Do you ever have dreams where you find secret doors? Hidden rooms? I often have such dreams. On many occasions, I am at my house, or my elementary school, or another familiar place when I come across a previously concealed opening. I crawl inside and navigate among a network of fleshy tunnels, sliding between walls, climbing up cold metal vents, and going down dark shafts to places strange and unknown. Several times, these paths lead me to obscure worlds… alien locations super-imposed on familiar locales. I’d like to think that these dreams are metaphors for exploring your own “personal” psychic space. There is a scene in the movie Dreamcatcher (based off the Stephen King novel) where the protagonist explores a metaphoric warehouse of his own memories while an alien creature inhabits his body. While I do not advocate watching such a terrible, terrible film, the image is clearly useful and pertinent to the conversation.
One such dream lingers on my mind. In this dream my parents purchased my favorite Haunted House in Ocean City, Maryland and wanted to run it as a family business. To those unfamiliar with the Haunted House at the end of the Boardwalk, let my explain that, basically, it is a seated two-person ride where frightening automated tricks are triggered as the cart travels down a winding track through a serious of horrifying scenes. The labyrinthine layout of the ride confuses the passengers’ understanding of space and time while the psychedelic optical effects of the black-lights loosen their subconscious minds, successfully allowing the ghosts of the ride unmitigated access to the personal fears of the travelers, or at least, that’s how I’ve always felt.
In the dream, I returned home to Maryland to help them renovate their new business. I was walking through the ride and I noticed a door that I have never seen.
It was down the crooked psychedelic hallway with its chipping black-light paint…
Past the terrifying old mill with its rusty saw blades…
Past the torture chamber with its racist primitive and its tied up maiden with giant animatronic heaving bosoms…
And directly after the horrific decomposing Victorian skeleton knitting a neon tea-cozy by moonlight.
There against a blank wall was a small, mysterious door shrouded by darkness. I got on all fours and crawled through what seemed an endless maze of cobwebs-and-sand-encrusted tunnels. Finally, after a long while, I reached a drafty, open chamber made of stone and marble. The silvery moon must have been bright that magical night, because before me I saw illuminated some sort of ancient subterranean burial tomb. It was then that I realized, “Holy shit. This Haunted House is really just the top of a buried Egyptian pyramid! Sweet.” It was like the tip of an iceberg peering out of the water, only it was buried deep and forgotten in that cigarette-butt and broken beer bottle infested coastline that hugs the waters of the Atlantic. I knew right then and there that I had found a great psychic doorway to the Underworld. The ghosts that ran the haunted house were the lingering spirits of powerful beings. At last, there would be proof that a proto-human species inherited these colossal geometric structures from their divine celestial fore-bearers (at least, these were my thought at the time). And the best part… it was all mine to explore. I don’t think I have ever been happier in a dream. Then I woke up. The dream was over.
Last night, I went looking for the actual blueprints of the fun-house (which I found) and luckily, I was charmed enough to come across The Bill Tracy Project, “a comprehensive look into the personal and professional life of the greatest designer and builder of dark attractions the amusement park industry has ever seen: Bill Tracy.” He designed and built the Haunted House in Ocean City along with many others across the good ol’ U.S. of A. He also designed many of the early Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats (how timely) and some display cases for Macy’s. The list of his achievements is daunting (46 Dark Rides, 15 Walk-Thrus, 8 Water Rides, 6 Ride Displays, 1 Park Front, 1 Concept Ride, 1 Park Design/Layout, plus 2 Unknown Projects), and his carefully researched biography… fascinating. This excerpt in particular seemed portentous:
Tracy’s creativity flourished and he became nationally known for his ceramics after being featured in the November 11, 1940 issue of Life, where a photo of Tracy’s ceramic creation, “Jonah in the Whale,” was published in an article covering the Syracuse Ceramic Show at The Museum of Fine Arts in Syracuse, New York, where his piece was on display. His unique sculpture featured a whale with a portion of its side removed to reveal a person trapped inside.
For a full-page synchronicity, see Dream #1.
How did the young Bill Tracy gain access to the dreams of a of an individual 69 years in the future? Why were the dead and hidden secrets of Ocean City’s occult origins revealed to humanity? Will Nathan actually destroy the foundation of his favorite childhood thrill-ride to satisfy the ephemeral desires of a dream? And just how much will the tickets cost to this new and wonderful attraction? The answers to all these questions (and cooking tips for the holiday season!) in the next penumbra report.