Haunted Castle at SFGADv homemade documentary.

Call me crazy, but I ended up watching this whole documentary on the fire of Haunted Castle at SFGAdv on YouTube.

While at times boring and dragged out, it did talk about and describe some interesting points about supposed cover-ups, etc.

It says it's 6 parts but it actually is 5. Check it out when you have some free time and form your own conclusion to this sad but mysterious event.

Part I starts here. *** Edited 11/14/2006 1:34:15 PM UTC by Chitown***

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

I heard about a documentary about the incident a while back but nothing ever seemed to come of it. Thanks for the link, I"m very curious to check it out. Here in NJ, that tragedy has always been something of a mystery surrounded by heresay and crazy rumors.
I've bought it and watched it twice. Its low budget but very informative.


Lord Gonchar's avatar
You know, I'm digging the info/story, but the voice-over is killing me. What's with the 'creepy' inflection in the reading?

A little overdramatic in a cheesball way for my tastes, but I'm on part 2 as I type this and I'll probably sit through all 5 parts.

Yeah, I could do without that- it makes it clear that this is a homegrown, low-budget deal. Still, it gets the point across, which is nice after 20 years of being in the dark (no pun intended).
Lord Gonchar's avatar
OK, now that I've seen it...it made an interesting story, but was much too accusatory.

And comparing kids encountering the fire started by some delinquent in an amusement park attraction to the people fleeing the falling WTC towers in NYC on 9/11 - yeesh!

Something more neutral would have been more to my liking.

Nice find, Chitown! :)


-SFGAdv is a principality of evil...hysterical.

-The use of the term "death trailers" is especially nice.

-The '8 skeletons for fright fest' thing only pales in comparison to all the Beatles 'Paul Is Dead' stuff.

Neat story - horrible execution in telling it.

I wholeheartedly agree. Way too much personal opinion in there to call it a documentary, but entertaining stuff nonetheless.
I'm only on part 3 and I dont really see where it is too accusatory, I never knew the story and this is more terrible then I origionally thought, the "Haunted Castle" was built terribly cheap out of the worst materials and barred gates preventing exits, perhaps I haven't gotten to the "overly accusatory" parts yet.

I agree theres a decent ammount of opinion, but its well made and he seems to know alot abot what happened, he was there. If everything or even most of what they say about it's structure, how much it took to get fire fighters on the scene, or how Six Flags reacted with the parents and so on is true, thats downright horrific and disturbing. *** Edited 11/14/2006 11:00:57 PM UTC by P18***

Very interesting documentary. I worked at Great Adventure in 2005 at the rides rumored to be "cursed" - Chiller and the Autobahn.

I had always heard many of the rumors associated with this occurance and I always wanted to learn more about it. The disregard for safety is sickening, but not entirely suprising. Some may disagree, which they are entitled to do so, but the mindset of that park to this day is money over safety....

Considering therere were numerous other inccidents with fire not long beforehand, It's a wonder it was ever allowed to operate.

Rememebering as a kid in about '76 there was a disaster movie with charlton heston called Towering inferno, (Cheap building materials, lack of sprinkler system ect)

A couple years later northen KY had several hundred die in a fire with the same causes plus locked or chained exits. This was a few years prior to the GRADV inccident.

Sometimes lifes lessons have to be re-learned the hard way!

While it made mention to a kid with previous fire tendancies and claims of locked doors, I didn't see it as accusitory but more of a WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED and WHY? Blocked fire exits, Unmanned areas and such, Not to mention the polyetheline and plywood basically used to build the whole thing.

Interesting and definately worth watching IMHO

Chuck, who thinks someone needs to put together a tower johnny and Black sunday documentary and even a BAT documentery to quell the rumors on KIs past.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Charles Nungester said:
I didn't see it as accusitory but more of a WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED and WHY?

According to the dude who did the documentary. That's key. It's clear he's chosen a side and how he wanted to present the story.

None of his accusations made any of the official reports. Although he does pretty much say that, but spins it into conspiracy territory.

Conspiracy or not, Exits were few and blocked and the place was not up to just about anybodys code.

There lies the blame.

Chuck, taking a side himself and it's the right one.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
I take the side that says some douchebag troubled teen started the place on fire and killed 8 people.

Which, ironically enough, is exactly what happened as well.

agreed, just never should have happened.

From a fire fighters mouth, "Ive never seen a building with a sprinkler system suffer any structural damage.


I remember going through the Haunted Castle in 1982 and I remember when the fire occurred. I watched the first 5 videos but didn't see the link to the last part. Anyone have a link for it?

Any accidental death that could have been avoided is always a shame. Although I have always been told to never re-enter a burning building, kudos to the employee that went back in to pull out Susan.

Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.
Charles Nungester, I have to say that I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and I can tell you that I have seen buildings with a sprinkler system suffer structural damage, just to a lesser extent. But a truer statment that can be made is that I have never encountered a fire in a building with a properly working sprinkler system that has resulted in the loss of life.

As the video says, there were many changes made to fire codes covering amusement and carnival attractions as a result of this disaster. In firefighter training classes and code enforcement certifications this incident still is referenced today.

If you want to read a very good acount of this incident and mistakes made, lessons learned, etc, try to dig up a (I think) July 1984 issue of Firehouse Magazine.

Serenity now......Insanity later!

I've being the key word.

Of course we've all seen one now, The WTC but the water mains were severed in the impact.


There definitely is a Geraldo Rivera-like feel to the commentary. I knew there were trailers that caught on fire, but I wasn't aware that was ever a fake front to the attraction.

In the "You think things are rough now" category, the part about patrons attacking the actors just blows my mind. It kind of confirms my feelings about the park back in the early 90's. Me and my friend went up there and I know I felt scared.

Are things more subdued now, or am I just used to it?

There are some things I definitely didn't agree with the guy about:

a) Establishing some kind of memorial site--I hate to say it, but that would be a huge downer for anyone visiting the park--especially for those people who have no prior knowledge of the event.

No park wants to have a public reminder either of possible negligance on their part especially since the park has changed ownership several times since

b) The structure across from Chiller resembling the Castle. I think this is a case of seeing what you want to see.

c) The skeletons at FrightFest, the barrel roll at Brutal Planet etc. Again, it's a case of thinking too hard about something that happened twenty-years ago.

Where I will agree is about the Castle Escape Ham N' Rye. Since I never done it, I'll have to take the guys word on it (people escaping a burning castle), but it could possibly be in very bad taste for anyone who does remember the event.

BTW, did anyone notice the amount of closed rides on the board in the one portion? Yikes.

Was the Haunted Castle like the Haunted House that was at SFStL back in the late 70's early 80's?

I barely remeber the ride (parents didn't allow me to go through it), but I thought it too was made from portable trailers.

Let the good times roll - Zingo
I'm not positive on this fairly certain that all the Six Flags parks had a season long, walk through haunted house attraction in the late 70s early 80s and all were shut down.

SFOMA had the one mentioned above. SFOG had one where the Spanish Fort in bugs bunny world is now. SFOT had something like a haunted Cave attraction also if I remember correctly. Not sure on SFMM. Of course all were closed after this Great Adventure incident.

I took a Commercial Recreation course about 15 years ago in college and the Haunted Castle incident was explained in detail in our text book. Used as kinda of the "what not to do" lession for the risk management part of the class.

I also remember the fact tha the park remained open while remains were being sifted through and body bags were being taken out, as well as family memebers being charged admission to view remains of victims as some of the infamous post-tragedy management blunders. *** Edited 11/16/2006 6:35:03 AM UTC by Cropsey***

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2023, POP World Media, LLC