Hearthstone Historic House Museum will once again feature their Haunted Hearthstone season with a whole new theme: Sequential killers of the Victorian age. They will present a theatrical glimpse into the 19th century beginnings of serial murder investigation through the eyes of victims, detectives, and the perpetrators who stalked them. The presentations will feature a walk-through tour of Hearthstone, decorated for mourning in the Victorian era, with many of the rooms each depicting a different character scene. Characters include H.H. Holmes, Sweeney Todd, The Bloody Benders, Mary Ann Cotton, and of course, Jack the Ripper. All but Sweeney Todd are actual criminals of the 19th century, with H.H. Holmes having business ties to Henry Rogers, the original owner of Hearthstone. The event is being held each Friday night in October, with one-hour continuous presentations from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
While mass murders and serial killers have been found throughout recorded history, they truly began to garner attention in the Victorian era. In the social upheaval of industrialization, exploration, urbanization, and the growing prevalence of poverty, the public imagination became rife with the dark tales of crime. Sequential murders, real or fictional, began to crop up frequently in newspapers and literature with an increasing fascination by readers. Law enforcement was forced to react as people panicked, and they struggled to adapt to a new type of accurate detective work that required finding the culprits before the murders continued.
Open auditions were held for the characters for Haunted Hearthstone this year with a total of 20 in the cast. Hearthstone hopes to continue to establish contacts within the theatrical community to benefit other seasonal events as well, such as Victorian Christmas, Friday Nights at Hearthstone, and the popular Mystery at the Mansion events held in the spring.
The Haunted Hearthstone events have been growing in popularity, providing guests with different themes each year. “Because we change the events every year, the same guests can return for something completely new, and this year’s theme could very well prove to be the best yet”, said George Schroeder, Hearthstone Executive Director. “By putting on a more elaborate staged production, we appeal to those that are looking for more than simply a good scare. We offer a real look into the past which is in some ways, because of its authenticity, much scarier. Add the decorations of a Victorian mourning to Hearthstone, and you have the perfect setting for a Halloween season event.”
Tickets are available at the door or online at www.hearthstonemusum.org. Proceeds for the events go toward the operational budget for Hearthstone Historic House Museum.
Hearthstone Historic House Museum
625 Prospect Street, Appleton WI 54911