Sunday, December 8, 2013

Creepmas at The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock is my favorite tourist trap. 

The first part of the tour, the gate house and the house itself, with the infinity room is phenomenal.

The rest is a bit like one of those antique shops that’s more second hand junk than authentic relics. It has that same musty smell, dim lighting and haphazard order. But I don’t find that detracts from it in the least, there are many treasures to delight and wonders to behold. If you want a detailed catalog of historic artifacts go to a museum. 

In the Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker, people only get to visit the dream sea of Quiddity three times. The first night they sleep out of the womb, the night they lay beside the one they love and the last night of their lives.

Similarly I would suggest the House on the Rock should be visited at least three times, once when you are young before the magic of youth fades, once when you are in love, when the magic in your heart colors everything you experience and once when you are older, when you can tap into the magic of nostalgia, preferably in the company of someone young so you can start the cycle anew. 

And if you are a Creepmas or Christmas enthusiast you should visit it at least once in the off season. We took my in-laws last year because my mother in-law loves everything Christmas and I knew I would find plenty of Creepmas fodder. I should note that even though my mother in-law only celebrates the traditional side of Christmas, she has a good sense of humor about Creepmas and all my other macabre interests for that matter.

One thing to note about visiting during the winter, its cold, even inside. We had our winter coats on the whole time. There were a few warmer areas where it was comfortable coats unzipped, but that's as warm as it got, so dress accordingly.

Second, there is a dining area which during the regular season serves pretty good pizza. To our disappointment there was no pizza, there was chili, hot dogs, fries, and I think maybe cold sandwiches and brats. I ended up having a soft pretzel with cheese, there weren’t a lot of vegetarian options.

I felt this one undressing
my soul with his eyes.
I'm pretty sure he determined
it would taste good with Sriracha.
I also need to comment on the staff. They were an older crowd, and seemed as much a part of the House on the Rock as any exhibit. They appeared to have a genuine affection and a certain amount of pride for the place, they could have just as easily been regaling us with tales of a favorite grandchild. I don’t know if that’s because they staff differently during the off season, or if they are able to give more attention to the smaller number of visitors, maybe there was something in the manner of our group that invited that interaction or maybe it is always like that and I just never noticed.

One man showed us this Easter egg in the carousel room. If you look under the Saint Bernard’s muzzle, you can see Santa’s head. The dogs tongue becomes the top of Santa’s hat and his collar is the top of Santa’s coat. You’ll never see it in the dim lighting, so you have to use your flash or other light source to see it. 

One of the Four

For a written walk through I’d recommend you read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, specifically Chapter 5, starting on page 117, at least in my paperback copy. Also a brief paragraph in Chapter 6 mentioning the organ room, which is closed during the off season, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.


Last words of advice are about the coin operated amusements. I haven’t read American Gods since it first came out in paperback, although I will be reading it again now, but I did read through the passage I noted for this post and Gaiman mentions the three things I feel are most worth my tokens.

The first is getting your fortune told by Esmerelda in the Streets of Yesterday. On these streets is also the apothecary, which is a potion bottle heaven to me. Next is the Mikado room, keep your eyes on the guy in the middle. Last is the mechanical diorama “The Drunkards’ Dream”. Also if you have left over tokens at the end of your tour, they can be traded for credit in the gift shop.

A few more pictures:

I saw one just like this as a child.
I have to admit this guy is cute.
He's like the Buddy Jesus version of Santa.

This one was larger than life.
Imagine that hulking behind you.

Other random non-Creepmas:

Here's a few outside shots during the spring.  During the summer months the pockets of those huge (10-15ft? I'm not good with measurements) dragon planters, which are scattered all over the grounds, are filled with flowers, its very beautiful.

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