If you ever wondered why Lake Winnepesaukah used to never stay open deep into fall, the story has now come to light. It took 85 seasons for the secret to be revealed. Deep down in the cool waters of the lake, “Wet Winnie” has risen to entertain guests during autumn. Winifred was an only child who lived in fear of her father, Cletus, and his overly protective spirit. He lived in fear that some handsome young man would capture the heart of his daughter and take her away from their home close to the quiet lake.
The Ghoul Market inside the entrance contains a petting zoo, where only the skeletal remains are left for your amusement. A giant spider web forms an iridescent false ceiling, and a store sells all kinds of seasonal light-up goodies. Beware of the parts shop, lest you donate and appendage. Be sure you stay for the end of the show! The Mild Reaper greets one and all, and Jessica is really enjoying her fourth year at the park but the first during Halloween.
The normal associates of Lake Winnie have bought into the new fall celebration with boundless enthusiasm. One ride operator we met told us he spent $50 of his own money just for a great costume; pretty impressive for a part time weekend job that stopped at the end of the month. Costumes for specific characters are chosen by the park but the rest is somewhat random. The ride operator at the Buzzing Bees fit right in with her charges, and the smiles of the children were her reward. The park provides a face painter, and many were gathered around doing their own makeup. Hard to imagine
And then we met Jeff. Jeff is kind of an evil genius; unless you like being terrified, and then you can replace the evil part with awesome. He has developed the Legend of Wet Winnie storyline, handmade an electric chair with the remains of an old crate, some PCV pipe, a strobe light, the obligatory skeleton, and a couple of salad bowls. It was too good to hide in his haunted “Castle,” so he left it outside for even the casual passerby to enjoy. He brought is his collection of scary movie characters and added things like skeletons dumping barrels on the riders and many other surprises. Talking with him we learned that the better skeleton props are the rejects that were made for classrooms, but failed the quality checks and were sold as scenery props. Who knew?
When Cletus caught Winifred with Eddie, an innocent young man lost in the woods, he chased him down and chopped him up with a chainsaw. Unfortunately Winnie witnessed this horrible act, and she desperately ran away from her father. She sought refuge in the old boathouse on Lake Winnepesaukah. As she lay down in the boat, she woke up the nest of snakes that promptly squirmed all over her and bit her again and again. Desperate to escape their fangs, she fell into the water and sunk to the bottom of the lake, carrying the snakes with her.
Every hour, the Thriller parade performs down the midway. The characters regroup from throughout the park for a fantastic parade with lots of candy. Suitable for the entire family, after the parade the participants will pose with anybody who wants a photo memory of their visit. Don’t have a camera; the “Paranormal Paparazzi” will have your picture for you at the front gate as you leave.
When you ride the chairlift, some more pieces of the legend are revealed. As you cross the lake, Winnie appears by the shore, screaming for help and disappearing back into the cabin by the Boat Chute. As you ride through the Boat Chute, every noise seems be a venomous reptile. Exactly what are the things that rustle in the dark and sometimes even brush against your cheek? Every shadow seems a twisting curve until loud noises make everyone jump. Your heart beats louder and louder, until it seems like the only thing you can hear. As you feel like you can’t take it any longer, you emerge to climb the lift and splash down into the lake. Mercifully, as you came back into the station the lights reveal that there are no snakes left in your boat, but when did they leave? The only way to solve this mystery is to try it again, if you dare. Will you be as lucky the next time?
Wet Winnie now only returns in the fall, when she can be seen running through the fallen leaves between the trees. Whether she is looking for Eddie or running from her father no one knows. Sometimes a chainsaw can be heard in the woods, and the locals think it is Cletus still searching for Eddie, who is sometimes seen running around the lake. If you take the haunted train ride you might see Winnie floating close to shore or Eddie fruitlessly running for his life. As you get closer she seems to rise from the water, trying to help Eddie escape from her father. Great for everyone, it still is best after dark, when things come out of the shadows of the trees.
If you choose to take spin on the Cannonball, Lake Winnie’s classic John Allen designed PTC coaster you see some more history. The remnants of the Mad Mouse, extinct for many years from the gentle waters, have reappeared as you roll out of the station. A surprise awaits as you careen down the drops towards the turnaround, but we won’t reveal it here. You have to experience it for yourself, and it’s best after dark.
But much more common than ghosts are the snakes that took Wet Winnie’s life. She is determined that they too shall have no peace until she does, and they overrun the park in the dark. When you wander the park after sunset, every time you hear a rustling in the leaves, you question was it the wind, or a distraught reptile slithering along the ground.