Ghost Town in the Sky—a ‘Cursed’ Theme Park in North Carolina—Has Hit the Market for $5.95 Million

umbertoleporini/iStock via Getty Images
umbertoleporini/iStock via Getty Images

Despite a recent attempt to reopen it, Ghost Town in the Sky—an allegedly cursed amusement park in North Carolina—has recently been put on the market for $5.95 million, The Charlotte Observer reports.

The 250-acre Wild West-themed attraction, which opened in 1961, sits atop Maggie Valley’s Buck Mountain near Asheville, North Carolina. Perched at a 4600-foot elevation, it can only be reached by a chairlift, an incline car, or a really long hike.

Valerie and Spencer Oberle have been working to buy the park, renovate it, and reopen it, but have faced several setbacks along the way, including serious financing issues. Valerie Oberle told The Charlotte Observer that although their offer has expired, they haven’t abandoned their hopes of resurrecting the abandoned mountaintop attraction. It’s difficult, she said, since “the property continues to deteriorate as the owner has not taken any measures to preserve,” but the couple is still trying to raise funds to purchase the park. In the meantime, the park is still up for grabs.

Ghost Town in the Sky gained its cursed reputation for a few different reasons. In 2002, a mechanical malfunction trapped tourists in the chairlift for hours, and in 2010, a catastrophic mudslide blocked the only road to the park. But perhaps the most unsettling event occurred in 2013: A cowboy, in the middle of staging a routine (pretend) gunfight, was shot and wounded with an actual bullet. We don’t know how or why the gun was loaded, but the incident seems a little Westworld-ian.

Along with Westworld, movies like Zombieland and Final Destination 3 have popularized the idea of the creepy abandoned theme park, and social media has become a perfect platform for adventurers to share photos and videos taken at the parks themselves. The blogger known as The Carpetbagger covered Ghost Town in the Sky for his YouTube channel in 2017.

Can’t afford your own abandoned theme park, but interested in seeing more eerie photos of them? Check some out here.

[h/t The Charlotte Observer]

30 Words and Phrases From Victorian Theatrical Slang

An 1884 illustration of spectators in the theater
An 1884 illustration of spectators in the theater
suteishi/iStock via Getty Images

In 1909, the English writer James Redding Ware published a dictionary of 19th-century slang and colloquial language called Passing English of the Victorian Era. Relatively little is known about Ware’s life—not helped by the fact that much of his work was published under the pseudonym Andrew Forrester—but among the other works attributed to him are around a dozen stage plays, many of which were first performed in the theaters of London in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

It was this firsthand experience that undoubtedly helped Ware to flesh out his dictionary with a host of slang words and expressions used by Victorian actors, actresses, theatrical producers, and backstage workers. From nicknames for incoherent actors to mooching companions and noisy babies, although many of the entries in Ware’s Passing English have sadly long since dropped out of use, they’re no less useful or applicable today.

1. Agony Piler

An actor who always seems to perform in weighty or sensationalist parts.

2. Back-Row Hopper

An audience member who visits bars frequented by actors and flatters them into buying him a drink.

3. Blue Fire

“Blue fire” was originally the name of a special effect used in Victorian theaters in which a mixture containing sulfur would be ignited to create an eerie blue glow on stage. The effect astonished audiences at the time, who had never seen anything like it before, hence "blue fire" came to be used to describe anything equally amazing or sensational, or that astounded an audience.

4. Bum-Boozer

A heavy drinker.

5. Burst

The sudden swell of people out onto a street when a play ended.

6. Button-Buster

A terrible comedian.

7. Celestials

Also known as “roof-scrapers,” the celestials were the audience members in the “gods” or the gallery, the highest tier of seats in the theater.

8. Charles His Friend

A nickname for any uninspiring part in a play whose only purpose is to give the main protagonist someone to talk to. The term apparently derives from a genuine list of the characters in a now long-forgotten drama, in which the lead’s companion was listed simply as “Charles: his friend.”

9. Deadheads

Audience members who haven’t paid to get in (as opposed to those who have, who were the livestock). Consequently, a nickname for journalists and first-night critics.

10. Decencies

A term referring to an actor’s strategically padded costume, defined by Ware as “pads used by actors, as distinct from actresses, to ameliorate outline.”

11. FLABBERDEGAZ

A fluffed line, a stumbled word, or a mistimed joke. Also called a Major Macfluffer.

12. The Ghost Walks

A reference to the famous opening scene of Hamlet, saying that “the ghost walks” (or, more often than not, that “the ghost doesn’t walk”) meant that there was (or that there wasn’t) enough money to be paid that week.

13. Gin And Fog

Hoarseness caused by heavy drinking the night before.

14. Greedy Scene

A scene in a play in which the lead actor has the stage all to him or herself.

15. Joey

To mug to the audience, or to lark about to attract someone’s attention.

16. Logie

A fake gemstone, or fake jewelry in general. Supposedly named after David Logie, an inventor who manufactured fake jewels out of zinc.

17. Matinée Dog

A nickname for the audience of a matinee performance. To "try it on the matinee dog" meant to test a new act or a new reading of a scene during a daytime performance, as the afternoon audiences were considered less discerning than the more seasoned and more demanding evening audiences.

18. Mumble-Mumper

An old, inarticulate performer whose lines cannot be easily heard or interpreted by the audience.

19. On The Pross

If you’re on the pross then you’re looking for someone to buy you a drink or a meal—pross is a shortening of “prosperous,” in the sense of searching for someone wealthy enough to buy you dinner.

20. Palatic

Very, very drunk. Probably derived from a deliberate mispronunciation of “paralytic."

21. To Play to The Gas

To make just enough money to get by—literally just enough to pay your gas bill.

22. Scorpions

An actor’s nickname for babies, whose constant noise could ruin a performance.

23. Star-Queller

An inferior actor whose terrible performance ruins the excellent performances given by everyone else.

24. Swan-Slinger

The playwright Ben Jonson famously called Shakespeare “The sweet swan of Avon” in a memorial poem published in 1623. A swan-slinger, consequently, is a Shakespearean actor.

25. To Take a Dagger And Drown Yourself

To say one thing but then do another. To stab yourself and pass the bottle, meanwhile, meant to take a swig of a drink and then pass the bottle onto the next person.

26. Thinking Part

A role in which an actor is required to say little or nothing at all. Likewise, a feeder was any role in which an actor was only required to “feed” lines to the more important character.

27. Toga-Play

Also called BC-plays, toga-plays were either classical period dramas, like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, or plays by classical-era playwrights.

28. Twelve-Pound Actor

A child born into an acting family.

29. Village Blacksmith

“The Village Blacksmith” is the title of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the third verse of which begins, “Week in, week out, from morn till night, / You can hear his bellows blow.” It was the “week in, week out” line that inspired this expression referring to a performer or worker who isn’t a complete failure, but whose contracts rarely last longer than a single week.

30. Whooperup

A terrible singer.

[This list first ran in 2015 and was republished in 2019]

World’s Largest Ouija Board Unveiled in Salem, Massachusetts

homeworks255/iStock via Getty Images
homeworks255/iStock via Getty Images

If a young Rick “Ormortis” Schreck ever asked a Ouija board if he’d end up making the world’s largest Ouija board, the answer should’ve been yes.

“OuijaZilla,” as it’s affectionately called, weighs 9000 pounds and covers 3168 square feet—as big a footprint as five 18-wheelers. According to Popular Mechanics, the board took 99 pieces of plywood, 20 quarts of black paint, several gallons of deck stain, and one whole year to complete.

It contains all the classic elements of a traditional Ouija board, including the full alphabet, numbers zero through nine, and the words yes, no, and goodbye. Instead of using their fingers to move the planchette across the board, a few people stand inside the 400-pound planchette’s circular cutout and shuffle their way into a seance.

Schreck, a tattoo artist and vice president of the Talking Board Historical Society (TBHS), originally built the giant Ouija board in New Jersey and then transported it to Salem, Massachusetts, where it was reassembled and unveiled to the public on October 12.

The town, notorious for its witch hunts in the late 17th century, seems an especially eerie resting place for yet another spooky piece of America’s history. But it’s actually where Ouija boards were manufactured for years, after Salem-based toy company Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game in 1966. It’s also the town that inspired Schreck’s initial interest in Ouija boards in 1992.

According to the TBHS website, the Brobdingnagian board is nearly 2.5 times larger than the current Guinness World Record holder, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! has bestowed the title of "world's largest Ouija board" on Schreck's creation. It’s also “fully operational,” which hopefully means that you can use it to commune with extra-large dead people.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]

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