Silent Hill - The Alluring Nightmare
Lakeside Amusement Park
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In Silent Hill, Lakeside Amusement Park offers a wonderfully creepy atmosphere to explore. Its tower looms over the city, reminding us of its dark past. In Denver, Colorado - USA, another tower looms over the highway - illuminating the night with a rich history of joy, excitement and TERROR.
Growing up, I always heard harrowing tales of death and wandering spirits in Lakeside Amusement Park. I was afraid to go there, for fear that I, too, would meet a horrific fate. Ranging from faulty rides to ghosts and down-right visitor stupidity, the stories varied but never strayed far from the general theme that there was something terribly wrong with the park.
When I rediscovered the park as Harry Mason and again as Heather, I remembered those stories and wondered if the creators of Silent Hill were somehow inspired by the same park that frightened me so much as a child.
As an adult, I returned to the park and instead of fear, I felt something else, entirely - fascination. Architecture and signage of the period corresponded with its Silent Hill counterpart. As night fell, I almost expected the pavement to transform into rusted, metal grating.
Join us now as we explore the real Lakeside Amusement Park, and attempt to uncover the truth behind the urban legends. The following are real, UNEDITED newspaper articles. Please note that my intention is never to discredit the park or give it a bad reputation. In fact, I merely pay homage to Lakeside and the history, memories and mysteries it offers. When in Denver, I highly recommend that you check it out!!

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Lakeside Amusement Park, circa 1908

In Silent Hill 3, we read an article about the Hope House behind Lakeside Amusement Park...known for its landmark tower. Could this famous tower, illuminated at night by thousands of lights have been the inspiration for this story?

FRIENDS, STRANGERS BID FAREWELL TO ALIE
 
The Denver Post

May 28, 1993

Author:
Tracy Seipel; Denver Post Staff WriterDENVER POST
Page: 1B
Estimated printed pages: 3

Article Text:
LITTLETON - Hundreds of mourners - many of them complete

strangers - bade a tearful farewell yesterday to little Aleszandra
Ariel Berrelez, even as police quietly continued their hunt for her killer.

   Five-year-old Alie was kidnapped from her home last week as she
played outside with her baby brother. On Saturday, bloodhounds led
searchers to Deer Creek Canyon, where her body was found in a duffel bag.

Yesterday, during the funeral at Drinkwine Mortuary and later at her
grave site near the "Babyland" section of Chapel Hill Cemetery, Englewood
detectives videotaped those in attendance and their license plates, on
the off chance the girl's killer was present.

   Meanwhile, tears and hugging marked the mournful occasion as 350
people crowded into the chapel. Another 100 spilled out of the chapel
foyer to the outside. Several - mostly mothers with children - pressed
their faces against the glass partition at the front of the chapel,
straining to hear the poems, songs and prayers recited for Alie.

   The funeral featured a compendium of much that Alie loved.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was sung by a family friend. A prayer, "Now I Lay
Me Down to Sleep," was inscribed in 500 memorial folders, all of which
were given away.

   The hope that her killer will be caught was on the minds of many.

   "We want to solemnly pray that the one who committed the heinous
crime against her and against you might be speedily brought to justice and
suffer your righteous judgment," said the Rev. Don Cavin. "We know that
justice will be done because nothing is hidden from you."

   Alie's grandfather, Richard Berrelez Sr., recalled some of his
fondest memories of Alie during the eulogy.

   "I remember it was a little more than five years ago when a baby
girl came into my life," he began. "She grew up without a father who would
love her," he said, recalling once telling her, "Poor Ales, you don't
have a dad that loves you."

   "`But Grandpoppy, you're my dad, and you love me,"' he quoted her as
responding. "So we set the stage and played like father and daughter,"
he said.

    Berrelez remembered the times the twosome sang favorite songs
together, such as Madonna's "Material Girl," or danced to Little Richard's
"Tutti Frutti."

   "Everyone knew we weren't the best duet," he admitted. But "with
practice, we would have made a good duet."

   Only a week before she disappeared, Alie heard that her grandparents
were planning a short vacation, and told her grandmother, "I'm going on
a vacation to Lakeside Park," he said.

   "But I had no idea she'd be gone on a vacation so long," said
Berrelez, sobbing.

    Many others in the audience also cried, even though they did not
know Alie or her family. Nevertheless, they hoped their presence brought
support to the family.

   "I understand the way she feels, because I know how I'd feel if it
happened to my daughter. I'd want support," said Terri Vasquez, 23, who
was there with her 4-year-old daughter, Chantelle.

    "I felt sorry for the little girl's family," said Michelle Duran,
26, who attended the funeral with her three sons and mother-in-law. She
said the tragedy has taught her two oldest that "this can happen to
them if they talk to strangers or wander off."

   Alie's white velvet, child-sized casket was taken by limousine to
the entrance of Chapel Hill Cemetery, where it was transferred to a
horse-drawn carriage, and then to the grave site.

   Someone placed a doll next to a white-and-pink rose bouquet on top
of the casket. Baskets of assorted lilies, roses, daisies and other
spring flowers decorated the area. In one bouquet was a pink ribbon
inscribed "Mommie Loves You."

   Later, Alie's grandfather thanked the public for its support and
asked for help in forming an children's advocacy group to tighten laws
against those who harm children.

   Said Berrelez: "We have to unite together and go after a plan so we
won't have to deal with this anymore."

Copyright 1993 The Denver Post Corp.
Record Number: DNVR132726

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Lakeside's famous carousel, circa 1925

A dark past that unfortunately most US cities shared, the KKK once conducted hate-filled meetings in Lakeside. Kind of reminds me of secret meetings held by The Order, protected by the facade of Silent Hill's Lakeside tower.

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Ticket to a KKK meeting at Lakeside (click to enlarge)

LAKESIDES GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:
Lakeside Amusement Parks once stood in Salem, VA and Dayton, OH. Both have been destroyed, but their memories live on in the hearts and memories of those who enjoyed their summers on the rides.

You can read about the Salem park at: http://www.salemmuseum.org/hist_lakeside.html

and the Dayton park at: http://www.preservationdayton.com/Pages/lost3.asp

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Lakeside Park in Dayton, OH - demolished, 1994.

LAKESIDE IS A BLAST FROM THE PAST
The Denver Post

July 28, 2002

 Author:
Dick Kreck

Edition: SUN
Section: A
Page: A-02
Estimated printed pages:
3

Article Text:
You can keep your Six Flags Elitch Gardens with its fancy rides  and
fat entrance fees. Me? I'll take Lakeside.



   I strolled around Lakeside Amusement Park on a recent warm  summer
evening, the kind of night so still even the trees were  holding their
breath.



   Lakeside is the people's amusement park. It costs a buck and  a half
to get in, and that includes parking. Ride coupons are 25  cents. Large
picnic areas, like the wonderfully named "Royal  Grove," encourage
visitors to bring a lunch, spread out and take  their time.



   At Elitch's, it costs $32.99 to get in the door, and you pay  even
if you never set foot on a ride. Parking is another $8. And  don't even
think about slipping in a baloney sandwich. "Outside  food and drink
are not allowed," say the rules.

   Lakeside, at Sheridan Boulevard and Interstate 70, opened in  1908.
Originally known as White City, it was billed by ambitious  investors
as "the Coney Island of the West." The founding fathers  were a group of
Denver businessmen, including brewer Adolph Zang,  who put up a
reported $500,000 to build it. There were already two  parks in town, the
original Elitch's in north Denver and Manhattan  Beach at Sloan's Lake.



   Lakeside is an amusement-park time capsule, a trip back to a  day
when pleasures and life itself were less frantic. Visitors are 
surrounded by art-deco buildings bathed in neon and rides so  gentle a
10-year-old would scoff. Names of the rides at the two  parks tell you all you
need to know. At Elitch's there are The  Mind Eraser, Tower of Doom,
XLR8R and Turbobungy. At Lakeside it's  Rock-o-Plane, Tilt-a-Whirl, Wild
Chipmunk and The Round-up  ("Defies Gravity").



   I couldn't pass up a chance to ride the Cyclone roller  coaster,
built in 1940. "Do Not Stand Up/Hold Tight to Bar/Fasten  Seat Belt" warns
a well-worn sign as riders with steel nerves in  wooden cars are
carried into a pitch-black tunnel before making a  herky-jerky, clanking
ascent to the first big fall. The train  bucks and rattles and snaps from
side to side as it hurtles over  the vibrating wooden coaster. The best
$1.75 you'll spend for a  90-second ride.



   The carousel, built by the C.W. Parker Co. of Kansas and  installed
the year the park opened, still carries delighted riders  on not only
horses but on an odd menagerie of goats, deer, dogs  and pigs. The
park's glittering tower of 16,000 lights is visible  from I-70.



   How long can this go on? Not forever. Signs are everywhere.  It's
clean and well maintained, but it doesn't open until 6 p.m.  on weekdays.
An abandoned Ferris wheel makes a forlorn pile of  iron. The carousel
animals look exhausted. The adjacent Lakeside  Speedway was closed 14
years ago after a fatal accident, and trees  sprout where daredevils once
raced.



   There is no rational reason owner Rhoda Krasner, whose  parents
bought the park during the Depression, keeps it open. She  can't hope to
compete with bigger, flashier Elitch's. The night I  was there, about 100
souls were wandering the grounds. Why not  just level it, put up
condos? Krasner doesn't speak to the media,  but she said through a
spokeswoman that as long as she feels it's  an entertainment outlet for the
area, she'll keep it going.

   On a stucco wall, tucked almost out of public view, is a  small
poster, its 1950s-style letters dusted with glitter,  promising, "Lakeside
- Where Fun Collides With Thrills." They  might have added, "Where Time
Stands Still."

Copyright 2002  The Denver Post Corp.
Record Number: 1106616

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Lakeside Funhouse, prior to its demolition, circa 1950's

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(Click on the poster to learn more)
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Lakeside Speedway was an exciting attraction until people kept dying!

Urban Legends Surrounding the Park
Ever since I was a small child, I've heard horrific tales of death and mutilation at Lakeside Amusement Park. When I realized that Silent Hill's park shared its name, I was astounded. Could they be related in some way? True, after playing Silent Hill 3 and exploring the park more thoroughly, it appears that Silent Hill's Lakeside takes its inspirations from many sources. The most obvious parody in SH3 was of course, the Haunted Mansion, which I instantly recognized from the Disney theme parks. True, the actual sites you see are different in the game, but the lighting, the narrator's dialogue and even the graveyard out front are uncanny similiarities to Disney's famous ride. Denver's Lakeside doesn't have a children's theatre, either, but from what I understand of the park's history, it probably used to. The sign leading Heather to the roller coaster looks exactly like the one for Lakeside's Cyclone coaster.
My attempts to get more information on the park's dark past were foiled by their human resources rep. Not wanting to give the park a bad reputation, she denied any ghost stories or validity to the legends.
Notable urban legends include: a woman got her long hair caught on a rollercoaster turn and she was decapitated. There is, of course, the classic "someone stood up on the ride and got decapitated." Either way, someone insists that a coaster rider lost their head.
Lakeside's fun house was notoriously scary. My older sister was scared to death of it. I, unfortunately, wasn't tall enough to explore the landmark ride before it was demolished in the 1980's. Rumor has it that someone was killed inside and that's why they tore it down. The park's HR Rep insisted that the fun house was too old and cumbersome to control anymore and thus they tore it down.
Supposedly, one of the roller coaster cars careened off the tracks and killed everyone on board. I couldn't find any newspaper articles on this, though, so I doubt it's true. The closest evidence I could find was an article about the roller coaster car getting stuck or something and a couple of people got bruised...nothing to write home about.
Everyone I know (and people I have talked to online) have heard the very same urban legends. Could there be strange happenings in Lakeside Amusement Park?
I intend to find out for myself.

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WOMAN SLAIN AT LAKESIDE MALL

The Denver Post

November 19, 1998

Purse-snatch death  costs man 30 years

Author:
Kieran Nicholson Denver Post Staff Writer

Edition: THU1
Section: DENVER AND WEST
Page: B-12

Index Terms:
theft
elderly
death
sentence
Jeffco

Estimated printed pages: 2

Article Text:
JEFFERSON COUNTY - A 21-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday to 30
years in prison for the death of a 73-year-old woman he knocked to the
ground during a purse-snatching attempt in a mall parking lot.

   Daryll Griffin shoved Betty Geer to the ground Dec. 18, 1997, at the
Lakeside Mall, breaking the woman's hip. Geer was taken to a nearby
hospital, but never recovered. She died 11 days later after slipping into
a coma.

   Griffin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last month.

   On Wednesday, Griffin's stepfather, grandmother and aunt told
District Judge James Zimmerman that the young man's life has been one of
loss. He never knew his father, and his mother died when he was just 12.

   His attorney, Mark Johnson, said his client never intended to kill
Geer and the court should consider that when reaching a sentence.

   Griffin, who avoided eye contact with his family through most of the
proceeding, spoke on his own behalf.

   "I wish it was me that suffered the tragedy instead of someone
else," he said. "I have to live with this for the rest of my life."

   Griffin said he accepted responsibility for his actions, and asked
for mercy in sentencing.

   "But for your conduct in the commission of this felony, this
robbery, Betty Geer would be alive," Zimmerman said in handing down the
sentence. Griffin faced a maximum of 32 years.

   The day of the attack, Geer didn't let go of her purse, which
contained $27, and Griffin dragged her to a getaway car driven by an
accomplice, 19-year-old Jason Pevler. Still clutching the purse, Geer was
dragged about a car-length before Griffin finally let go, according to
police investigators.

   Earlier that day, the pair had snatched another woman's purse in
Greenbriar Shopping Plaza parking lot at West 70th Avenue and Pecos Street
in Adams County.

   On Oct. 26, Pevler pleaded guilty to conspiracy, robbery and
attempted robbery of an at-risk adult. He is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 14.

Copyright 1998  The Denver Post Corp.
Record Number: 734532

NOTE: Lakeside Mall is located across the street from the Amusement Park. This article was chosen because it reminds me of something you would find while exploring the town...

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DID YOU KNOW?? OTHER CREEPY FACTS ABOUT COLORADO!

THE SHINING was inspired by and filmed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO.
MISERY takes place in Colorado's harsh winter mountains.
Legendary horror author, Steven King has often been inspired by Colorado and uses it as a backdrop in many of his stories.

THE CHANGLING was based on 'true' events witnessed by the film's director, Peter Medak. While renting a historical mansion in Denver's Cheaseman Park, he found a secret room, experienced banging, ghost activity, and a red ball that kept reappearing and bouncing down the stairs...he, of course, fled, but later told the story and adapted the harrowing tale into the brilliant 1980 film. The mansion is no longer there, but residents of the apartments that now occupy the property swear that they see a red ball sometimes...bouncing down the stairs.

CHEASEMAN PARK, itself has its own legendary past. Once a cemetary nestled in the heart of Downtown Denver, development required that the graves be moved. Legend has it that the gravestones were moved, but not the bodies. Countless accounts of ghost activity have been reported there.

ELITCH GARDENS, erected two years prior to Lakeside, was a haven for the era's rich and famous. Mary Elitch had her own petting zoo, supplied with exotic animals given to her by P.T. Barnum. The Crocodilli Theatre hosted countless performances. Its wooden rollercoasters remained two of the only existing ones left in the US. Many friends of mine worked there as summer jobs and shared stories of Mary Elitch's ghost, waching over her beloved theatre. The park was demolished within the last 10 years and was resurrected in downtown by Six Flags. Where the park once stood are apartments, but the Historical Society has preserved Mary's theatre and the beautiful carousel gazebo. I often wonder if the residents ever see the ghostly figure walking the grounds at night...

THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN, aptly named after surviving the Titanic, called Denver home. When in Denver, you can tour her mansion, which is undoubtably haunted. (Trust me)

DO YOU KNOW OF ANY DENVER OR COLORADO URBAN LEGENDS, ESPECIALLY SURROUNDING LAKESIDE AMUSEMENT PARK? CONTACT THE WEBMASTER AND SHARE YOUR DARK STORIES ON THE ALLURING NIGHTMARE!