Everyone in the Greenbrier Valley – and well beyond, for that matter – has heard of Miller’s Nightmare Haunted Farm. And those who have been brave enough to face the ghouls and goblins know that Miller’s annual Halloween haunt is one of the best that West Virginia has to offer. But, how many of those brave souls have ever stopped and wondered what it’s like for the ghouls and goblins who inhabit the attraction
Well, I did.
I would like to say that it started on a warm September Sunday, but that’s not entirely accurate. If I’m being honest, I’d have to admit that it started on an even warmer Saturday in April – right around the halfway point between Halloweens. I visited Miller’s Farm while working on a story for a different publication, and I was treated to an all-access look behind the scenes of the sprawling attraction. Trap doors, animatronics, multi-chamber hiding places, and the make up room – I was like a kid in a candy store.
But the pièce de résistance was a ramshackle-hut that seemingly grew out of a dusty hole in the ground. This was Miller’s newest addition to the haunt, and would, of course come to be known as the “Hag’s Hut,” nestled deep within the fog of the “Bog.” Berkley Miller, the twisted genius behind the attraction, explained his vision for what the hut would become the spooky season. He said there would be a pond… almost swamp-like, and fog would billow across the water. Guests would enter and exit the hut via a bridge on either side, and come face-to-face with the witch who dwells within. I saw the potential. And my excitement – like a rotting pumpkin – festered.
So now we can fast forward to a warm September Sunday. It was the day for the ghouls and goblins – new and veteran alike – to descend once more upon Miller’s Haunted Farm in preparation of the upcoming haunt. Berkley and his team -who can only be described as elite horror technicians – provided a crash course in all things fun and scary. There was a complete tour of the haunt – From Miller’s Manor and the Blood Shed, through the Haunted Cornfield and Demented Forest… all leading to the Hag’s Hut, nestled deep within the fog of the Bog. But more than that, there was an in-depth explanation of what these dedicated actors (the aforementioned “ghouls and goblins”) should expect. People visit the attraction to have fun and be scared in a safe environment – and they trade their hard-earned money for the opportunity to do those things. The Miller family takes this responsibility very seriously, and so does every actor.
The attraction opened to the public on Friday, Oct. 7, and I made my “acting” debut one week later. Those of you who were in attendance that evening may remember me as the swamp-monster guy in the yellow raincoat, wandering around the fog of the Bog. And to answer a question I was asked no less than 347 times that night: yes, I was wearing hip waders, and yes, the water was cold.
But that being said, I didn’t care how cold the water was. I would have gladly stayed in that bog all night. I had a blast scaring you. And If I didn’t scare you, I hope you at least had a blast laughing at the guy in the water. But I also had a blast spending time with the most amazingly-talented group of entertainers you’ll find anywhere. The make-up artists are on the level with what you see in the movies, and the actors can make the skin crawl right off your body.
If you’ve been to Miller Nightmare Haunted Farm, then I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. If you’ve never been, there are still two days left this year for you to check it out. But the next time you feel brave enough to make your way through the haunt, think about the ghouls and goblins who inhabit it.
They are most certainly thinking about you, and they want you to have a scary good time.
There are only two days left this season to experience Miller’s Nightmare Haunted Farm, this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and Oct. 29, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Visit www.millersnightmare.com for more information and to purchase tickets.