Witch Castle
Salisbury Beach, MA

By Rick Ciliberto

Witch Castle

I have such fond memories of my family renting cottages and nightly visiting Salisbury Beach’s Amusement Center throughout the 60’s and 70’s. I am pleased to contribute what I remember of this not so well documented park.

Salisbury Massachusetts was settled in 1638 and was primarily a farming, fishing, and later a shipbuilding community. Its five-mile stretch of Atlantic beach attracted many visitors throughout the years. In around 1902, the center of town (The Broadway) began to develop dance halls and theaters. In 1920 the first bumper-car ever, called the Dodgem Ride was designed, installed, and located at The Driftway. The Broadway Flying Horses, a Looff carousel built around 1885-1890, originally from Coney Island, was owned by brother and sister Louis and Sarah Rogers. Their nephew Dave Ducheneau reported that they also owned the old funhouse behind the Broadway Flying Horses and they lived in a cottage behind it. Despite fires, floods, and the blizzard of 78, some well known sites seen were The Ocean Echo, The Frolics, Comet and Wildcat rollercoasters, the huge Midway and Barker’s arcades, and The Salisbury’s Discount House and Willey’s Candy Shop (both still exist).

Witch CastleA very popular section of the amusement center was the Fun-O-Rama Park owned and operated by a clever businessman-entrepreneur Roger Shaheen. He converted his 300-car parking lot into an amusement center in 1959. Many funhouses have passed through here, but one of the more permanent and longest standing darkrides was The Witch Castle. Roger Shaheen also used this structure for his park headquarters where he could communicate using an elaborate intercom system, and get a Birdseye view of the park. At the Witch Castle you sat in a car and were startled by monster faces, timed flashing lights, and hanging threads, which gave the impression of cobwebs. The car would suddenly spin in complete darkness and the track would bump or tilt the car slightly. I remember a hidden microphone installed so people outside could hear you screaming through a PA system. The distinct metal sounds and clanking of the gears of the cars still bring back wonderful memories. The two outside figures of Frankenstein and the Witch constantly moved and the building was lit up quite nicely at night. The Witch Castle no longer exists but remnants of this unique darkride can be seen tucked away in a back lot. This was probably one of the best funhouse rides at Salisbury Beach Mass. More to come on the Fun-O-Rama Park.

Richard Ciliberto 3/25/99

An Artist Painting Witch Castle

Witch Castle

Photos are Rick Ciliberto and Bill Luca. All used with permission.
This article is 1999 by Rick Ciliberto and used with permission

©2003 Laff In The Dark/www.laffinthedark.com

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This page was last updated Wednesday, September 15, 1999