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Nightmare at St. Joseph Plaza: Haunted Hospital returns better than before

The former halls of St. Joseph Hospital are transformed into a haunted tour for the second year, known as the "Haunted Hospital." In 2020, the month-long event sold out tickets.

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A scary character, dressed as a dead patient, prowls the halls of the old St. Joseph Hospital in Dickinson which is now the place where the Haunted Hospital returns each fall for a spooky walk-through tour for the community. (Contributed / Krystal Kester of Krystal Kester Photography)

Modern audiences demand modern extremes and while franchises such as Saw and Hostel have become the mainstream of horror, a group of scare enthusiasts are building on last year's success to up the fright. As brave guests stumble through dark, light flickering hospital corridors and long abandoned rooms a collective of experienced actors in cinema quality costumes will seek to amplify the terror.

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A spooky clown sits on a chair, ready to scare those who enter the Haunted Hospital in Dickinson. (Contributed / Krystal Kester of Krystal Kester Photography)

For its second weekend in a row, the Haunted Hospital in Dickinson has provided a backdrop for a premier spooky experience that has brought out the spirit of All Hallows Eve and even a few unintended tears, fears and jeers.

The Haunted Hospital runs from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Oct. 2, at St. Joseph Plaza in Dickinson. Kicking off on Sept. 24, the Haunted Hospital will continue from 7 to 11 p.m. each Friday and Saturday through Oct. 30.

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For a less terrifying walk-through, there will be a kid’s night from 5 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays for children 12 years and younger, who are accompanied by an adult. All proceeds from kid’s night will be donated to Dickinson’s first responders.

Haunted Hospital’s Creative Director Nate Richter said one of the best parts of his work is providing an adrenaline rush to skeptics.

“You always have customers who come through and act like they’re not scared and the best thing, as a haunter, is to scare that person,” Richter said. “It’s a challenge and it’s always fun because it doesn’t matter how old you are or how big you are.”

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The Haunted Hospital is located at St. Joe's Plaza. It will be open Friday and Saturday nights through the end of October. (contributed / Nate Richter)

For Richter, his fascination with the adrenaline induced rush of haunted houses began at a young age.

“The very first haunted house I ever went through was Harold’s Haunted Cornfield near Lima, Ohio. I think my mom and dad took me through that when I was like 7 or 8 years old. And I’ve been scarred my entire life from that haunt,” he said, adding that he’s returned often and loves how much it’s grown. “It’s so much fun. But that was my real inspiration because I like horror movies; I like that kind of stuff. But that was the first time that really got me like, ‘This is awesome.’”

Enne Un, who owns the Haunted Hospital, said he’s pushing to ensure that young people in the community have fun things to do.

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“I was raised in Dickinson and all the kids used to always say, ‘there’s nothing to do,’” Un said. “I mean, we’re fighting every day to continue on with these events so people always have something to do.”

Richter said he’s also passionate about providing exciting activities for the community.

“Any time you can bring something new to the community, that’s fun… It kind of revitalizes you a little bit,” Richter said. “That’s kind of like when they built the Rec Center. We needed that. That was (an) awesome building (with) an outside pool for the community, and it gets used all the time. It’s packed all summer long. That’s the way we want this to be at some point in time, just big enough to where everybody knows, ‘Oh, Haunted Hospital is going to be starting up in September, we better get ready and get our costumes out.’”

Admission for the Haunted Hospital is $20 per person. On kid’s nights, admission is $5 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Haunted Hospital Facebook page @StJoesHaunt.

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A frightening character is shown inside the Haunted Hospital in Dickinson. (Contributed / Krystal Kester of Krystal Kester Photography)

Related Topics: EVENTSDICKINSON
Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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