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Kids turn old school into haunted zone

October 29, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Usually the only things that scare students from class are tests, but at the old East Junior High School, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, werewolves and the Frankenstein monster will prove to be much more frightening.

For the second year in a row, Youth Are Our Concern, a local youth advocacy group, is sponsoring its haunted classrooms in the old school building in downtown Waynesboro.

This year's theme is "Back to School Night if You Dare," said Ginny Ingels, spokeswoman for the youth group.

Five classrooms in the school will be open for haunting fun from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission is $3.

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Last year the group made more than $3,000 on the event, which was attended by about 1,200 people, Ingels said. The money raised supports group activities on behalf of youth, she said.

Youth Are Our Concern was created in the early 1980s as an anti-drug group, Ingels said.

Members of the Waynesboro Area Senior High School history club and art class are taking part in this year's haunted classrooms, said Marilyn Smith, secretary of the group.

The art class is building a tunnel down a main hall of the old school building, which itself gives the appearance of being haunted with its eerily empty hallways, peeling paint and crumbling walls and ceilings.

The tunnel will be lit with black lights and "have all kinds of stuff in it like skeletons, werewolves and some very crazy, creepy people," said Matt Gearhart, 16, a sophomore and one of the tunnel's architects.

The history club is creating three scenes for skits in one of the building's empty classrooms.

One skit deals with a Civil War operating room in the basement of a building at Gettysburg College.

The plot involves two women who are working late at night in an upstairs office. They leave in the elevator, which takes them to the basement instead of the first floor. The doors open onto the set, where a surgeon is cutting a limb from a wounded soldier, according to John Nunemaker, 17, a high school senior and one of the set producers.

The second set deals with the murder of the young Renfrew sisters by Indians in Waynesboro in the 18th century. The actors are trying to find the girls' scalps in Little Antietam Creek.

The third skit depicts a haunted house in downtown Waynesboro.

Smith said there are three other rooms, two of which have been converted into mazes designed to confuse and frighten those who pass through. There is also Dr. Frankenstein's office, complete with cobwebbed waiting room, lab, examining room and morgue.

Smith said several adult volunteers, including Craig Nicley and the Martin McGarity family, have created exhibits for the event.

For more information, call Ingels at 1-717-762-3834 or Smith at 1-717-762-3433.

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