ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Entering its 33rd year of operation, Mystery Manor remains one of Omaha’s oldest Halloween attractions.
Wayne Sealy, the owner of Mystery Manor, has been in the haunted industry for 40 years. In 1982 he and two partners bought the supposedly haunted establishment and began to clean it up for business. Within a few years he became the sole owner and continues to run the theatre to this day.
Patrons progress through three floors, each with a series of themed rooms, which explore all areas of the horror genre—clowns, insane asylum and a swamp to name a few.
Sealy said the difference between a typical scare-based attraction and his own haunted theatre is how the actors interact with visitors.
“Some people just want scares,” Sealy said, “I want you to walk through and be interacted with.”
In addition to helping manage actors in the house, Sealy plays a role of his own. In the beginning of the Mystery Manor experience, groups are ushered into a room where former owner William Hall, who, according to legend murdered his own wife, greets them.
Morgan Hruska is an actress at Mystery Manor who is currently participating in her third year working at the manor.
“My job is to make sure the flow of people is moving smoothly on the third floor,” Hruska said.
Those who venture through Mystery Manor may find Hruska’s character, Baby Doll, jumping out from a hole in the wall or reaching down from up above. While moving from room to room throughout her floor she also focuses on ensuring groups are pushing through at a decent rate.
Baby Doll’s porcelain appearance and many of the other characters’ are only made possible through the impressive work carried out by the makeup artists of Mystery Manor.
“We’ve had several of our make-up artists go on to work in Hollywood,” Sealy said.
Part of the Sealy’s motivation to purchase and repair the old manor spawns from the gruesome murders that occurred there and the supposed resulting paranormal activity.
“I discount most of the claims the actors make during the season,” Sealy said. “I find that it’s typically just older actors messing with the younger ones.”
But Sealy doesn’t claim that the house isn’t haunted. He frequently is in the establishment throughout the rest of year—when only he is there. It’s during this time that he claims he’s seen things that can not be explained.
Throughout the years, Sealy said he has encountered a wide range of occurrences including moved tools, strange scents and even a ghostly figure floating over him.
Despite the legends and terrifying actors, Sealy finds the attraction to be a family activity, saying that the actors know when to tone down their act for younger crowds.
Mystery Manor’s schedule for the month and admission rates are available on their website: www.mysterymanoromaha.org.