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Hangman’s moves to new haunt in north Fort Worth

Posted 7:40pm on Wednesday, May. 14, 2014

The devil’s pitchforks filled one box. Tombstones were stacked up and ready to go. And a mechanical torso was being carried to a truck.

Hangman’s House of Horrors has been sold and new owner Allen Sturgeon of Kennedale is moving it away from the longtime location at 2013 N. Forest Park Blvd.

For the last few evenings, volunteers have been loading trucks with costumes, props and scary gadgets, and taking them to the new location, 4400 Blue Mound Road. The north Fort Worth site was once a World War I Federal Aviation Administration helium production plant.

Hangman’s is scheduled to reopen Sept. 19.

The sale came hours before former owner D’Ann Dagen, president of La-De-Da Productions, was scheduled to auction the assets on May 10. Sturgeon declined to say how much was paid for the business.

He owns a salvage yard and auto repair shop and also is president of AKS Marketing in Fort Worth. Sturgeon has been a Hangman’s volunteer over the years and makes donations to the attraction, which gives proceeds to five charities.

According to a news release, the Hangman’s deal was “secured by generous seed money committed by Larry and Karen Anfin, longtime supporters of Hangman’s.”

Larry Anfin is the former president of Coors Distributing Co. of Fort Worth and is on the board of charities that benefit from Hangman’s proceeds. Karen Anfin is a volunteer at Victory Therapy Center, which benefits from the attraction along with the American Cancer Society, A Wish with Wings, Cenikor Foundation and SafeHaven of Tarrant County.

“The location is amazing,” said Dagen, who had been involved with Hangman’s for 25 years. “It’s very creepy.”

Dagen described Sturgeon, 33, as a true “haunter,” adding, “It turned out to be a blessing. He loves haunting and he knows how to run a business.” She will mentor him for at least a year.

Taking over a Fort Worth icon isn’t easy, said Sturgeon,

“I feel a little pressure,” he said. “But I’m happy because so many volunteers who have been with Hangman’s for so many years are sticking with me and helping.”

The new structure on 19 acres near Meacham Boulevard is 28,000 square feet compared with 18,000 square feet for the old one.

Sturgeon said he expects to expand the attraction, which has almost 20,000 visitors annually, after its first year in the new location.

“We have to grow to keep up with the competition,” Sturgeon said.

He said ticket prices will remain the same: $25 for a full event, and $35 for a speed pass.

“We’re just a big family,” Sturgeon said of the hundreds of Hangman’s volunteers. “And I’m excited about what this year will bring.”

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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