LANSING-The thrill just might be over.
After a run that was set to eclipse the eight year mark, the Lansing Haunted House very well could’ve spooked or startled its last fright night seeker, as delayed rent negotiations appear to have spoiled the blood curling good time in the old iconic WPA stone building that sits hauntingly on N.C. 194.
Rumors of the house’s demise – whether exaggerated or not – began to stoke the fears of fearless nights in Lansing in recent weeks on Facebook when several volunteers began to broadcast news that the terror of Lansing was no more.
A few former volunteers hinted at a possible rent dispute with the current owners of the old school house, which now sports the name of Ft. Awesome, a Lansing Rocks LLC production.
Dorne Pentes, is one of four owners of Ft. Awesome. He took issue with the rumor of a rent dispute and even went as far as to say that he remains in good standing with the haunted house’s organizers, a group led by Steve Farrington.
“There is no rent dispute,” reiterated Pentes.
He said the part of the reason that this year’s run remains in limbo is because rent negotiations are behind schedule.
Usually by early September, Ft. Awesome’s owners and the Farringtons have come to an agreement on the price of rent, but this year was different. Pentes was delayed by an extended stay overseas.
Even if organizers are unable to pull off another haunted house run, Pentes said he has seen early indications that they are willing to return to the old school next year to offset any potential hiatus.
As of Sept. 7, Pentes was optimistic that both parties could come to some type of agreement. By Friday afternoon, Pentes said he had still yet to hear from Farrington, but remained optimistic of a continued mutually beneficial partnership.
“We are still waiting to hear from Steve at this point,” said Pentes on Friday. “But we’re still holding the space for him as long as we can.”
Pentes isn’t the only with trouble reaching the haunted house’s organizers. Numerous attempts to reach its volunteers and leadership have been unsuccessful.
A Facebook message to the group’s online page appears to have gone unread although the same cannot be said about messages sent to other organizers or volunteers.
Pentes also did not give any credence to the online speculation that the haunted house is poised to relocate to West Jefferson. A sign advertising a “Haunted Factory” is being displayed in town, however.
Regardless, the haunted house has become a mainstay in Lansing and Pentes said he would hate to see it go.
The Haunted House is one of three major events that typically run at Ft. Awesome. The ghoul and ghost extravaganza is complemented by a Yoga festival and fire arts showcase.
Pentes said he and his partners have a vested interest in seeing Ft. Awesome remain a successful and viable entertainment option, as well as tourist destination for Lansing. Since buying the building 2005, they have made numerous restorations and improvements.
“We believe in Lansing,” he said.
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.