I often experience a weird kind of cognitive disconnect when interviewing people who work in haunted attractions.
I mean, these are people who draw a salary by putting on ghoulish makeup and masks, enacting scenes of murder and mutilation, and chasing people around with chainsaws. They take an honest-to-God professional pride in terrifying customers to a point where they lose control of their excretory functions.
And yet, they tend to be the nicest people. Case in point – a very charming married couple from Menges Mills, Pa., named Adam and Ashley Burgess. But when they’re on the job at the Haunted Mill Scream Park in Spring Grove, Pa., they go by “Clown No. 47” and “Ms. Bloody Butcher.”
As you can see from the pictures, they’re pretty scary-looking when they’re on the clock. They get their masks from the excellent mask-maker Lot 27 FX, so that’s not surprising. By the way, see my feature on Lot 27 FX here.
Halloween may seem like a ways off, but it’s only a few weeks before the haunted attractions will be up and running. And if you’re a fan of haunted attractions, be sure to visit the Haunted Mill Scream Park. It’s a blast.
Anyway, Adam agreed to answer a few interview questions about himself, his wife, and their work. Here goes:
Q: What town do you and your wife live in?
A: We live in the village of Menges Mills. We actually rent an apartment from the owner of the Haunted Mill.
Q: Did you meet working at the Haunted Mill?
A: No. We met online four years ago.
Q: How long have each of you been working there?
A: This will be our 3rd year.
Q: What are your respective jobs?
A: I’m known as Clown No. 47. You usually find me roaming throughout the park, but I like to call Maw’s Crazy Maze home. I could meet you at your car door, get you in the ticket line, or make you cry in the maze. My wife is known as Ms. Bloody Butcher. She runs the Butcher House in the Haunted Mill. You can find her butchering souls there.
Q: How did you get into those jobs in the first place?
A: I’m just a crazy guy, and thought it would be fun to make people cry and pee themselves. I ended up as a roamer because I was an entertainment all by myself. And my wife just loves Halloween — lots of gory stuff and blood — and she got put as the butcher.
Q: Is this a full-time job? Seasonal? What do you do for a living the rest of the year?
A: We work at the Haunted Mill seasonal. I just started to help out with building some of the new props. But full-time, I’m a design engineer for a woodworking company in Emigsville. My wife stays home and takes care of our awesome son.
Q: Did you get to make up your own characters, or were they created for you?
A: We both created our characters based off of our personalities, and just figured out what fit for us.
Q: Have you or your wife had any background or training in acting or any other kind of performing arts?
A: I haven’t. I just have fun. My wife had a drama class back in high school that helped her out.
Q: What do you think makes for a good actor in a haunted attraction?
A: Well, my philosophy is — if you can’t scare them, entertain them. But when they’re scared, terrorize them to the point to where they cry, piss themselves or can’t take it no more.
Q: What’s the most fun thing about the job?
A: Mingling with the customers and creating a good time for the customers.
Q: What’s the craziest reaction you’ve seen from a Haunted Mill customer?
A: I scared a girl to the point where she couldn’t move, fell over and pissed herself.
Q: Not long ago, people thought of clowns as funny and loveable. Heck, they used to host kids’ shows. Now, they’re a staple of haunted attractions, where they’re often carrying chainsaws and chasing people. Do you have any thoughts on why clowns have made this transition from funny to scary?
A: Well, many people are afraid of even the funny clowns when they are not even trying to be scary. I don’t really know. Maybe it’s because you can be this happy and nice thing that hands out candy to kids to being this thing that invades your comfort zones and gets to the inside of your head. Or maybe it was the movie “Killer Clowns From Outer Space” that did it.
The Haunted Mill Scream Park will be open Sept. 28 through Nov. 4.
Fridays and Saturdays: 6pm – 11pm.
Sundays: 6 p.m. – 10 pm.
5932 Colonial Valley Rd., Spring Grove, PA 17362
Check out their Website here: