Woods come to life along haunted trail in VerbenaBy Emily Etheredge Published 4:44pm Monday, October 7, 2013
For the month of October, Mountain Creek Trail of Fear owner Jackie Wilson has one goal for those who visit her 35-acre haunted trail in Verbena.
“I want everyone that visits to be scared,” Wilson said. “Our goal is for people to come and have fun and laugh, but we want at least one thing on our trail to scare people.”
Wilson, 58, and family who live in Douglasville, Ga. throughout the year, decided to open a haunted trail in 2010 on 50 acres of family owned property in Verbena.
The idea for the trail originated after Wilson and her family visited a haunted trail in Rome, Ga. and thought the concept could work on the property where Wilson grew up in Verbena.
“We had so much fun visiting that haunted trail,” Wilson said. “I laughed so much and we all just really enjoyed it so we decided to try to open something on our property.”
Now, Wilson and family along with a staff of 30 workers, spend each weekend in October playing host to those brave enough to visit their haunted trail.
Characters include a wolf man, scarecrow, scary clown, zombie and many others who wear masks and costumes and stage hideouts throughout the woods waiting to scare visitors.
Wilson requires those who dress up as a character to maintain authenticity and each character must play their part until the last visitor has left the haunted trail each night.
“We want our characters to be believable,” Wilson said. “Each person who dresses up knows how they should be acting, and if they are trying to scare someone they will work to do that as part of their character.”
Characters are not allowed to touch visitors and in return, Wilson requests anyone visiting the haunted trail to not touch any of the characters.
“My biggest thing about my characters is I want them to be in their position,” Wilson said. “If you walk in the dark maze, I want the character who is supposed to be in the dark maze to be waiting to scare someone. You should never be walking through a section of the haunted trail and not have a character around to scare you.”
Wilson and family spend a few days each month making sure each station along the trail is ready for the October season with new additions each year to keep things fresh for returning guests.
This year, Wilson has added a witch character that has a station along the trail and different elements including a jumping spider to create just enough spookiness for visitors.
“These woods come to life at night,” Wilson said. “Strobe lights also help bring the characters to life but when you are out here and everything is dark, you are already kind of spooked.”
The haunted trail takes roughly 30 minutes to complete and is open to anyone age 13 and older.
Wilson has also created a hayride for visitors who want to attend the haunted trail but don’t want to walk the pathway.
There will also be a “family friendly” day for visitors who would like to bring small children to the trail for a hayride during the daytime on Oct. 26.
“We are all about people coming out to have fun with their family,” Wilson said. “I don’t allow any angels or devils on the trail because we believe that laughter glorifies God and we want that to be the focus.”
At the end of the trail, Wilson has placed a brightly lit cross to remind visitors of the purpose of the trail.
“Everything is done in fun,” Wilson said. “We hope everyone is able to laugh, but we hope you will follow the light when you leave which is why we lit up the cross.”
Mountain Creek Trail of Fear is open from 7 p.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday throughout the month of October.
Ticket prices include $10 for the hayride and $13 for the trail.
A printable coupon is available on the website, www.trailoffear.net, for $3 off the cost of the trail.
Mountain Creek Trail of Fear is located at 1802 County Road 23 in Verbena.
For more information, visit www.trailoffear.net or call, (404) 247-5530.