city of Darmstadt around 1230 is first recounted in a Latin document as “Super castro in frangenstien” which translates as “castle at the top of the Frankenstein.” The document names the founders of the castle as Konrad Reiz von Breuberg and his wife Elisabeth, who assumed the name “von und zu Frankenstein” after construction was complete. Konrad was the founder of the free imperial Barony of Frankenstein, who were the authorities of the local land that included seven villages and were subject of jurisdiction only to the emperor. The castle eventually fell into ruins during the 18th century.

Castle Frankenstein
Perhaps the most infamous resident to have ever lived in the castle was a man named Johann Conrad Dippel who was born in the castle in 1673. Dippel was a well-known alchemist who created what he described as “the elixir of life” called Dippel’s Oil, a dark, viscous liquid made from the destructive distillation of animal bones. Local history claims Dippel practiced both alchemy and anatomy while living in Castle Frankenstein. He was accused of graverobbing and is said to have performed bizarre experiments on cadavers including attempts to transfer the soul from one body to another. Dippel was banned from a number of countries due to his reputation and controversial religious ideas. Just a year before his death, Dippel published a manuscript claiming he had discovered an elixir that would allow him to live to be 135 years old.

There is historical evidence that Mary and Percy Shelley toured the Rhine river in 1814 and stopped in Gernsheim, which is only about 10 miles from Castle Frankenstein. It is likely, though never proven, that she may have heard the stories about Dippel and the castle while in the area. It’s also possible that these local stories may have influenced the nightmare she had months later that gave her the idea for the “Frankenstein” novel.

The Dippel/Frankenstein monster connection isn’t the only legend that locals tell about the castle and the dense woods surrounding it. One of the most famous is the story of Lord George and the Dragon which tells the story of a man-eating dragon who lived in a garden near Castle Frankenstein and the knight who sacrificed himself to slay it. Rumors suggest there is a supposedly hidden fountain of youth somewhere near the castle which can grant youth to those who drink from it on the first full moon after Walpurgis Night. There is also a place in the forest behind the castle where compasses don’t work due to strange magnetic properties in the stone formations there that has long been a gathering place for witches.

Castle Frankenstein
As we drove up the long, winding and densely wooded hill that leads to Castle Frankenstein, it was difficult not to surrender to the atmosphere of the place and it becomes abundantly clear why this area has become the center of so many folktales. Overcast and grey, the typically gloomy German winter conditions set the perfect black-and-white horror classic mood as we crested the Odenwald and I got my first glance at the battlement walls and top of the castle tower through the craggy trees.

We passed a banner advertising a theatrical dinner show that takes place at the restaurant built next door to the castle ruins. The restaurant was booked solid due to the holidays, so I can’t tell you what the food is like, but the interior looks properly rustic. You can park in a small parking lot just a few steps from the castle and admission is free. There is a small kiosk at the entrance that sells drinks, snacks, lurid postcards and simple coffee mugs. A fistful of postcards and a coffee mug cost me less than $10.

Before you reach the crumbling walls of the castle courtyard, you will pass the Frankenstein Chapel, which was first opened on July 13, 1474 and is still remarkably preserved today. Inside you will find a small church adorned with statues and grave markers representing significant members of the Frankenstein family. The first castle tower is inaccessible, but the main tower is intact. You can climb the wooden steps to four separate floors to take in the view through openings in the stone walls on the top floor. The best view, however, is on the castle battlement wall overlooking the city of Darmstadt below. Not much around the ruins is blocked off and you are free to explore at will. There was a strange room behind locked bars that appeared to be filled with mock “treasure” that seems to have been staged for tourist curiosity and photo ops. You can easily spend an hour walking the pathways around the castle and much longer exploring the mystery enshrouded woods surrounding it.

The potent mix of history, literature, folklore and horror make Burg Frankenstein a singular travel destination for fans of classic horror around the world. As I headed back to the car with a dreamy grin on my face, I passed and greeted several other guys headed towards the castle with the same boyish grin plastered across their astonished mugs. There is a true mystical electricity in the air around Castle Frankenstein that I can only describe as alive. Alive. Alive!

 

The Phantom of The Ville

 

Evermore and the Future of Interactive Theater in the Haunted Attraction Business

Future of Haunted HousesIn this year end editorial, we take a look at the amazing new Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove, Utah and speculate on how the phenomenon of cosplay and interactive theater may influence your local haunted attractions across the country.

Future of Haunted Houses
Happy Holidays, haunt fans, it’s The Phantom of the Ville here with some observations and opinions about the current state and future of the ‘horror business’ as we bid farewell to another haunt season and begin our creative nightmare sessions to plan for next year. As I embark on my eighth season writing about the haunted attraction industry, I proceed with a haunted attic full of knowledge obtained from meeting and interviewing owners, makeup artists and actors from some of the biggest seasonal Halloween attractions in the country, as well as meeting and talking with haunt fans everywhere I go.  I’ve seen trends in flux over the last decade that have provided me with a particular insider perspective of where the industry could go in the years ahead, and today I’m going to gaze into my crystal ball and attempt to see into the future of the Halloween and haunt industry.

One of things echoed in almost every interview I’ve conducted with haunt owners over the last couple of years is the realization that customers are no longer content to detachedly walk through elaborate scenes awaiting the next pop up jolt to stimulate their reflexes. They want to be engaged; they want to be part of the story. As humans we crave the interactive stimulation we are often lacking in modern life where we spend so much time on cellphones and laptops, playing video games and watching movies without direct human contact. The rise in popularity of cosplay at fan conventions over the last decade has also been an awakening to event planners that fans want to play a part in the big production.

Future of Haunted Houses
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure on June 18, 2010 and although the newly themed land contained one of the most sophisticated dark rides ever built, fan attention was equally drawn to the world creation built around the main attractions. Customers could drink butter beer and dine at the Three Broomsticks, and purchase a magic wand at Ollivanders which could further interact with features throughout the area. The opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios in July of 2014 even further expanded the interactive world building set forth by the original park. Walt Disney’s Star Wars” Galaxy’s Edge is set to open in 2019 and the primary excitement for this newly themed land isn’t the two mega-budget rides planned to debut with the park, but the opportunity to visit and interact with a planetary environment and otherworldly characters within the Star Wars universe. Most of the buzz revolves around a Star Wars themed hotel disguised as a gigantic starship in which guests will be fully immersed in an outer space adventure from the moment they are ‘transported’ aboard where they will be given a character that will be recognized by the denizens of the accompanying park.

This brings me to an amazing new interactive theme park called Evermore which opened this Halloween season in Pleasure Grove, Utah. Unlike anything at Disney or Universal, Evermore doesn’t have any rides at all. Evermore, which refers to itself as an “experience park”, is a place where guests enter a fantasy village constructed to resemble a European style landscape complete with structures built with imported stone, lush gardens and dense forest trails inhabited by fantastic characters and creatures of original creation. Guests are free to roam the park in a non-linear fashion visiting shops, grabbing a drink at the Kettle Café, exploring the gardens of Glynshire, the spooky graveyards and Victorian mausoleum of Loudon’s Rest, the Celtic styled hillsides of Drust Highlands or the dark wooded trails of Clawthorne Hollow.

Future of Haunted Houses
Along the way you will meet and interact with a host of both cheery and possibly scary characters who will send you on multi-layered quests across Evermore to find sacred objects, obtain secret knowledge and complete challenging missions. You may have to bring back found objects and/or to answer secret questions to join a guild of thieves, warriors or magic users. Some of the quests may involve braving scary crypts and haunted forests while others may test your skills at archery or ax throwing.

The designs are part Dungeons and Dragons, part steampunk, part exotic botanical gardens. The whole park is one giant stage and guests are staring characters in the biggest interactive theatrical experience in the US. Evermore also offers exclusive in-house made gifts and themed food, drinks and treats.

Evermore opened its’ portal to these various fantasy realms this Halloween with its’ fall seasonal event known as Lore, a haunted, Celtic myth themed event that explores the battle with the powers of darkness. In December, Evermore will be completely re-themed as a Dickensian Christmas wonderland known as Aurora. Then in the summer, Evermore will transform into a magical lantern festival based on Norse mythology called Mythos. The park also plans to host massive theatrical parties themed to Victorian Masquerade Balls and Ghost Pirate Adventures.

It’s not hard for me to imagine the inspiration of Evermore, Disney’s Star Wars land and Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter finding their

Future of Haunted Houses
way into the haunt industry. Interactive theater is really what we do already and the seeds of growing interactivity have already been planted. Just locally, we’ve seen former 7th Street Haunt owner, Travis Boling, introduce an interactive Christmas adventure at his attraction that challenges kids to defeat infamous Christmas villains and save Santa Claus. This year we’ve seen Danger Run evolve to include side quests that cast guests as paranormal investigators following the breadcrumb trail of an ill-fated previous group and Fear Fair owner, Brett Hays, has incorporated interactive side quests into several of his off-season events.

If I were to look into my crystal ball as 2018 comes to a close, I would see a greater focus on story, original characters and much more in-depth interactivity coming to the haunted attraction industry in the near future. A few years ago, Legend at Pope Lick and Black Orchard co-owner, Michael Book, presented me with a sketch of a map for a haunt concept that suggested a non-linear haunt experience. It laid out different buildings and scenes in a wooded area with connecting trails that encouraged guests to explore the woods to find the different structures in an effort to piece together a mystery that would complete a narrative adventure. At the time, the idea seemed a little over ambitious to me on a local attraction level. How would you control put through? What would stop groups from running into each other all over the place? How could you control the length (or brevity) of the experience? Would guests accustomed to a linear haunted house even understand the concept?

That was three or four years ago, and the idea seemed a little crazy to me. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so crazy. Evermore has opened my eyes to new possibilities. Only time will tell if their ambitious concept proves itself with paying customers.

The Phantom of The Ville

Krampus Returns to the Ville!

Krampus - Scary Halloween

The snake-tongued Anti-Claus is back in town for several events starting on Krampus Night, Wed. Dec. 5, with the Louisville Krampus Celebration at Art Sanctuary!

Creepy Christmas

It’s that time of year again and the bells are ringing, however if you’ve been bad this year, those might not be Christmas bells but instead the clanging chimes of doom. That’s right, Krampus is coming down from his icy mountain peak and he’s headed directly for the River City (and the local region) to punish all of us sinners before his brother Saint Nicholas arrives to award all the little good two-shoes later in the month. His first stop will be Art Sanctuary on Krampusnacht next Wednesday.

The Louisville Krampus Celebration: Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 7PM2AM at Art Sanctuary, 1433 S. Shelby St. Entry fee is $10. This is the second annual Krampus Night event brought to you by The Louisville Gore Club, Highlands Taproom Grill, Seidenfaden’s, Riotheart Media and organizer Steve Vessell. There will be exclusive Krampus drink specials sponsored by Fireball and Southern Tier.

This year the Louisville Krampus Celebration is going FULL NAUGHTY. This means 18 and over only. There will be five bands, Burlesque performers, magicians and artists. Expect to find 30 alternative holiday vendors. Have you picture taken with Krampus, enter a Krampus costume contest and drink Krampus beer on tap!

A Creepy Christmas at Fear Fair: Friday & Saturday, Dec. 7 & 8, 800 A Ave. E., Seymour, In. 47274. General Admission is $25 and Slash Passes are $35. Fear Fair claims their holiday show is the only thing scarier than Black Friday shopping lines. You’ll find Krampus, Creepy Santa, Evil Elves and all new costumes, makeup and soundtrack in a completely rethemed attraction.

Creepy Christmas

Krampus: A Christmas Nightmare at The Haunted Hotel: Friday & Saturday, Dec. 7 & 8, 3000 S. 4th St. General Admission is $25, Fast Pass is $40 and VIP/Front of Line Passes are $60. The nationally ranked Haunted Hotel brings back its’ twisted holiday show featuring Krampus, Chainsaw Santas, Jacked Up Frost, Cannibal Elves and other psycho X-mas freaks. This is an entirely different experience from the Halloween season show complete with a total Christmas makeover and a new soundtrack.

A Christmas Nightmare at The Dent Schoolhouse: Friday & Saturday, Dec. 7 & 8, 5963 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45248. General Admission is $25, Fast Pass is $45 and Front of the Line is $55. Just an hour and a half sleigh ride from the Louisville city limits, The Dent Schoolhouse’s infamous Charlie the Janitor has decorated the whole school for the Christmas holidays and invited his buddy Krampus over to punish all the bad students this year.

Krampus A Haunted Christmas Chapter 2: Jack Frost at Nashville Nightmare: Saturday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 15, 1016 Madison Sq., Madison, TN 37115. General Admission is $24.99. Fast Pass is $36.99. This year Krampus has unleashed Jack Frost at Nashville Nightmare in a new interactive show that includes photos with Krampus and special Christmas treats for sale.

A Krampus Nightmare at Stillwell Manor: Saturday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 15, 17o4 E 60th St., Anderson, IN. 46013. Tickets are $20, but Stillwell has partnered with Park Place Community Center Food Pantry so can get $5 off your ticket by bringing 5 non-expired canned goods.

Belle’s Christmas Nightmare at House of Trepidation: Friday & Saturday, Dec. 14 & 15, 1929 S Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN. 46225. General Admission tickets are $20. The infamous Dr. Belle has invited his family home for Christmas and they’re about to find out how demented he really is! You get three different attractions all themed for the holidays and a warm cup of hot chocolate at the exit.

So lock your doors, bolt your windows and keep a fire going in the hearth. Krampus knows what you’ve done this year!
v>The Phantom of The Ville

The Final Screams of Halloween 2018!

Fear Fair Haunted House

Extra Weekends, Blackout Nights and Jack-O-Lantern Spectacles Highlight the Last Week of the Season!

The elder weather gods summoned up a soggy sabbath this All Hallows’ Eve, but there’s still fun to be had on the other side of October 31st this year if you need one more trick-or-treat before winter. Honestly, it has been a tough season all around for outdoor haunts and attractions due to unprecedented rainfall, early freezing temperatures and even one devilish windstorm. But there have been some ghoulish highlights to haunt season 2018 as well.

Michael Myers made a triumphant return to cinemas in “Halloween” (2018), shattering October box-office records and quickly becoming the highest grossing sequel in the franchise. Original director, John Carpenter, returned as executive producer and even scored the film while original Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, reprised her role as Laurie Strode for the 40th anniversary of the franchise.

The classic Universal Monsters finally saw all 30 films in the series remastered in high-definition and released on Blu-ray. Toy fans were treated to the return of Mego Action Figures as exclusive Target store collectibles that included a licensed Bela Lugosi Dracula, Frankenstein and a licensed Lon Chaney Jr. werewolf.

Locally, the Louisville Halloween Parade and Street Festival was a huge success in its’ sixteenth consecutive season in the Highlands. Several Louisville area haunted attractions made Top Haunted House lists nationwide. Even as we said goodbye to Travis Boling’s 7th Street Haunt, we were gifted with the promise for his latest creation, The American Horrorplex, which will be making its’ debut for Halloween 2019.

Below you will find a list of all the attractions open post Oct. 31st for one last thrill.

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Iroquois Park celebrates its’ sixth season in Louisville with nightly shows through November 4. Take this evocative hike through 5,000 hand carved Jack-O-Lanterns from dusk until 11PM on weeknights and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Danger Run has one more weekend left to solve the clues, including new side quests and puzzles, and visit two haunted attractions along the way. Get the gang together for a paranormal adventure this Friday and Saturday night, Nov. 2 & 3, with starting gates open from 7-11PM and haunts open from 8:30PM-2AM.

Legend at Pope Lick gives you one last chance to encounter the legendary Goatman this weekend on Friday and Saturday night, Nov. 2 & 3 from 8:30PM-2AM.

Black Orchard Haunted House gives you one last chance to discover “What’s in the barn?” this weekend on Friday and Saturday night, Nov. 2 & 3 from 8:30PM-2AM. The infamous Silas Black and his wretched clan will also host a BLACKOUT night on Saturday, Nov. 10 from dusk til midnight. Small groups will be forced to enter the barn with only a flashlight!

Fear Fair in Seymour, IN. presents BLACKOUT this weekend on Friday and Saturday night, Nov. 2 & 3 from 8PM-1AM. This is a special lights-out event that allows small groups of up the three people to explore the haunt with a UV flash-lights. All the actors will be wearing special UV make-up.

Asylum Haunted Scream Park presents SLENDERMAN: A Live Action Experience on Thursday, Nov. 1 from 8PM-midnight. Asylum will also be open for its’ regular show this weekend, Nov. 2 & 3 from 8PM-2AM.

The Haunted Hotel presents its’ LIGHTS OUT: ZOMBIE OUTBREAK special event on Saturday night, Nov. 10 from 8PM-11PM.

Sinister Tombs in Eastview, KY is open this weekend on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 & 3 from 8PM-midnight.

Disturbed Souls Yard Haunt, a family run free yard haunt in J-town, had to cancel plans for Halloween night due to the scheduled rain, but has switched to Saturday, Nov. 3 from dusk until 10 or 11PM depending on crowds.

Happy Halloween from the Phantom of the Ville and all of us at Louisville Halloween!

The Phantom of The Ville

This Halloween marks the 50th Anniversary of Louisville’s Own Triceratops Visit to the Indian Trails Shopping Center on Tour with the Sinclair Dinosaurs!

We interview local dinosaur enthusiast, Rocko Jerome, about our Triceratops’ first trip to the River City on the Halloween weekend of 1968 and recent attempts to save and restore the magnificent beast!

 Rocko Jerome loves dinosaurs. His love for these colossal beasts of prerecorded history knows little bounds, and when he discovered that a life-size replica of a Cretaceous Period dinosaur created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair was gifted to the city of Louisville in the late 1960’s he became curious as to its’ current whereabouts. As a child, he admired the locally beloved triceratops when it was on display in the back garden at the Louisville Science Center. He later discovered it also enchanted thousands of children for many years while on location at the Louisville Zoo. One day the magnificent horned creature vanished into the mists of local history. Did this beloved piece of local history truly become extinct?

Sinclair Triceretops

 Can you give us a brief history of Lottie (Louisville’s Own Triceratops) and her significance to the city?

Lottie is one of nine life-sized dinosaur statues that were constructed by a renowned artist named Louis Paul Jonas for Sinclair Oil’s pavilion at the New York 1964 World’s Fair. They are truly a wonder to behold, and thousands upon thousands came from around the planet to gaze upon them. She and her siblings are of a much better quality of construction and pedigree than the sort of roadside attraction kitsch you might find elsewhere. Also, they provide a charming and durable depiction of what we knew and thought we understood about prehistoric beasts in the middle of the 20th century.

After the fair’s end, the dinos went on a national tour. After a number of years, the family was only broken up because no one had the space to take them all, even the Smithsonian. They were ultimately spread across America to be displayed at various zoos, parks and museums. Louisville got the triceratops.

She was moved around the city over the years. For a while, she was displayed at the zoo, then the Science Center, then a parking lot, then under an overpass downtown. Along the way, she was given a sort of bright “Pop Art” paint job and sustained a bit of damage, some of which was repaired, albeit a bit shoddily.  She had a leg patched and the tip of her tail is broken. All fixable. All in all, she’s in great shape, especially considering the degree of her neglect. As I said, she’s durable!  For the last decade or so, she’s been hidden away in storage.

Tell us about Lottie’s first magnificent trip to Louisville on Halloween in 1968?

The Sinclair family passed through Louisville that weekend, all on flatbed trucks. They were parked at the Indian Trail Shopping Center. Just as was the case in New York, people flocked to see them. There’s a ton of Louisvillians who were kids at the time that recall the event fondly, one of them being my mom, who was there on her tenth birthday.

What happened to the other World’s Fair Sinclair Dinosaurs?

They’re all over the place in zoos, museums and state parks across the country. There’s one that was very small that’s missing, but all the rest are pretty well looked after, making the state of our Lottie that much more distressing.

Sinclair Triceretops

How did you become involved in a community action project to rescue Lottie?

Well, after a lifetime of being a dinosaur freak and a native Louisvillian, I’m sorry to say that I only learned of Lottie’s existence just over a year ago. The story of Uncle Beazley at the National Zoo in Northwest Washington, DC found its way to me via social media. Although there’s been a bit of confusion about this, Uncle Beazley was not at the World’s Fair. He was made from a mold of Lottie for a 1967 TV program based on the children’s book, “The Enormous Egg”, which is about a kid who adopts a baby triceratops that grows too big for him to manage. Jonas, the original sculptor, also made a bunch of smaller triceratops statues that depict a younger Beazley for the show.

Anyway, I went to my friends Dave Hodge and Dave Conover and showed them Uncle Beazley, which of course, they knew all about. They hipped me to the fact that we have the genuine article right here in the River City. They happen to be a couple of big time enthusiasts of dinosaurs, mid-century design and large-scale model building/repair, so this checks off all the boxes! For a long time, they had wanted to do something to improve our girl’s situation by applying their know-how and get her fixed up, but had encountered difficulty getting in front of the right people. They really want to do the work and are beyond capable. It’s just connecting the right dots.

It seemed really heartbreaking to me that we’re just wasting this amazing thing that we were trusted with. Asking around, I found that people would remember the dinosaurs at Indian Trail and they would remember the triceratops at the zoo or museum or underpass, but almost no one knew this was the same dinosaur all along, down across these generations. I’m the kind of person who loses sleep over things like this. I had to get the word out.

I figured that social media would be helpful. I’m always into acronyms, and I came up with the best one of my life for this project: Community Action to Rescue Louisville’s Own Triceratops, or Operation: CAR LOT. She resides just adjacent to a car parking lot, and of course, we call her Lottie. I put together a Louisville Triceratops website and my friend Jimmy Humphrey made a short film about the subject. Lee Staton created a fantastic logo, and we were off to the races. WAVE 3 took notice which got us talking to the folks at the Science Center about solutions, and we’ve been moving steadily along ever since.

How can local dinosaur fans help with rescue efforts or get involved with the project?

If things go as we plan, there will eventually be a new, public location for Lottie, and the Daves, working together with a team of the best of the best, will get to give her some TLC. We need all the support that we can muster to raise awareness, and joining the Louisville Triceratops page on Facebook is a great first step.

What kind of Sinclair Dinosaur collectibles are most prized by dinosaur fans?

Mold-A-Rama machines were on hand both at the World’s Fair and on the traveling national tour, and countless kids took those home. They’re a really fun thing to collect and are the subject of their own cult following. Mold-A-Rama souvenirs were coin operated, make-on-demand collectibles, and they inspire a huge, kitschy fervor. I have a ton of them, but not enough!

Lastly, I can’t NOT ask this question. What’s your favorite dinosaur?

TRICERATOPS, baby! And I mean that. They strike me as the scrappy, “Don’t start trouble, won’t be trouble” wanderers of prehistory, and I love them the most.

The Phantom of The Ville