The Legend at Pope Lick Haunted Woods was the final haunted attraction of our 2019 haunt tour. They are the sister haunt of Black Orchard and after our experience there, we were really excited to see what scares The Legend at Pope Lick had in store! They are an outdoor haunted trail, and the location is a little different; their trail is set up in the woods of Pope Lick Community Park. Like Black Orchard, it is also a part of this year’s Danger Run (a haunt scavenger hunt played in the car).
The Legend at Pope Lick is unique in that its story was not just made up specifically for the haunt, but a local urban legend shrouded in truth. “In every urban legend, there is a cornerstone of truth, and every true story has a beginning—” It’s been told that back in the1930’s a circus train ran off the tracks and crashed into the forest, killing most of the crew. Among the traveling troupe was the Goat Man, a disfigured man raised in captivity by the circus as their main attraction. Finally set free by the crash, it took revenge on the survivors by ripping them to bloody shreds. The Goat Man continues to pray on the local livestock and lures people to their deaths on the train tracks to this very day.
A very spooky scene was set; a thick layer of fog had settled over the park and soccer fields as we started the long walk down to the woods. And when we say long, we mean LONGGG! Then out of the tranquil darkness rose the bright lights and the sound of... dance music?! This queue line was LIT!
For the people who are not from the area or familiar with the local lore, you are introduced in the queue line where old newspaper articles had been blown up and printed on banners for you to read while you wait. They also had an old-school black and white horror flick playing on a large projection screen.
Before venturing into the woods, we were given a flashlight to help us navigate. The path was not lit and marked only by a thin string between the trees in some areas, so it’s really easy to lose your way... and with the Goat Man lurking somewhere out there, you DEFINITELY want to stay on the path! The flashlight was a little too bright for our liking, being Haunt Junkies, so we kept it turned off or shielded to add an extra layer of fear!
All of the sets at The Legend at Pope Lick looked like they had been in that forest for a long time, weathered and worn and becoming one with the woods. The way the sets are scattered you can almost imagine that this is how those circus cars landed after derailing and falling off the train trestle all those years ago. Each scene was a familiar circus or sideshow act… They even had an old fashioned, carnival-style haunted house that featured all of the classic movie monsters! A few other themes that you’d expect to run into in the Kentucky woods were sprinkled in - scared campers, some hillbillies, a cult full of dark and malicious intent, and, of course, the Goat Man. The scenes were plentiful leaving little dead space between them.
This circus had a lot more than just creepy clowns, even though they definitely had those, there were also circus freaks of all kinds and carnies galore! Make-up and costuming ranged from super minimal make-up and regular-looking, blood-stained clothes on the scared campers to full masks and bodysuits on the circus acts. The circus freaks all looked...well, freakish... but the dog-face man was probably the scariest and our favorite. The other costumes were appropriately carnival themed, but some of the characters looked a little fresher than they should have been after spending years in the woods.
Being in the forest of a community park probably makes running a ton of electricity difficult as there were minimal sounds, animatronics, or pneumatic props. There was a super cool peep show that really scared us, some harmonizing ghosties, and a few others; but overall, they had to rely on their locale, legend, and mostly actors for the scares. There were some really great ones and some really not-so-great ones, but walking through the cold, dark woods late at night had a disquiet all its own.
The Legend at Pope Lick also features a 3-minute escape game, Camp Capricorn. Like their sister haunt, we also tried our hand at this one. 3 minutes goes by SUPER fast, guys; but it’s still definitely worth doing!
The sets, story, and locale really set this haunt apart from others. Looking back at this haunted experience we really appreciate the level of storytelling, nothing random, everything coming full circle. If you’re looking to indulge in some local lore and enjoy the outdoors on a super creepy trail, you GOTTA check out The Legend at Pope Lick! Watch out for the Goat Man! He’s trying to lure you to the tracks...