Halloween: Mining the Depths for Headless Horseman

"Weird bones, ancient artifacts" just the beginning in Ulster Park, N.Y.

October 21, 2011, 3:33 PM

Oct. 25, 2011 — -- The once-vibrant town of Crow Hollow is now nearly extinct after decades of tragedies, but you're welcome to take a tour. If you dare.

The former mining town in upstate New York is nestled on 45 acres, complete with menacing woods, ponds and fruit orchards. Six haunted houses, a corn maze and a one-mile hayride through the mine shaft of hell are sure to make plenty hearts skip a beat or two at the Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses.

"It's in our blood and we want it to get into your blood," said Michael Jubie, who started running a haunted house in the spot in Ulster Park 19 years ago with his wife, Nancy. The theme changes every year to keep the loyal crowd of thousands on its toes.

The "Hell's Cavern" Hayride takes fright-seekers deep inside a mine shaft that had been sealed since 1939, when a huge explosion trapped all the miners inside, leaving them to die. As the story goes, a mysterious holding company acquired the property and opened the cavern, revealing "weird bones, ancient artifacts and the skull of the Headless Horseman."

If thrill-seekers survive their ride through the mine shaft, which we're told isn't always the case, maybe they'll be brave enough for their next adrenaline rush in one of the town's six haunted houses. Perhaps the Lunar Motel, which had been boarded up until Hurricane Irene, will strike the fancy of some. The innkeeper's grandson, now a reclusive and inhospitable old man, lives inside and hasn't emerged since he was bitten by a wolf as a young boy.

If that's too much for young visitors, The Headless Horseman offers select afternoons where young children can visit a less frightening version of the scare-park while still reveling in the Halloween experience.

The Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses will remain open to haunt the souls of all who visit until Nov. 5.

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