Silent Hill - The Alluring Nightmare
Lakeside Amusement Park
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!!
|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
Tracy Seipel; Denver Post Staff WriterDENVER POST
printed pages: 3
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
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.
during the funeral at Drinkwine Mortuary and later at her
grave site near the "Babyland" section of Chapel Hill Cemetery,
detectives videotaped those in attendance and their license plates, on
the off chance the girl's killer
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
memories of Alie during the eulogy.
"I remember it was a little more than five years ago when a baby
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,"
Berrelez remembered the times the twosome sang favorite songs
together, such as Madonna's "Material Girl," or danced to
"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
were planning a short vacation, and told her grandmother, "I'm going on
a vacation to Lakeside Park,"
"But I had no idea she'd be gone on a vacation so long," said
Many others in the audience also cried, even though they did not
know Alie or her family. Nevertheless, they hoped their
support to the family.
"I understand the way she feels, because I know how I'd feel
happened to my daughter. I'd want support," said Terri Vasquez, 23, who
was there with her 4-year-old daughter,
"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
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
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
|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.
|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
|Lakeside Park in Dayton, OH - demolished, 1994.
LAKESIDE IS A BLAST FROM THE PAST
The Denver Post
July 28, 2002
You can keep your Six Flags Elitch Gardens with its fancy rides and
entrance fees. Me? I'll take Lakeside.
I strolled around Lakeside Amusement Park on a recent warm
evening, the kind of night so still even the trees were holding their
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.
Sheridan Boulevard and Interstate 70, opened in 1908.
Originally known as White City, it was billed by ambitious
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
I couldn't pass up a chance to ride the Cyclone roller coaster,
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
ago after a fatal accident, and trees sprout where daredevils once
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
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,
- Where Fun Collides With Thrills." They might have added, "Where Time
2002 The Denver Post Corp.
Record Number: 1106616
|Lakeside Funhouse, prior to its demolition, circa 1950's
|(Click on the poster to learn more)
|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.