A haunted house in Connecticut found itself at the center of controversy when some locals mistakenly believed that statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary were part of the attraction.
According to WTKR, the Nightmare on Wolcott Street attraction in the city of Waterbury featured two Virgin Mary statues that were meant to be Christmas decor, leading some locals to believe that they were a sacrilegious part of the attraction. The statues were covered up with sheets at the request of the mayor’s office.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, the owners of the attraction, Renee Dearborn and Mike Anderson, apologized to anyone who was offended by the appearance of the statues.
“First, we want to apologize to anyone who’s been offended by the pic of the statues,” said the post. “They have nothing and will never have anything to do with Nightmare On Wolcott Street. That’s why they’re placed on the back dock in front of the restoration shop and not at our front entrance of Nightmare on Wolcott Street.”
The post added that the statues were never even a part of the attraction, as some locals believed, and were only seen when customers parked in the free lot.
“The only time the statues are seen is when the customers park in our lot (for free),” it continued. “Our blessed mother has never and will never be part of our haunted attraction. They’re placed where they are at the restoration shop because we’re planning to restore them and use them for an upcoming 2020 Christmas nativity scene.”
The post concluded with a message about the dangers of passing judgment before knowing all the facts – a common practice these days.
“Isn’t passing judgement before knowing the facts one of the biggest issues in today’s society?” it concluded. “All it does is cause chaos like this. The statues will be covered while Nightmare on Wolcott Street is open in hopes to bring some peace to this matter!!! Thank you!”
Speaking with Fox News, Renee Dearborn said that the business remained steady at the haunted house despite the controversy:
Renee Dearborn spoke with Fox News and confirmed the confusion had been cleared up. Thankfully, the controversy didn’t seem to hurt business. While the weekend before Halloween usually has been busy, Dearborn confirmed that they saw an uptick in business this year.
Dearborn said she wanted to clarify that she couldn’t attribute it all to the attraction’s recent press. According to her, about half of the visitors hadn’t even heard of the controversy.
She also confirmed to Fox News that once the last ticket is sold for the haunted house attraction, the plastic wrap will be coming off the statues.
While the Nightmare at Wolcott haunted house generated a controversy that was ultimately the result of an honest mistake and miscommunication, some Halloween displays have generated real controversies in their neighborhoods, such as the anti-Trump display last year that featured President Trump as a cackling devil.
“The intricate and details display includes what appears to be an immigrant child in a cage, tombstones for departed White House staff members, caricatures of members of the Trump administration and other satirical elements,” reported CBS local at the time.
Another display featured a screaming scarecrow labeled as “Ted Cruz” sitting next to a sign castigating the Texas senator as “The most punchable face in America.” Another display featured President Trump as a cackling devil-like figure with a name tag that said, “Come with me my child into the heart of darkness itself!”