The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 16, 2009

Ghouls with a cause: Haunted house raises funds for Batavia Days Committee

BATAVIA — Brodie Mairet was minding his own business, leaning over the ticket taker’s table when a devil came up behind him.

The devil said nothing. It just leaned over and waited. Brodie lost interest in staring at the street beyond the table, as children will when there’s nothing happening. He stood and started turning around. The devil took a half step back and straightened as well.

Brodie caught the movement out of the corner of his eye. Just enough for him to whip his head around. He looked up, did a double-take and very nearly jumped out of his skin.

OK, it wasn’t really a devil. Just Andy Pearson dressed like one. But the horns brought his apparent height to nearly seven feet and he was imposing.

And Brodie really did jump.

The Batavia Haunted House is a new fundraiser for the Batavia Days Committee. No one is really sure how it will work out. Terry Irwin said the committee is fairly recent as well, a group of people trying to draw interest back to Batavia and give the town a boost since the bypass pulled most of the traffic away.

Volunteers built the haunted house in the appropriately deserted old post office building. They found a good rental deal from a real estate agent. Nothing fancy, just two-by-four frames since they couldn’t put any holes in the walls. But it was enough for a commitment through the first week of November.

They started building. They drafted “kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews,” said Tycene Weber.

“Anybody we could pull off the street,” Irwin agreed.

Stefany Rachford was one of the volunteer-slash-draftees who spent part of Friday evening getting her makeup put on. This wasn’t your standard Friday night, going-out-on-a-date makeup. It was blood and pale highlighted by dark circles around her eyes. Turns out it takes some work to make a person look dead.

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