aimee suzanee kruse-ross | green bay fear | oct. 2017
Green Bay's 'It': Mr Jingles is alive at Green Bay Fear
It's that time of year when zombies appear to wander aimlessly on stiff legs looking for the perfect soul food. And while people are flocking to theaters for a glimpse of that red-haired clown, Green Bay has its very own clown. Here one minute and gone the next, many have claimed to see Mr. Jingles, a white-faced creep with a garishly red joker's smile. He's been spotted walking the neighborhood streets with a full bouquet of balloons that twist and tangle in the wind.
When asked why he carries such balloons, his response was simple.
“Let's be blunt, shall we? You'll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Despite my personal preference for the chainsaw as an accessory, I find balloons make me a little more approachable for unsuspecting potential meals."
Jingles wasn't always the demonic entity he is today. Although his origins are largely a mystery, history places him in France in 1735. At that time, he was in love and engaged to be married. However, things took a terrible turn on the eve of his wedding.
“My fiancé's sister was not only insanely jealous but also turned out to be a powerful witch," says Jingles. “On the eve of our wedding she killed my love in a fit of rage with a small granite block and then laid a powerful curse upon me."
This curse left him disfigured and in retaliation, he devoured the soul of that witch. Since then, he survives only on souls, all torn from his unfortunate victims.
After he devoured his first soul, he fled into the maze of catacombs beneath Paris with the implement of his beloved's demise. Still stained with his fiancé's blood, he hid the Blood Stone in the subterranean city. It was there that he developed the nickname Monsieur Jongleur: the Demon Clown of Paris.
In 1862, the cursed clown found that the Blood Stone had been stolen from its hiding place. In anger, Mr. Jingles released unspeakable horrors unto the streets of Paris.
“In retaliation for my actions, the city's inhabitants united and managed to drive me from my home," says Jingles.
In search of the stone that was endeared to him by his love and the curse, Jingles set out on an expedition that began near Hudson Bay and in moving ever south, Jingles found the stone and its thief in 1868.
“It was near Shawano Lake when I'd finally rediscovered my beloved Blood Stone," says Jingles. “The thief was Wisconsin's lumber tycoon Jaden West. Lured by the stone's beauty, West used it as a cornerstone while building his masterpiece mansion, Shawano Manor.
Since then, the manor had fallen into disrepair, and in the year 2000, Shawano Manor was set to be demolished by the state of Wisconsin. Seeing it as an opportunity to house Mr. Jingles and other roaming, demonic orphans of the dark, the current owners of the mansion decided to restore what remained of it. It was relocated to the corner of Taylor and Bond Streets where it stands today.
Shawano Manor was renamed Green Bay Fear and is now home to several icons of darkness: Lucy, Skyler and Jinx. Several new faces have also joined the group including Dredd, KilHer, Hyde, and others. These monsters come alive each October and spend hours in torment filling the night sky with screams and leaf-crunching, foot-dragging pursuits as they wander aimlessly around the haunt's attractions looking for fresh victims.
“This year, we've made many renovations to our attractions," says Green Bay Fear Marketing Coordinator, Liz Van Pay. “Green Bay Fear is a total of four attractions, including Shawano Manor, Mr. Jingles' Funhouse, the Twisted Trail and the Odditorium."
The Odditorium features numerous artifacts that include the Egyptian Mummified Cat as well as the shrunken head of an unfortunate adventurer. The Twisted Trail and the Funhouse attractions have been completely revamped with new scenes that include the origins of “Halloween."
“On a typical off-season, we attempt to change around 30 percent of the attraction as a whole, so there is always something new and exciting to see," says Van Pay.
Due to overwhelming demand, Green Bay Fear is bringing back their “Kidnapped" escape room experience, courtesy of Escape Room Wisconsin – Green Bay. Fear's escape room experiences have been cult favorites; often selling out before the season even begins. After being 'kidnapped,' participants are locked into a room in groups of six (some are friends, some are strangers). These escape rooms often revolve around a theme of horror or the macabre where players must use critical thinking skills along with teamwork to unlock a variety of puzzles.
And not all players escape, either, as the success rate is right around 20 percent.
“This room is not for the faint of heart," says Van Pay. “Participants are literally locked within the room itself and have to solve a wide range of puzzles and find clues to escape ... before their captor returns."
For those that do make their way out, their shivers can be warmed up by the fire pit while listening to live music or taking in a sideshow at the Freakshow Center Stage. In the event that you're not a soul-hungry zombie, human snacks are available from on-site food vendors. And if you need a reminder of the fright you've survived, you may want to procure a souvenir of your twisted evening while visiting the Voodoo Hoodoo gift shop.
With all attractions at Green Bay Fear being both equal parts thrill and haunt, Mr. Jingles was inclined to cite his preferences.
“My personal favorites would include the Twisted Trail, as it's always fun to hunt in the wild; the Manor since my heart and curse are tied to the block used as their cornerstone; and last (but by no means least) the Funhouse. Not only does it have a rather fetching image of me on the facade, it's deliciously exciting to watch souls lose their way within the maze and sometimes, a few don't make it out."
And when the haunting season comes to a close, where do these resident demons go? Well, Mr. Jingles finds himself drawn to the subterranean options available locally, including the storm drains, access tunnels and basements.
“I've even been known to take up residence in the occasional attic, or even a closet," says Jingles through his wide, red grin. “On special occasions, and as the opportunity presents itself, you may even be lucky enough to find me under your bed or in the back of your car. It all depends on how hungry I am.
“As we used to say back home, 'Je ne dis pas, je dis juste' (I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin') …"
Throughout the 2017 Fear season, the gates open at 7 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in October. Nightly admission to the event is $20 for regular admission and $30 for Fastpass admission. Escape room admission is separate. For more information on Green Bay Fear as well as online ticketing, visit greenbayfear.com and follow on Facebook for the latest information. All bands can be found on both Facebook and their own private websites and information on the Apocalyptic Sideshow can be found at t3firetoys.com. Escape rooms can be booked online at escaperoomwisconsin.com.
Live Music Schedule:
Oct. 5: Dana Erlandson
Oct. 6-7: SS Web/20 Watt Tombstone
Oct. 12: Dana Erlandson
Oct. 13-14: The Apocalyptic Sideshow
Oct. 19: Laney
Oct. 20-21: The Apocalyptic Sideshow
Oct. 26: Jachoss 'O Lanterns
Oct. 27: The Ditchrunners
Oct. 28: Pale Grey Sky
--Banner photo courtesy Dave White/DW Studios