ON YOUR SIDE UPDATE: Haunted attractions concerned over lost business after confusion with criticized Christian County haunt
Nine people who spoke with KY3 this weekend still don't have their refunds from what they called a Halloween scam. KY3 first broke the story about issues with the Forest of Terror in Nixa last weekend. Now, those issues are going beyond customers.
The Forest of Terror is advertised as the most terrifying experience in the Ozarks, but customers described it as a total let down. Other attractions such as the Haunted Forest in Pleasant Hope and Field of Screams 417 in Nixa are feeling let down, too. They said the issues at the Forest of Terror are scaring away their customers.
Stephen Greninger and Derick Moore said they've put months of work into their haunted attraction, Field of Screams 417, but now feel that work is being tainted by negative comments they're getting on Facebook.
"We're called scam artists, [that] we rip people off, that what we've put hours and hours and months of work into is fake, we've been told that, that we're fake," Greninger said.
Some people are assuming Field of Screams is the same as the Forest of Terror.
"Both attractions being in Christian County, both in Nixa; we can assure you that's the only thing we share in common with the Forest of Terror," Greninger said.
The Haunted Forest in Pleasant Hope is also being confused with the Forest of Terror. Johney Walker works for the Haunted Forest.
"It's really aggravating, you know. You see how it happens real easy, because of names that seem similar," Walker said.
Walker said his attraction posted to its Facebook page to stress there is a difference, but some people don't believe them.
"For people to not look into it a little bit different and take our word for it, is disheartening really," Walker said.
According to Walker, the Haunted Forest has been all about giving folks a good time while raising money for good causes over the last eight years. He said he's worried business might be slow this season because of the mix-up, which could cut into the donations it makes to local charities.
This is Field of Screams' first year in operation. Its owners are also worried about profits and about the public perception of haunted attractions.
"To be lumped in with someone, with another business that didn't do things the right way is incredibly frustrating for us," Steninger said.
The Haunted Forest has its grand opening on September 27. The Field of Screams will reopen the same day.
According to its website, the Forest of Terror was closed this weekend. The man who runs it, Nathan Powers, pleaded not guilty to a charge for damaging nearby property in order to set up that attraction. He is still in jail.
His wife, Mary Powers, told KY3 News via email some people have already gotten their money back, but none of the nine customers KY3 talked to have heard from her. According to the website, the Forest of Terror is set to reopen next weekend.
It still has no permit.
for KY3's first report on the Forest of Terror.