(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — It’s time for horror and scare — Halloween lurks in the distance, and the Eeriebyss Factory of Terror team is almost ready to give a good dose of scares.
Eeriebyss Factory of Terror has been at it for nine years, and along with the ride and leading the way were Autumn and Michael Coverdale, a husband-and-wife duo who delight in haunting the general public.
“This is my favorite time of year – my name is autumn, so I’m kind of in the fall. On my days off, I sell pumpkins and mothers. I really like Halloween,” said Autumn Coverdale.
It’s a family affair, with your kids helping to make every room in the haunted house as close to perfection as possible. The Coverdales credit the roughly 75 actors who participate in the haunted factory (Autumn said, “Our actors are the most important thing – without our actors, we don’t do the haunting”).
Eeriebyss Factory of Terror is housed in the former Griswold factory at 1053 W. 12th St. in Erie. The facility was built at the turn of the last century to manufacture Griswold cast iron cookware and closed in 1957. It became an office furniture store in the following decades. It is now home to the Terror Factory.
“Eeriebyss is in a creepy old building, and that really helps. The history is rich and ingrained and literally burned into the floorboards of that building,” said Autumn Coverdale. “It’s naturally creepy, and it’s a great old building to have something like that.”
The haunted house is scheduled to open every weekend in October, starting on Friday, September 30th and continuing through October 30th. It will be open from 7pm to midnight every Friday and Saturday and from 6pm to 10pm every Sunday. But there is still work to be done before opening day.
“We are now at the end of the prep – we have seven days until opening night. There’s less pleasure and definitely more frantic and nervous now,” said Autumn Coverdale. “But I guarantee you that at 7:05 pm on Friday, September 30th, I’ll be having fun because until then there’s no going back. People are there, things are done, and I can hear the screams in the distance.
“I’ll be in my office and I can see them enjoying it. Right now, it’s all edgy – I want to make sure it’s perfect for everyone who comes in.”
This is a difficult task; each night they average between 450 and 750 customers. Sometimes, said Michael Coverdale, there were as many as 1,000 people in line. To ensure that each of these customers has a “perfect” experience, the Coverdales take the time to get feedback from people after they walk through the Terror Factory.
It also means that the two-story haunted house with 42 different rooms covering over half a mile needs to be meticulously planned.
Classic favorites like the Icon Room, featuring Mike Myers and other Halloween horror movie favorites, and the crowd-favorite Clown Room, will be included again. But Eeriebyss Factory of Terror will have new features this year. This includes high quality props purchased and delivered during the off season.
“Hauntings come from all directions. Actors do not touch our clients, but parts of the set touch the clients, and they are lightly sprayed with water. The hauntings come from the left, right, front, back, above and below,” said Michael Coverdale. “People came and said to me, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t had this much fun since I was a kid.’”
The weather can be iffy in October, but in Eeriebyss, everyone can wait in disguise. And the haunted factory walk never leaves the building. It is also wheelchair accessible.
“We want to see everyone in Erie this year,” said Autumn Coverdale.