The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 3, 2007

Cells of Terror haunted jailhouse opens Friday

ATHENS — Last year, some 12,000 thrill-seekers flocked to the old Limestone County Jail and paid $10 each to have people scare them senseless.

This year, the Cells of Terror haunted jail is supposed to be even scarier and it will cost you $15 to find out.

The attraction opens Friday at 7 p.m. and continues through Halloween night, Oct. 31.

“We have a whole new layout this year,” said WZYP Sales Manager Tracy Flesch, who is promoting Cells of Terror for the Athens Police Department. “The old jail has been opened up and people will be walking by the actual jell cells. Last year, they took them down the hallways. We didn’t have to do much to make this old jail creepy and scary. It is already there.”

Blocks-long lines of people toured the jail last year during the 10 nights leading up to Halloween. At $10 per person, the attraction generated $120,000.

Athens Police Sgt. Jason White, who thought of the idea to use the jail as a haunted house, said most of the proceeds were used to buy dress uniforms and shotguns for the Department’s honor guard and for equipment for the Department’s reserve officers, including bulletproof vests and other equipment.

This year, WZYP and Extreme Promotions joined in to help sponsor the attraction, White said. Extreme Promotions will staff and operate the Cells of Terror.

Most of the proceeds will go to the Police Department, Flesch said.

Does jail have a future?

The old jail on West Green Street was abandoned several years ago when the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department moved into new headquarters on East Elm Street. Since then, it has been sitting idle except for the 10 nights it was used last year as the Cells of Terror.

After the success police had with the haunted jail, Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert said commissioners might keep the old jail and use it as a tourist attraction. He now says plans are to eventually sell or tear down the jail. Razing it could cost the county $100,000, commissioners have been told.

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