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Pretzel Kaiser

Silver Donor
Apr 5, 2011
Click here to go to the review.


As I gear up for the local haunted attractions reviews, I'm going to be making these threads.  This one is for the Haunted Wisconsin experience at Nauticus.  The previous year's review can be found here.

As far as this year's event, we're starting to get some information.  Here's a job listing from the facebook page.

Nauticus is seeking volunteers for its annual Halloween special event Haunted Ship: Dead Reckoning. This six night event will be held Oct. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed in a variety of roles including actors, route characters, event staff, and production staff. Auditions for performers will be held on Monday, September 8th from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Nauticus, One Waterside Drive, Norfolk. Scripts will be provided for readings, although those who prepare a 5 minute monologue appropriate to Halloween will be given special consideration. A mandatory orientation will be given for all those participating on Tuesday, September 9th, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Nauticus. Rehearsals will take place October 9, 10, 13, 14, 15; 6 p.m.-10 pm.

The official position descriptions are linked below.

The schedules are flexible and you do not have to be here every night.

To sign up for a position please contact Ann Marie Massie at, or call her at 664-1027.

The specific roles and positions are listed below

Production Staff
Effects/Silverware Dropper (Radio)
Building/Painting/Route Cleanup (Radio)

(A) Wardroom Sailor 1 (Radio)
(B) Wardroom Sailor 2
(C) Ladder Sailor 1 (Radio)
(D) Ladder Sailor 2
(E) Pastor 1
(F) Pastor 2
(G) Ghost Sailor 1
(H) Ghost Sailor 2
(I) Bakery Sailor 1
(J) Bakery Sailor 2
(K) Green Sailor
(L) 3rd Deck Sailor 1
(M) 3rd Deck Sailor 2
(N) Captain 1
(O) Captain 2
Narrated Captain (Doubled)
Narrated Sailor 1 (Doubled)
Narrated Sailor 2 (Doubled)

Route Characters
(P) 2nd Deck, Bow, Sailor
(Q) 2nd Deck, Bow, Starboard, Sailor
(R) Main Deck, Starboard, Ladders, Sailor
(S) 2nd Deck, Port, Ladder, Sailor
(T) 2nd Deck, Mid, Starboard, Sailor
(U) Fantail Main Deck Exit Sailor (Radio)
(V) Fantail Main Deck Exit Sailor
(W) Floater (Radio) Sailor, relieves Route Characters or single actors/space.
(X) Floater (Radio Sailor, relieves Route Characters or single actors/space.

Events Staff (OPS) (Dress in Black)
(AA) Service Road Gate (Enter) (Radio)
(BB) Service Road Gate (Exit)
(CC) Ticket Booth (Radio)
(DD) Ticket Booth
(EE)Top of the Stairs
(FF)Quarter Deck
(GG) Entrance to Wardroom (Radio)
(HH) Deck Roamer (Radio)

This is going to be a much larger presentation than last year, which had maybe three actors.   I'm super hyped that they're expanding it.  More info as it comes.
I grew up in Hampton Roads, I knew better then to join the Navy!  

That being said, I have worked for the Navy for 15 years, and heck I have even been deployed.

The Navy itself does not facinate me so much as the engineering behind the ships!

BB-61 class ships were/ are AMAZING.  Sure a modern Nimitz has all the cool tech and planes, but a carriers lines are just ugly.  The lines on a Iowa Class are just sexy at the raw power in thoes boilers.  Good night.


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Last year the Haunted Ship at Nauticus was a brilliant setup in which an intimidating set piece (the interior of a Navy Ship) was set up to create a unique experience that created a lot of tension and dread.  All this was made possible because of the fact that it was a guided tour by a talented story teller with invisible people working in the background working to build up atmosphere.  All that is gone this year.  Now this thing is popular, so much that it sold out halfway through the night which left guests waiting hours to get a tour.  To fix that, they decided to get rid of the intimate tour and have a walk through attraction.

Like last year, this does have a story.  Its presented at first by an actor giving a spiel before you go into the path.  After that its mostly presented by a series of audio logs throughout  the path.  The problem with this kind of narrative presentation on a self-guided is you're more likely to miss a lot of what its saying, totally missing the important story bits.  I was totally confused about what was happening and why it was happening.  I really do appreciate story with these events, which is why I loved it last year, but it needs to be presented properly.  The only way I could think they could fix it is if they put up some sort of barrier.  This will help with pacing, keeping the groups separated to prevent stacking, and would ensure that the guests can hear the story.  The story does ramp up though, with some sort of climax (though I couldn't understand quite what it was) so I'm not sure how well it would work there though.

The actors here were a bit rough around the edges, but for full disclosure I was part of the first group of the first night, and I don't want to judge them too terribly.  The great thing about the location is that there are so many amazing hiding spots for them.  I already saw a few of them using them well and if they get the crowd control under control, then the actors will be able to pull of some great scares.

Like last year, the setting is amazing for a haunted attraction. Its dark and claustrophobic without having to do much work and worth doing the event in itself. There is a bit more decoration this year, but it still somewhat minimal and nothing close to gory or anything along those lines. What is there is placed in such a way that you might not see it, but if you do it will surprise you. Most of it is pretty effective.

One of the problems with the event as a whole, as it was last year, is that they only do it for two weeks.  It really does hurt the ability of everybody involved to work out the kinks of the event.  I'm sure by week three it could be something great, but its not given enough time to mature. Considering that it often sold out before, this really should be a no-brainer.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It might have gotten rid of the best thing it had going for it, but its worth the ten dollars if only because of the very unique setting is naturally intimidating in the dark. I would wait until its second week to go while the event finds its footing and I also suggest you get there early to avoid the wait.
I'm sorry to hear that the event seems to have lost a bit of its magic. Last year's version sounded amazing. Any house can do "jump" scares, but I think a solid, well-executed narrative is the key to creating real fear and interest.
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I have taken the tour, and it is rather good. Further it's the bloody Whiskey for crying out loud! HOW FRICKIN COOL IS THAT?!?
Just got out and it was amazing. It was probably the best iteration I've been through (aside from the guided tour). I say this every year, but do yourself a favor and please check this out. It's the most unique haunt in this area.
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