Wilson’s Haunted Barn and Woods opens this weekend
by Tilly Dillehay Editor
Wilson’s Haunted Woods and Barn is getting ready to dish up another round of free fright this weekend, for the 14th year in a row. Owned and operated by Chad Wilson, the woods and barn are located at 426 Drury Ridge Road, past the Fairgrounds (it’s the 4th house on the right on Drury Ridge).
The dates and times this year are as follows: Friday, Oct. 15, 9-12 PM; Saturday Oct. 16, 7-12 PM; Sunday, Oct 26, 7-10 PM; and Thursday, Oct. 31, 7-10 PM.
It’s high quality: Wilson and his dozens of volunteers put their all into constantly improving the event, adding scenes and making path changes from year to year, keeping people guessing. He’s been told by some that it’s the best haunted experience they’ve ever had, better even than going to Nashville or Hendersonville.
And yes, it’s free.
“The year I have to start charging is the year I shut this down,” said Wilson. He accepts donations, though, and all of the donation money from the first three nights goes to buy more supplies for the following year. All donation money on the final night goes to a charity—this year it will buy Christmas toys for local kids.
“We put that money back towards getting as much new stuff as we can,” said Wilson, “but we’re always out of pocket a little bit. But we try to re-use materials to make everything go as far as possible. This is the only way we can keep it free for people. “
A lot of the props used are either made by volunteers or are throwaway items that people are getting rid of. “Like this creepy chair,” says Wilson, indicating a dilapidated Victorian style table chair. “It isn’t really good for anything, but I can take it, put it in some corner in the barn, and keep it. We may not use it this year, we may not use it next year, but at some point, it can play a role in a new scene.”
Wilson and his gang also offer a ‘G-rated’ version of the woods for any groups that ask for it. In the G-rated tour, actors don’t jump out at anyone. Instead, they may take off their masks and show children that underneath it all, it’s just fun and games. This family friendly spirit is another thing that makes the woods such a favorite.
Maybe it’s because Wilson is a family man himself. Wilson’s 11-year-old autistic son, Brennan, is the unofficial mascot of the place. “He loves it so much,” said Wilson. “If I ever tried to stop, he’d be the saddest one.”
But Wilson is also quick to say that for the average teen or adult visitor, the place is serious about scares. He can remember occasions when visitors quite literally wet themselves.
The path has been changed once again this year, as have various scenes. Not to give too much away, expect something involving laser lights and a muddy footpath, and don’t get too attached to last year’s “rain” scene.
Volunteers are still needed for actors and more, so if interested, please go to the Wilsons Haunted Barn Facebook site or text/call 615-784-9633 and let Chad know. Volunteers under 16 will be taken only on a case-by-case basis.
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