This is a guest blog by Pamela K. Kinney. I asked if she’d want to write a sort of In Memoriam post after she posted a link to an article about how Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum burnt down. I knew the place meant a lot to Pamela. Not only was the museum featured in one of her books, Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales, a picture of it graced the cover. I hope this helps her, as well as pays tribute to, the museum. R.I.P. Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum.
I’m devastated. A great attraction in Natural Bridge, Virginia burned down earlier this week. That’s Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum.
A part of Natural Bridge, artist Mark Cline, now 51, bought the Victorian house after the warehouse that housed his Enchanted Castle attraction burned on April 9, 2001. That had been more terrible for him, as it had housed his collection of childhood art, along with about $30, 000 of work he was creating at the time.
He said that fire was suspicious, just as he believes this one is too. But he said that people should not feel sorry for him. “No lives were lost,” he said. Firefighters at the scene Monday say the fire likely started in a stage structure in front of the main house, but as Mark said, all of the electrical power had been turned off at the museum while closed for the season ahead of its Memorial Day opening.
I’ve been to this attraction, when my husband, Bill and I traveled there in August 28, 2008 to visit the Natural Bridge (it has a Native American legend about its forming), Natural Bridge Caverns (deepest caverns in Virginia, it also has a screaming woman legend attached to it) and Natural Bridge Hotel (it is haunted—we stayed there overnight) for my second nonfiction ghost book, Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales.
Mark Cline wasn’t there the day we went to the Haunted Monster Museum, but those who were there let us do the haunted house attraction and afterwards we walked the trail through the Dinosaur Kingdom in the woods that surrounded the house, both for free. I admit I felt uncomfortable at the time when we did the house.
Later, in an interview back at the hotel, Amy Kasdan, who worked at the Fox Lounge in the Natural Bridge Hotel, said her husband and she had been inside the place before Mark bought it and it had given her the “willies.” She made him leave.
A waitress at the Colonial Dining Room in the hotel told me the next day that there had been some ghost stories and legends circulating about the house. I didn’t learn much, except that before Mr. Cline bought it for the Haunted Monster Museum, people say they heard weird sounds and saw something inside the place.
I always wondered how many of those doing the haunted house or walking past the dinosaurs battling Confederate and WWI soldiers felt something out of place, or even maybe saw something or caught something by their camera or video camera?
Still, I had hoped to go back, maybe this summer, just to visit the whole Natural Bridge attraction. Now if I do—with the house no longer there—it will feel incomplete. Sad that there will be no more monster museum for people to dare to walk through.
What this shows is most things are fleeting. I know many who have never been to Natural Bridge and they’ve lived in Virginia since their birth, and now they will never see the Haunted Monster Museum that I got to know and talked about in my book. This is one reason why at my signings I tell people to visit these places with their families, as you never know. Something might closed for good, others may change or charge prices when before it was free, while others like this place may be destroyed due to natural disasters of fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Nothing is forever, no matter what we think. Only life after death, and who knows—maybe that might not be infinite.
So when you read about some place near you in a regional ghost book, or a bizarre attraction in some travel guide, get out there and visit it the next time you finally decide to go, as it might not be there.
Pamela K. Kinney’s Bio:
Pamela K. Kinney is a published author of horror, science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and nonfiction ghost books published by Schiffer Publishing. Two of her nonfiction ghost books have been nominated in the past for Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Coming this fall from Schiffer Publishing is her fourth nonfiction ghost book, Haunted Richmond II, plus she just had Virginia‘s Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations released from Schiffer July 2011 and a short story, “Donating” in Inhuman Magazine, Issue 5. Her short horror story, “Bottled Spirits” accepted for BuzzyMag and “Azathoth is Here” will be reprinted in Innsmouth Magazine: Collected Issues 1-4 in Kindle and ePub formats. And of course, she has her horror and dark fantasy tales collected in one book, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations.
Under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, she has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to Being Familiar With a Witch, A Familiar Tangle With Hell was released June 2011 from Phaze Books and both eBooks will be combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar to be release April 24, 2012.
She also has done acting on stage and in films. And is a Master Costumer, costuming since 1972. She has even done paranormal investigating.
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!