Haunted Shack

Opened: 9 Apr 1966
Closed: Pre-1980
Location: Central Midway

Photo used in an ad for the Deseret News Birthday Party in 1966. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

Over the years, Lagoon has had many different haunted attractions, but only a few walk-through attractions. The Haunted Shack was both. It was located where the Carousel Plaza food stands are today with the front of the Shack facing south.

Haunted Shack in July 1967 with Bulgy in the foreground. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Utah State University

Most of the information I have about this attraction is pulled from the memories of those who were lucky enough to enjoy it. Here, I’ve pieced together a description of this walk-through based on the more commonly shared details and memories.

You’d start by carefully climbing the stairs (which shifted up and down in opposite directions) to reach the second floor. Once you reached the top, you would proceed through narrow hallways with windows you could look into and see various “spooky” scenes. An employee would randomly wander through trying to surprise unsuspecting guests.

Skeleton pianist on the top floor. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

Next, you’d find your way out front where a skeleton played a piano. Back inside, after traveling down more halls, you could return to the first floor by riding down a very slick steel spiral slide or by taking a regular staircase. Next was the hall of mirrors which ended near a large imitation of one of those cymbal-banging monkey toys.

The hall of mirrors may have been moved to the ground floor after a few years of being in an upper floor. At least it appears in the 1969 BYU film below as though the hall of mirrors is on the second floor.

A former employee who contacted me via email shared this memory of an “attic” area accessed by operators of the attraction.

“I worked Lagoon during the summer of 1969, and on breaks would often wander down there where one of my buddies would take me up into the rafters where we could watch the patrons from above.”

Second floor of the attraction as seen from the front of the building. This was before the gorilla was added. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

Another visitor recalls…

“I remember a dark hallway that had about 6-inch pieces of rubber surgical tubing sticking out of the wall at about ankle height – it would brush against your ankles as you walked through the hallway creating kind of an eerie feeling.”

Haunted Shack in 1973. Photo: Laura Moncur, Starling-Travel.com
Photo: Braden Miskin
“King Kong” in Terroride, 2007. Photo: B. Miskin

The large gorilla which leaned over crowds from the top floor was added some time after it opened. It would later be used in Terroride and in Frightmares walk-throughs before taking its current place inside Dracula’s Castle. It’s also possible that the smaller monkey with the cymbals near the exit of the Haunted Shack was once part of the eight-piece monkey band which played on a ledge above the Fun House entrance starting in 1957, but that has not been confirmed.

By 1980 or sooner, the Haunted Shack was closed. The upper floors were removed and the ground level was converted into the Penny Arcade. The building was replaced by the Carousel Plaza food outlet in 1981.

The Haunted Shack occupied the right side of the building in the center of this photo. This view from early 1980 shows that the Haunted Shack was replaced by the Penny Arcade. Photo courtesy of Deseret News
Detail from 1966 newspaper ad.

Many Features Mark New Lagoon Fun House. Deseret News, 4 May 1957.

2nd Entry In Lagoon Contest. Deseret News, 24 May 1966.

Moncur, Laura. Lagoon: Hall of Mirrors (Part 2 of 2). Pick Me!, 9 Aug 2004.

RE: Haunted Shack. Email message from Stephen A., 19 Dec 2004.

RE: Haunted Shack – Lagoon. Email message from George A., 19 Mar 2005.

RE: Haunted Shack. Email message from Robert J., 22 Jun 2006.

RE: LHP Contact: Haunted Shack. Email message from Christopher D., 2 Oct 2010.

LHP Contact: Haunted Shack. Email message from Gary M., 17 Oct 2010.


15 replies on “Haunted Shack”

oh I love the Haunted Shack – however, the ape was gone when I remember — there were three skeletons on the top tier:
1) a skeleton in a raincoat riding a tricycle
2) an ominous skeleton cloaked in a green (for black lights i presume) hooded robe with arms out and flowing.. with the drapery tied at the end of his torso – this skeleton was moving to and fro
3) the skeleton playing the piano (as seen from above)

Number 2 (the middle skeleton) had to have been a replacement of the ape. If you look closely you can see the skeleton riding the tricycle on the left (you can almost make it out if you remember it from long ago!)

Great pic btw!

I remember this attraction and the mirrors, but what stands out in my mind was the rubber snakes in the narrow hall at your feet. When it was new it was a very eerie feeling, I remember later that people pulled them out and a lot of them were missing and Lagoon never replaced them.

I haven’t visited this site for many years but was thrilled to see the old Deseret News articles. GREAT RESEARCH!! The article on the new Fun House was a treat to read and the old advertisement for Lagoon was fun to see. This is a great project! Keep up the research and keep looking for old photographs of 1950s-1960s Lagoon. There has to be THOUSANDS of photographs floating around Salt Lake and Utah Counties in thousands of family photo albums. Someone is going to pass along a tresure trove of lagoon pics if you keep digging.

Thanks for the memories.

Steve A.
Moreno Valley, CA

Thanks for the comments! It’s good to know you appreciate the website. Photos are great sources of information because when a ride or attraction is visible – even in the distant background – I’m able to focus my research to specific time frames and I find a lot more history. Photographs help the pieces of the puzzle come together a lot quicker.

Wow, so happy to come upon this website!! I have such vivid memories of the Haunted Shack, but had forgotten about some of the stuff mentioned here. I distinctly remember that one of the “spooky scenes” was a woman about to be sawed in two by an old lumber mill saw. Does anyone else remember that? Also, I remember that in addition to the “snakes”, there were moments when blasts of air would shoot up from the floor. I remember asking my mother (in the 1970s) what they were for, and her telling me “in the 1950s, girls would have worn dresses to Lagoon, and the air shots were to make their skirts fly up”. Such great memories.

I never got to go in the Haunted Shack… or never wanted to – I don’t remember. I was 11 or 12 when they closed it. I remember though that there were windows on the east side where the shifting staircase was and I could see people going up the stairs and see the railing shift.

I remember a few years later there were some skeletons and other props – maybe the skeleton band – that I assumed came from the Haunted Shack that ended up on top of the spinning tunnel in the Fun House. You could see them as you went up the long stairs to ride the slides. I still can smell those old burlap sacks you put your feet into to ride the slides down!

On this link there is a lot of video footage of Lagoon in the 50’s and 60’s. It shows video footage of the Haunted Shack as well. Here is the link to that video:

The one with the ride vehicle is the old Spook House which was replaced by Terroride in 1974. There is one quick shot after that which could be the Haunted Shack. It’s great footage either way!

So glad to see this page because I loved the Haunted Shack! It was my favorite attraction at Lagoon as a kid along with the Fun House. I remember the snake-like rubber hoses described above, and I recall a hissing sound they would make. Most memorable was the house of mirrors when you returned to the first floor. You couldn’t leave without first being tormented with a maze of full-length mirrors covering every inch of every wall and obfuscated the exit. Confusing, but fun! Thanks for posting the photos and the great memories of this attraction.

I am surprised nobody mentioned the room that rocked on a center pivot. As people entered the room it would shift with the weight. There was railing all around the room and you definitely needed to use it! And where the slide was, it was pitch black darkness. You could see nothing entering the slide. Very disorienting.

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