Crosby Haunted Mansion Unites Generations Of Ghouls

By: Bronwen Walsh

Crosby Mansion Property and Events Manager Richard Archer doubles as a magician, a hobby since childhood. BRONWEN WALSH PHOTO

 

BREWSTER – Richard Archer has been putting in some late nights converting the Crosby Mansion into a haunted house for Halloween.

Blackout curtains in place, he fires up the cauldron in the Witches’ Room before resuming work on assembling giant spiders.

“We’ll be utilizing the entire three-story mansion” for six- to 12-person tours this weekend and next, said Archer, who was hired last spring as Crosby Mansion’s full-time property and events manager.

“I’m using some old-time spookhouse techniques along with some illusions I’ve wanted to try for the last 20 years,” he said. There was brief mention of a decapitated princess – and spiders.

Brewster’s first Haunted Mansion is “a multi-generational, community-based attraction designed by the Friends of Crosby Mansion – volunteer retirees responsible for restoring the mansion over the last 30 years – and the Nauset High School Drama Department, led by new director Ian Hamilton, a Nauset grad,” Archer said.

Archer, who hails from West Hyannis Port, is a Barnstable High School grad who studied with drama coach John Sullivan before earning his technical theater degree at the University of Massachusetts.

Magic has been Archer’s hobby since he was a kid.
He began performing for his cousin's sixth birthday when he was 12 years old and still performs professionally between Boston and the Cape and Islands as “The Amazing Richard.” He can be booked at www.ArcherMagicWorks.com.

“Brewster Recreation Director Mike Gradone is managing patron ticketing and marketing,” Archer said of the Haunted House. Advance ticket sales are beyond expectation, surpassing 1,200 so far. “The anticipation and psychological buildup often are more frightening,” he added.

Built from 1887 to 1888 by John Hinckley and Sons, Crosby Mansion was the summer home of Albert Crosby and his second wife, Matilda Georgia Sourbeck. They married in 1872 after Crosby, the son of Nathan Crosby Jr. and Catherine Nickerson Crosby of Chatham, made his fortune in Chicago operating the largest distillery of medicinal alcohol in the west. They gathered many ideas for their Romanesque-style home in Brewster while traveling to England, France and Asia.

Tickets are $12 online at www.brewsterrecreation.com. Park in the lower lot, look for Timbo the dragon, and queue in the mansion’s side function room-turned-graveyard to check in. Tour guides then will lead small groups past the man-eating crab, into the first floor of the haunted mansion, and up through a portal hallway into the vampire dimension.

“For those with mobility issues, we can accommodate handicap access on the first floor if patrons call ahead to 508-896-7744,” Archer said. In addition, Brewster rec will hold a scaled-back version of the haunted mansion for children age 8 and under from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.