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Ride Profile



“ A lot of

Ghost Trains take their narratives from horror movies and tend to be very boyish and gory. This is a bit more ladylike

Marisa Carnesky

Marisa Carnesky

” 44

There’s a common understanding in the amusement industry that a Ghost Train’s best effects should be saved for the outside, in order to lure in curious passers-by. Eight years ago, the English artist and theatre producer Marisa Carnesky decided to create a ride that challenged such received wisdom. The ride is now a permanent fixture in Blackpool, thrilling and chilling passengers in equal measure

ihe exterior to Carnesky’s Ghost Train lacks the obvious pulling power we normally associate with such rides. Yet it is this apparent lack of showmanship that actually invites closer inspection. Billed as a “dark ride across haunted borders,” passengers are invited to, “take a frightening fairground ride through a maze of darkened tunnels inhabited by live ‘ghosts’, creepy animatronics, spectacular illusions and moving stage sets.” The back-story involves a mourning mother on the lookout for her missing daughters. Touching on issues of cross-border wartime emigration across Eastern Europe, inspired by Carnesky’s Jewish family heritage, it’s perhaps about the ‘deepest’ experience you’ll ever have on a dark ride.


The artist, who has previously worked with various circuses, magicians and in cabaret theatre, hit up on the idea of an amusement ride after researching tattooed ladies in fairground side shows (she is heavily tattooed herself). “A lot of Ghost Trains take their narratives from horror movies,” she observes, “however I thought it would be interesting to use the spaces of a dark ride to make theatre and come up with a new story. Unlike a lot of Ghost Trains that are very boyish and gory, this is a bit more ladylike, with girls in tattered old dresses.” Starting with a pre-ride briefing in the station waiting room, guests are ushered into the single, 20-seater train by a driver/performer who transports them through the ride’s 11 scenes. The complete experience lasts around 10-minutes – featuring multiple circuits of the track. Though the route remains the same, the effects change with each lap, creating a sense of mystery and disorientation.

Live On The Inside

Moving mannequins and running actors populate the route, and the live performers are kept on their toes for the full duration of the ride. Only three effects were bought in from the haunted attractions industry, each of which have been given a ‘vintage’ makeover. The ride’s finale is an effective Pepper’s Ghost illusion that reunites all the daughters, before they shimmer off into the ether. While live ‘actors’ have been used in Ghost Trains many times before, here drama students have been employed to bring added depth to their roles and draw riders into the story.

The result, according to Carnesky, “is very haunting and dreamy, a disturbing world somewhere between a silent horror movie and those creepy old kids’ TV


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