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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The End and the Passing:

Greetings, fellow haunters.

As some of you may, or may not, be aware, this past Halloween, Rob at SkullAndBone made the decision to end the Miss Rose yard haunt that he has so wonderfully crafted over the past 5 or more years.

I know a good many of us have found his haunt and website to be a great source of both inspiration and anticipation. Myself very much included. But, he felt it was time to move on to other endeavours.

Rob, being the classy guy that he is, made another decision. He wouldn't just end the haunt. He would seek to pass it on in some fashion to someone else. Preferrably another haunter. At first he sought to sell it. I can't speak to whether or not he got any offers for the entire haunt. Apparently, he was approached by some to acquire a few props and things. But Rob couldn't bear the thought of seeing it scattered to the four winds, being sold off piecemeal or disappearing into a larger, already established haunt.

Then, astoundingly, I saw this from Rob responding to another forum member...

"I am less concerned about selling props than I am about finding a good home. I have a couple mails out to a few close friends, but I am still looking for the perfect home for the entire haunt. Frankly, for the right haunter, I will be happy to pass along the entire haunt for free."

Holy [email protected]#$. No way. Insert many other excited expletives here. <g>

Well, after some very brief consideration and calculation, I knew I HAD to at least attempt acquiring Miss Rose.

In a way, though, I kind of look at some haunters as almost celebrities. So enamored am I of their work. And, of course, some are more approachable than others. Also, having not really communicated with many other haunters pertaining to actual haunting, I was feeling a bit of trepidation.

But, I took a chance, wrote from my heart and sent an email to Rob.

I sent it Tuesday evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The E-mail:

Greetings Rob,

Let me begin by saying that I am saddened by the passing of the Miss Rose era. It has been both an inspiration and aspiration for several years to myself and to a great many others as well. Your work truly is first rate. I am also grateful for the sharing of your methods and knowledge. That is, after all, one of the best things about the haunt community.

I also understand your decision. As a family man myself, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain even the "mood" let alone the actual energy required to haunt. I am fortunate in that my family provides me with lots of support during the season. The rest of the year I'm basically on my own. Which, for planning and creating purposes, is a good thing.

I am also extremely excited about the possible opportunity that has presented itself.

If you'll indulge me a few moments, I'd like to provide a little background. I'm 45 and married 18 years with 3 kids (oldest son 15 and a future haunter himself, and twins, boy/girl age 10). I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. This is where I first caught the haunting "bug". On Halloween, the decorated houses were always the ones I saved for last just so I could linger and drink in the atmosphere. In my early teens I even attempted a ridiculous little garage haunt myself. It was beyond bad having absolutely NO budget. But it stemmed from the right seed. As an adult I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. The haunting was replaced by going out and partying on Halloween, my wife and I in full Zombie regalia. Even won a few contests here and there. Good times, no doubt. As we mostly lived in apartments, we had little to no room or reason (read: no ToT's) to even consider haunting. As our children came along, we moved into a bigger townhouse, but, again, little to no room or reason (again, no ToT's) to haunt. Some friends had moved up to Oregon and, after a few visits and much cajoling, in December 2005, we took the plunge and moved up here.

Best decision we ever made.

Firstly, we got out at the right time and made a killing on our townhouse and were able to buy a wonderful home in a good neighborhood. Good schools. Very family oriented. And LOTS of kids. ToT's. Someone to haunt for. Joy of joys.

Secondly, there are lots of Halloween oriented places up here. Pro Haunts (13th Door, Fright Town, Scream at the Beach), pumpkin farms and corn mazes and the like. Even a fairly renowned home haunt (Davis Graveyard) or two. In general, much more spirit here than where we were. Halloween Heaven!

This all left me in a bit of a quandry, however. I finally had a venue but I had next to nothing to start with as far as haunting goes. I had a few assorted store-bought props and some black lights and that's about it. Not to mention little to no idea how to get a theme going or what I really wanted to do. The past few years have just been black lights in the windows with some glow webs. A few props displayed in a window with spotlights (using your tutorials, naturally). And, if weather permitted, some cheap tombstones in the yard. And lots of jackos, of course. Year before last, I actually made my first prop. A Flying Crank Ghost via Phantasmechanics tutorial. I can't say that our house hasn't a ellicited a few ooh's and aah's. It has.

But, honestly, this has all left me still somewhat frustrated and creatively unsatisfied. While blacklights and such are cool, it wasn't really the atmosphere I was looking to achieve. I think you can get the picture from here. Finding haunts like yours, Pumpkinrot, Davis Graveyard and too many others to even name on HauntForum and on the interweb has only whetted my appetite to do more. To do better. To create something that, in my mind, is actually worth posting a picture of and, possibly, even inspiring others. I've had PLENTY of ideas and inspiration over the years, but just never quite seemed able to make it all... congeal.

I needed a foundation upon which to build. Something that would allow me to concentrate on details as opposed to trying to come up with something wildly original and new. No mean feat given the plethora of really good haunts around. A palette, if you will, from which to work.

All of the above being said and being the admirer that I am of your haunt, I just can't let the opportunity pass without at least throwing my name in for consideration.

I do hope that you might consider me the "right haunter". An extremely appreciative haunter. The "good home" you seek. Someone who deeply feels and understands the spirit and creative joy of haunting. Not just during the season, but year 'round. Someone who would show the haunt the same care and attention to detail that its creator did. Someone who would not seek to cannibalize it, but rather display it in as close to its original state as possible. Who would maintain it's integrity. Someone who would be honored to carry on its legacy. A legacy that, in my opinion, is rife with inspiration, imagination and possibility. And, perhaps as important, someone who would make sure all due respect and acknowledgement were bestowed upon its creator and origins.

And, as fate would have it, Rob, Portland is known as "The City of Roses". A shameless, yet fitting, plug. <grin>

I more than understand your desire to sell it first. Lord knows, some spend a pretty penny on their haunts and I can certainly see where you'd like/need to recoup some of that. As I understand your desire for even a close friend to have it first.

Alas, my appreciation of your work, a whirling imagination and budgetary concerns have again collided and so I am overwhelmingly compelled to at least ask. BTW, I am doing so via email because to be told "hell no" in the forum would be a little embarrassing...lol. Nor did I wish to put you on the spot. Then again, I'd probably have never even considered this if I hadn't seen your last post.

If, on the other hand, you are open to bestowing it upon me, I can handle the logistics of getting it relocated with little fuss and NO expense to you. And in very short order. Like right now. I live southwest of Portland, Oregon. Relocation would involve a rental vehicle and a good many hours driving, but, in my estimation, would be WELL worth my time and effort should your kindness and generosity permit it.

So, Rob, I'll end by saying thank you for bearing with my rambling, for possibly considering me to be a worthy inheritor and caretaker of Miss Rose and, of course, THANK YOU for the years of enjoyment and sharing. I certainly hope you continue on haunting in some form and as a valued and respected member of our community. I hope to hear from you soon.

Yours in the Spirit of Haunting,

Guy
aka Dr Killinger
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The Response and The Journey:


The following evening, I heard back from Rob.

He was very gracious and appreciative of my interest and enthusiasm in acquiring the haunt. He mentioned that he very much liked the idea of Miss Rose spawning a brand new haunt, and was lamenting it possibly being folded into another larger haunt. He even had a local haunter act like he was doing Rob the favor of taking it off his hands. The nerve. LOL. Moreover, my timeline seemed to coincide perfectly with his, as the haunt was still up. Perfect. Things were looking good. Anyway, Rob asked to sleep on it and he would let me know of his decision Thursday morning. I made my plans, just in case, and waited for the good word to hopefully come.

Friday morning, that good word came.

Rob said that, with a few minor stipulations, he would be very happy for my family to have the entire Miss Rose haunt.

Insert even MORE excited expletives here. A lot more.

I was beyond grateful, appreciative and excited. To me, it was like Da Vinci saying, "Sure, you-a can-a have-a dat-a painting of-a da girl." Well, close enough to that anyway. LOL. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get down there.

We got the truck and trailer Friday morning, packed up and left late Friday night. We live about 20 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. We drove all night and arrived in San Francisco, California about 12 hours later. We stayed at my mother-in-law's house Saturday night and my son and I left early-ish Sunday morning and drove south about 3½ hours to just north of San Luis Obispo.

We arrived there about noon-ish and I finally saw, in person, what I had only seen in pictures. One of my very favorite yard haunts in all it's glory. And I was very pleasantly surprised to see that it looked as good during the day as it did at night. AWESOME! Beyond awesome. And, of course, I saw the dreaded streetlight. LOL. We have at least that in common.

Then I saw how much there actually was to the haunt. Uh oh. (Roy Scheider - "We're gonna need a bigger boat"). I needn't have worried though. It all ended up fitting just fine.

It was really great meeting Rob and his wife, the lovely 'Miss Rose' herself. I brought them a bottle of wine from an Oregon vineyard that was described as being "complicated by rose" and a jug of "Dead Guy" ale. Appropos on both counts, I thought. They were very gracious and thankful. As was I. I'm sure my lingering thanks and endless praise are still caking the walls of their house.

He kindly showed us his workspace and the shed/barn/party place where he'll be doing his Halloween gathering and decorating. A pretty nice layout I have to say. And I wish I had that much room outside to haunt.

A quick sidenote, they have an awesome house for haunting. It's a Historical Preservation Society 1912 Colony House with lots of exterior moulding and shutters. That house was built to haunt. As Rob himself said, "It came pre-haunted". Hahaha.

Now she's going to a 1980 Crackerjack Box. Heh.

We hung around for awhile shooting the breeze. Rob revealed a few of his secrets and insights and just generally talked haunting and Rose's history with them. It was really cool. He's a really nice guy with lots of talent and creative energy. For my part, I could hang out with the guy all the time. He's got a friend for life in Oregon, that's for sure.

Finally, we set about tearing it all down and stuffing 10 pounds of haunt into an 8 pound bag. With Rob's experience at packing it all away, we made fairly short order of it. Though, next time, I must remember to bring enough damn rope. Hahaha. As we were loading, he had a few friends and neighbors drive by, noticing the truck and U-Haul and asking what was going on. Suffice to say, for opposing reasons, the both of us are going to have some pretty shocked neighbors next Halloween. I felt a little bad for them, depriving them of a local icon. But only a little. Heh.

Alas, the time came for us to depart. After a few photos and lingering on my part we said our goodbyes and headed back to San Francisco with Miss Rose in tow. We stayed in SF that night and left early Monday morning for Oregon. We arrived back home late Monday night where my son and I unloaded all that haunted goodness from the truck and U-Haul.

Not five minutes after I closed the garage door, it started raining.

Perfect timing.

The fates, it seems, were on our side.

Come the next morning, my younger kids finally got to see what Daddy brung home. Talk about bug-eyed surprise. It was really neat to see. They were almost as excited as I am.

Almost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Epilogue:


I know that this story has been a little long-winded. And I'm not much of a writer.

But, to me anyway, it's such a unique occurrence and experience that I felt compelled to share it as close to how it happened as possible. To appreciate something from afar that took countless hours to create and then have it become mine through sheer generosity and willingness to share is something that I will never forget. It is a rare thing and should be spoken of and appreciated. And it is.

I also believe that this story is a shining example of the goals of the Haunt Forum founder(s) and the haunt community as a whole as well. The willingness, even desire, to share ideas and knowledge and celebrate our love of Halloween and the creativite spirit. To be with others of like minds and find joy in their triumphs and commiserate in their less-than-successful undertakings.

Prior to a year ago I never belonged to a forum of any kind. Being relatively new to the forum, and haunting in general, I never really had much to say or share outside of a few silly posts in the Fun and Games section or commenting on other peoples work.

This experience, at the very least, changed that.

I have something to share now.

So there you have it, friends. The story of the passing of SkullAndBone's Miss Rose Haunt Torch. I am ecstatic about all that glorious haunted wonder now filling my garage. And about Rose's future with us. Beyond ecstatic.

Rob said a couple things to me when I was there that have both stuck with and inspired me since I got back...

He said: "It's easy to say 'No'."

Truer words were never spoken. Had I said no, it's too much trouble, I'd still be doing my less-than-great window display and haunting vicariously through others. Been there. Done that.

He also said: "I've given you the shoes. Now you have to tie them."

Mighty big shoes, brother, to be sure.


Well...


I.

Can't.

Wait.


And, as always, my profound and undying gratitude to Rob at SkullAndBone for this beyond amazing privilege and gift. I look forward to keeping in touch with him. As for the haunt itself... Rose may change. She already has changed. But...

She will go on. Hopefully, for many years to come.

I'll end by saying thank you for bearing with me, readers. I look forward to speaking with some of you in the future.

Your new humble haunter,
Guy
aka Dr Killinger
 

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A great tale indeed Dr.K. It sounds like the process and experience will be cherished as much as the haunt itself. Skull and Bones' affection for the meaning of his haunt are clear in his act of giving it to someone who cares enough to travel as far as you did to get it, and who will obviously treat it with the same love and respect that he put into creating it.

A great story and I enjoyed your telling of it. I look forward to seeing your vision of Miss Rose.
 

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A heartwarming tale, to be sure. Passing the torch of such a well-loved haunt is no easy task. Rob's generosity clearly knows no bounds, and I'm certain that the Rose haunt will be happy in it's new home. I too look forward to your interpretation of Miss Rose. Hats off to both of you for carrying on a great tradition.
 

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Guy,
Sounds as though the Miss Rose haunt could not have gone to a better caretaker. Glad it worked out so well for all parties, particularly, and unbeknownst to them, the many new fans of the haunt that will be introduced to it this coming October.:)
We'll all look forward to seeing your pics of the haunt!
 

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Thanks for sharing this, I've always said the haunters are the most generous & kind people! I've had a similiar experience with a haunter and like you made a pretty long Journey to aquire his creation.
 

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Beautifully said, Dr K. Your joy in having this haunt is so evident and touching that I feel sure it's gone to the very best home it could have. I'm truly happy for you and your family, and moved by Rob's generosity.
 

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Dr. Killinger, that was one of the most moving pieces I've read on a forum... Miss Rose is definitely in the very best of hands now, and you'll surely make Rob and his family proud with your continuing his legacy. Congratulations!
 

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Congratulations for being able to take the torch and I look forward to your spin on the classic Miss Rose..

This community is like a giant twisted family.. I love it
 

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Congratulations to you and Miss Rose. Can't wait to see your pics for 2009 Haunting of Miss Rose.

Goes to show what a class-act Rob is. We are lucky to have him in the community.
I can't tell you how many times I referred people to his tutorials.
 

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Rob has always been generous and gracious every time I've ever encountered him in the forums, a class act to be sure! And Dr. Killinger, after reading your letter, I can't think of a single place Rob's haunt would be better served. I'm personally glad to see this great haunt passed on to someone of your caliber. Congratulations and long live Miss Rose!
 

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I am jealous. If it would have worked, I would have told him that I was half dead and my only wish was to get all his props. LOL. It could happen(Quote from Judy Tenuta)
 

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The tale of Miss Rose's passing as it were (from Rob to you) is almost as compelling as Miss Rose's haunting tale of love has been. Certainly as beautifully written a story in many ways. I hope the years will be good to her in Oregon and the kids will welcome her tale into their hearts.

I wish I had known she was still up until recently and would have made the drive down to see her before she left California. We drove by only a month before she was set up for 2008. I love that part of California. Any ideas yet on how you will bring Miss Rose to life? Curious if Mrs. Killinger will be making an appearance in the graveyard? Look forward to seeing your photos in 2009 and a recounting of Miss Rose rising from her temporary grave...after all nothing can keep a good woman down!

Thanks to Rob for letting her live.
 

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What a great story indeed!! I'm sure that the Miss Rose haunt will continue to make many haunters happy and many tots happily scared for years to come....congrats Guy, I hope you have strong shoulders..
 

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What a wonderful story! I'm so glad that things worked out for both parties involved. This just proves what a fantastic community we have here. Long live Miss Rose's haunt!!
 

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Congratulations DK
you deserve it.
Seems fitting to be in the city of roses.
Will be fun to see how you do up your new haunt.
That was very generous of him do him proud!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Greetings all!

Just wanted to say Thank You to everyone for all the kind words and encouragement. The response to the story has been wonderful and I couldn't be more excited about Rose's future with us. I'm certainly going to do my best to do Rob and my fellow haunters proud.

I'll be posting updates here and there as things progress. But, if I'm unheard of for days and/or weeks... I'm planning. <eg>

Thank you all again.

Your humble haunter,
Guy
 
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