How a Cast of Ghosts and Goblins Revived the Spirits of a Midwest Neighborhood
After a cattle boom came and went, the declining West Bottoms section of Kansas City started to look like a ghost town. It took a visionary, fright-loving family to give it a new lease on life.
Photos by Amy Stroth
The line of people waiting to get into “The Beast” nearly wraps around the block. Once you’re inside, you realize that you’re not just in a haunted house. You’re in a maze that takes you through a terrifying Louisiana mansion, Jack-the-Ripper-era London and a werewolf forest.
When The Beast opened in the West Bottoms neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, just off Interstate 670 in 1991, it became America’s largest open format haunted attraction, according to Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, 46, vice president of Full Moon Productions, the company that developed and manages The Beast. (The “open format” is a maze of connecting staircases that put the spectator in a situation where they face a variety of possible paths. Whether it’s encountering werewolves or the headless horseman, people experiencing the maze are taken up and down various floors as they try to find their way out.)