The 5th annual Haunted Sawmill: ‘Vincent’s Nightmare’
The 5th Annual Haunted Sawmill returns this October with a new theme – “Vincent’s Nightmare.”
Vincent Mudgett has become a cult legend in the Northwoods as the popularity of the Haunted Sawmill has grown. When Vincent is not prowling the corridors and dark subterranean passages of his sawmill he can be found taunting scare-enthuasiasts on his own personal Facebook page, and daring them to enter his terrifying realm.
The legend of Vincent Mudgett and the Haunted Sawmill began almost six years ago as leaders of Boy Scout Troop 599 in Merrill began looking for fund-raising ideas. Soon a small committee was formed which began looking into the daunting prospect of building, organizing and producing a haunted house attraction with no budget and a limited time frame. Those initial committee members and the dedicated Sawmill Scare Crew kept at it and together they produced a haunt attraction that has been ranked as one of the best in Wisconsin. The Haunted Sawmill proved to be such an exciting and popular Halloween attraction that it has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Last year nearly 7,000 people attended the show and over 4,000 food items were gathered for local food pantries. The Sawmill continues its mission this year to help boy scouts in Merrill and the surrounding communities.
Gerald Hersil, the Chair of the Haunted Sawmill Committee, says that, “Vincent’s story is one that appeals to the Halloween lover and movie buff in all of us.”
Hersil states that Vincent’s story is compelling and that Vincent’s persona draws people to the character.
“Vincent is the ultimate mystery man,” Hersil says. “As Vincent’s character has grown he has developed a personality unlike anyone else. If you follow Vincent on Facebook he will talk to you in the third person referring to himself as ‘Vincent.’ He has multiple personalities, he’s irreverent, rude, condescending and oppositional,” Hersil remarks. “Vincent can be anyone and anything and the character revels in that autonomy. But, Vincent is the underdog that we all cheer for. He’s the nerdy kid that no one liked in school that grew up to become the bad-boy hero ultimately.”
The Scare Crew relishes telling the tale of Vincent Mudgett. Vincent Mudgett and his family had settled in the woods around Merrill before it was even a city. Vincent, his father and his grandfather all worked as lumberjacks when the logging industry was huge in Merrill and the northwoods. There was another family that had made it big in the lumber industry – the Morris family who owned the Merrill Sawmill. Vincent found a job at the Merrill Sawmill. As an employee of the sawmill Vincent soon found himself in a love-triangle with Dorian Morris, the owner of the Merrill Sawmill, for the love of a woman named Louise. Enraged by her rejection of his love, Dorian Morris struck Louise down. He then turned on Vincent with his gang of thugs to beat him and remove him from the picture permanently. Tragedy struck and blood was spilled. Louise was killed by Dorian and everyone assumed that Vincent was dead as well. Spurned by his hatred of Dorian Morris and the loss of his one-true love, Vincent crawled out of his shallow grave and began to take vengeance upon Dorian and the mill employees. The “Massacre at the Merrill Sawmill” culminated with Vincent being surrounded by law enforcement and shot down. Everyone assumed that Vincent was finally dead. He was buried in the cemetery near the Haunted Sawmill alongside the Morris and Mudgett family members who had already passed on.
Like all the classic horror movie monsters, Vincent would not stay buried though. Vincent returned a decade later, to the day, after Dorian Morris’ brother, Dr. Adrian Morris, had inherited the Merrill Sawmill following his brother’s death. Adrian Morris converted the mill and turned it into the Arcane Asylum for the Criminally Insane. A man claiming to be Vincent Mudgett was captured by the Merrill Police Department as he went on a bloody rampage through the city. Vincent was arrested, tried and convicted. The Court declared Vincent insane and he was committed to the Arcane Asylum under the care of Dr. Adrian Morris. Dr. Morris took great pleasure in tormenting the reincarnated Vincent to make up for the death of his brother. Vincent was pushed too far once again. With the help of a young nurse named Louise, Vincent incited the patients in the Arcane Asylum to revolt against the doctor and his staff. The Arcane Asylum was ripped apart by the carnage. Vincent found his revenge against Dr. Morris and then escaped with Louise. The two were not seen again ….
Until now. Flash forward to the present time. Vincent has dug his way out of the cold dirt once more. He has been very busy gathering the creatures of the night and as many things as he can find that give you nightmares. Vincent has claimed the abandoned sawmill as his own. Dorian and Adrian Morris are dead. The employees of the Merrill Sawmill are all dead. Vincent has no one left to take out his unrelenting thirst for revenge upon – except people like you who are foolish enough to enter the doors of his Haunted Sawmill. Come find out what is truly inside Vincent’s mind when you enter his nightmare this October.
Dave Stenberg, the Co-Chair of the Haunted Sawmill Committee and mastermind behind some of the Sawmill’s coolest devices, offers that the Haunted Sawmill has even more new and thrilling surprises for guests in 2015.
“We are always revamping and improving what we have in store for our guests,” Stenberg says. “This year guests can expect new rooms, crazier contraptions and thrilling inventions from the creative minds of the Haunted Sawmill Scare Crew.”
The Haunted Sawmill will also be offering special theme nights. Hersil reports that there will be special theme shows and activities this year. On Saturday, Oct. 24 there will be a complete “lights out” version of the show.
“Guests will have to make their way through the Sawmill and face Vincent in complete blackness,” Hersil says.
Then on Sunday, Oct. 25, the Sawmill gang will be presenting a milder family version of the show.
“This will be a great opportunity for families to come with children that would be too frightened by the regular shows,” Stenberg said.
On Friday, Oct. 30, there will be an “unleashed” version of the show.
“That is the night when we are going to have only adult actors in the Sawmill. The ghouls will all be taken completely off their chains and have free run of the Haunted Sawmill,” Hersil said.
The dates and times for this year’s Haunted Sawmill shows are:
Friday, Oct. 9- 6-11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10- 6-11 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 16- 6-11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 17- 6-11 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 23- 6-11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24- 6-11 p.m. (Lights out version)
Sunday, Oct. 25- 4-8 p.m. (Toned down version)
Friday, Oct. 30- 6-11 p.m. (Adult actors version)
Saturday, Oct. 31- 6-11 p.m.
Tickets are $9 at the door or only $7 with the donation of a new non-perishable food item for the local food pantries. The Haunted Sawmill will also be offering a “speed pass” this year where guests can pay more for the privilege of a faster line into the Haunted Sawmill. Vincent and his crew have things planned for even the guests that are waiting outside in line including visits by more monsters, a stage where the actors will come out and perform to the crowd, and videos of Vincent’s and the Sawmill’s history. The Haunted Sawmill Crew says that they can’t wait to “Scare you soon!”