Tuesday, March 29, 2011


How many times have you thought to yourself "I love horror, but I really love food and alcohol" ?  If the answer is "more than once", then you should invest yourself and some interest into helping out Kristi Nommensen Dorson and her plan to start a haunted/horror themed hot spot...THAT'S OPEN OUTSIDE OF HALLOWEEN!

The following article was sent to me from Ms. Dorson herself to be broadcast to all you here.

As so many of our stories seem to go, I've been attracted to the 'strange and unusual' since I was a wee thing. My dad has always been a freak for Halloween and has provided a home yard haunt for the neighborhood kids each year from the time I was little. It seemed only natural that a love of horror movies, haunted houses, and spooky things would be in my blood. I've also always had an entrepreneurial mindset and have dreamed of, amongst other things: being a writer, owning a cafe, running a haunted bed and breakfast, owning real estate, running / living in a roadside attraction, running a restaurant, starting a variety of different stores, and more. When I was 23, my family and I stopped at a popular tourist spot in Spring Green, WI: The House On The Rock. I had no idea what I was in for when we stopped for what we thought would be a brief visit. I had no idea how much my mind was about to expand. Needless to say, I loved the place instantly, and it remains one of my favorite places ever, as well as a source of endless inspiration.

Since then my ideas have been brewing and slowly meshing together. I started gathering ideas of what I would include in my OWN version of House On The Rock, if I were able to build one. What sort of collections would I fill the place with? I began calling it my "NOT House On The Rock House", which was eventually shortened simply to "The Not House". My list includes things like: spooky tiki bars, haunted diners, living walls, collections of creepy old toys (like Boglins), collections of awesome horror shirts (such as those from Fright-Rags), a movie theater / drive in showing horror movies and cult classics, rooms full of Rube Goldberg machines, a car museum (for my husband) with a hearse section (for me), a life-sixed replica of the Lord of Darkness from Legend, a haunted bed and breakfast, a steampunk room, a room full of miniature replicas of horror buildings (such as the mansion from the Tales From The Crypt intro), and more. It occurred to me that I would need a lot of money. AND a lot of land. Since I have neither, the dream has just continued to build and I have always considered it a 'semi-retirement' goal.

It so happens that a few months ago, we visited the Raven's Grin Inn for a friend's birthday. Raven's Grin, for the uninitiated, is a FANTASTIC year-round haunted attraction in Mount Carroll, IL. Run by Jim Warfield and his wife Jessica, it defies explanation and is well worth the time to visit. (Their website can be found at http://www.hauntedravensgrin.com). We have been out there several times and have even struck up a friendship with Jim and Jessica (great people!), and yet it never occurred to me to look at Mount Carroll as a site for my vision, at least until this last trip, when we spent some time in one of the local bars and found that it is for sale. Opportunity? DEFINITELY! My husband and I talked to the owner quite a bit, then went home and spent a couple days thinking about it, and decided we were going to give it a go. Opening a spooky-themed bar and restaurant right next door to a fantastic, established year-round haunted house just seems like the perfect thing for us. 

And so, the idea for "Spirits Haunted Bar and Restaurant" was born. I started a blog to chronicle the process (http://theroadtospookytown.blogspot.com). We have no available capital, and I am only in the process of writing the business plan and doing the financial research right now. What we DO have is a huge dream that has been building for years, a passion for all things spooky and unique, a love of fun, and the drive to make it all happen. I realize my vision of Spookytown, my tongue-in-cheek name for the whole kit and caboodle, is an immense Disneyland-sized dream that may never be fully realized. Spirits is step one, and it may be the only step we ever take, or it may take us places even I have never dreamed. But I believe in dreaming big. And I believe there is a thirst for some place like this; a place for the misfits, the freaks, the lovers of the strange and unusual. A place we can congregate and share our passions. A place that even the 'normals' can visit and get a taste of the otherworldly, if only for a day or two. I BELIEVE IN SPOOKYTOWN. And I am going to make it happen. For you, for me, and for everyone that's ever believed, even if only for a moment.

3 comment(s):

Spooky Sean said...

My kind of town. You see what I did there? Winning.

chhipa said...

Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

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Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you for the efforts you've made in writing this posting. I'm hoping the same very best function from you inside future too.

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