For other uses, see Haunted Castle (disambiguation).
The Haunted Castle at Six Flags Great Adventure was a haunted house attraction at Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson Township, New Jersey. A haunted attraction or dark attraction is a venue which simulates the experience of visiting a structure or outside space that is inhabited by what appear to be Six Flags Great Adventure is a Theme park in Jackson Township, New Jersey, located 67 miles from New York City, 60 miles from Newark Jackson Township, named after Andrew Jackson, is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. On May 11, 1984, eight teenage visitors were trapped and killed when the structure was destroyed by fire. Events 330 - Byzantium is renamed ''Nova Roma'' during a dedication ceremony but is more popularly referred to as Constantinople Year 1984 ( MCMLXXXIV) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar)
Six Flags Great Adventure and its parent company Six Flags were subsequently indicted for aggravated manslaughter, accused of recklessly causing the deaths by taking inadequate precautions against a fire. Six Flags Inc (commonly Six Flags) is one of the world's largest chains of Amusement parks and Theme parks, based on quantity of properties Aggravation, in Law, is "any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences but which Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being in a manner considered by law as less culpable than Murder. Recklessness (also called unchariness) is disregard for or indifference to the dangers of a situation or for the consequences of one's actions In the subsequent trial, the prosecution argued that repeated warnings by safety consultants to install sprinklers or smoke alarms had been ignored. The defendants denied any culpability, and contended that the fire was arson and that no precautions would have saved lives. The trial jury found the defendants not guilty.
The purpose of the Haunted Castle walk-through dark ride was to entertain its customers by frightening them. A dark ride or darkride is an indoor Amusement ride where riders in guided vehicles travel through specially-lit scenes that typically contain Animation Exterior decorations included plastic monsters, skulls and other features meant to create a frightening atmosphere. A facade of false turrets and towers lent the illusion of height to the one-story structure, completing the look of a forbidding medieval castle. A castle is a defensive structure seen as one of the main symbols of the Middle Ages. After crossing a drawbridge over the surrounding moat, visitors entered the castle and felt their way along a 450-foot-long convoluted path of dim corridors, occasionally being startled when employee actors dressed as Dracula, Frankenstein and other creatures jumped from hiding. A drawbridge is a type of Movable bridge typically associated with the entrance of a Castle. A moat is deep broad Trench, usually filled with Water, that surrounds a structure installation or town normally to provide it with a preliminary line of Various theatrical props and exhibits were in view, including coffins, ghoulish mannequins, hanging spider webs and skeletons. A theatrical property, commonly referred to as a prop, is any object held or used on stage by an Actor for use in furthering the plot or story line of a Theatrical Mannequin (alternately manikin, mannikin, manakin, dummy or lay figure) Strobe lights and eerie sounds completed the scene. 
Originally constructed of four aluminum highway trailers when it opened in 1978, the castle was expanded to 17 interconnected trailers in 1979. In American English a semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle  The castle was actually two side-by-side attractions of the same kind, with separate corridors and a common control room in the center. Only one side, with 9 of the 17 trailers, was in use at the time of the fire. 
During the subsequent criminal trial, the Jackson Township fire inspector testified that he had never inspected the castle. Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated Criminal law.  The township considered the castle a "temporary structure," even after it had been at the park for five years, based on the fact that the trailers were on wheels.  The castle lacked a building permit or certificate of occupancy, and had no sprinklers or alarms despite repeated recommendations for them by the park's own safety consultants. 
The castle's aluminum trailers were linked by plywood partitions to create a complex maze. Plywood is a type of Engineered board made from thin sheets of Wood, called plies or veneers Attached to its exterior were painted turrets and towers of plywood on wooden frames. Inside, the materials used included foam rubber, various fabrics and plastics, plywood and tar paper. A polyurethane, commonly abbreviated PU, is any Polymer consisting of a chain of organic units joined by urethane links Tar paper is a heavy-duty Paper used in Construction. Tar paper is made by impregnating paper with Tar, producing a Waterproof material useful Wax mannequins were used as props. 
The fire started at 6:35 p. m. on a Friday evening. Fanned by outside air conditioners that continued to push air up through the floor vents, it spread rapidly due to the use of flammable building materials.  About 29 people were in the attraction when the fire started. Fourteen, including four park employees, escaped. Seven were treated for smoke inhalation at an area hospital. Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of Death in victims of indoor Fires Smoke inhalation injury refers to injury due to inhalation or exposure to hot gaseous Eight teenagers from one group of nine that entered together were trapped and killed by asphyxiation.  The sole survivor of the group was carried to safety by a park employee. 
One witness, whose group entered the attraction three to five minutes behind the victim group, later testified that when she reached a display called the Hunchback, she saw flames coming from around a bend beyond the display. She thought it was part of the show, but then smelled smoke and realized the flames were real. Her group started yelling "fire!" and ran back to the entrance, bumping into walls. 
Firefighters from 11 surrounding communities responded, and the fire was declared under control at 7:45 p. m. The park remained open during the fire, and closed at 8 p. m. , two hours early.  No one realized that lives had been lost until later that night, when firefighters searching one of the burnt-out trailers discovered the bodies, thought at first to be mannequins. 
The fire spotlighted a complex collection of local, state and Federal laws. The federal government of the United States is the central United States Governmental body established by the United States Constitution. New Jersey's Department of Labor and Industries inspects the safety of rides, such as roller coasters and ferris wheels. Locally, municipalities enforce state and local building codes governing fire safety and electrical wiring. A municipality is an administrative entity composed of a clearly defined territory and its population and commonly denotes a City, Town, or Village, or A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as Buildings and Nonbuilding In turn, the state's Department of Community Affairs is responsible for ensuring that municipalities enforce the codes. Finally, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for monitoring employee safety. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. A state panel investigating the fire said that the regulatory system had failed at almost every level; and that the Haunted Castle had been in violation of a dozen state fire codes. 
The panel said the state's Uniform Construction Code required the owners to install smoke detectors and several other common safety devices before the castle opened. A spokesman for the local volunteer fire department said it had not enforced the state requirement for smoke detectors because the township's building inspector said that the code did not apply because the castle was a temporary structure. 
Eight days after the fire, a statement by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said a 13-year-old boy had called the police after hearing radio reports that investigators were looking for witnesses. Ocean County is a County located along the famous Jersey Shore in the U The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the Common law Adversarial system, or the civil law The boy told the police that he had been befriended by a 14-year-old boy at the castle's entrance. He said the older youth, who appeared to be familiar with the castle, offered to guide him through. He said the older youth used a cigarette lighter to find his way down a long corridor that was dark because of a malfunctioning strobe light, and eventually bumped into and ignited a foam-rubber wall pad. The prosecutor exonerated the older youth, who has never been identified, of any criminal wrongdoing. 
On September 14, 1984 a grand jury in Toms River, New Jersey, indicted Six Flags Great Adventure and its parent company Six Flags on a charge of aggravated manslaughter, for "recklessly causing the deaths under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life. Events 81 - Domitian becomes Emperor of the Roman Empire upon the death of his brother Titus. Year 1984 ( MCMLXXXIV) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar) In the Common law, a grand jury is a type of Jury which determines whether there is enough evidence for a trial. In the Common law legal system an indictment (ɪnˈdaɪtmənt (in-DITE-mint is a formal accusation of having committed a criminal offense Aggravation, in Law, is "any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences but which Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being in a manner considered by law as less culpable than Murder. " The indictment also charged two park executives, the general manager at the time of the fire and his predecessor, with manslaughter for reckless conduct in ignoring repeated warnings of safety violations. Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being in a manner considered by law as less culpable than Murder. Recklessness (also called unchariness) is disregard for or indifference to the dangers of a situation or for the consequences of one's actions 
The criminal trial began in New Jersey Superior Court in Toms River on May 29, 1985. Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated Criminal law. The Superior Court is the state court in the US state of New Jersey, with state-wide trial and appellate jurisdiction Events 363 - Roman Emperor Julian defeats the Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, under the walls of the Year 1985 ( MCMLXXXV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar) The prosecution argued that repeated warnings by safety consultants to install sprinklers or smoke alarms had been ignored. The defendants denied any culpability, and contended that the fire was arson and that no precautions would have saved lives.
The prosecution called as witnesses fire-prevention consultants who had inspected the castle and recommended the installation of sprinklers or smoke alarms; and told the trial jury that after five years of semiannual inspections, the devices were not in place when the attraction burned. The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the Common law Adversarial system, or the civil law  Shift managers of the attraction called as witnesses testified that "none of the exit lights were working, bulbs were missing from other lights and there were no fire alarms, despite a history of patrons' using matches and cigarette lighters in the dark corridors"; and that their pleas for safety precautions had been rejected by management as too expensive. "Testify" redirects here For other uses see Testify (disambiguation and Testimony (disambiguation. They also testified that a ripped "crash pad" in the corridor had exposed foam rubber padding. 
The boy who had come forward as a witness during the initial investigation repeated what he had told investigators earlier, testifying for the prosecution that he had seen another boy his age, a boy he did not know, accidentally set the fire with a cigarette lighter by brushing its flame against a foam wall pad. According to news reports of the trial, no such boy was ever found, and no other witness testified to seeing such a boy. Under cross-examination by the defense, the witness denied starting the fire himself. See Structure of policy debate for cross-examination in Policy debate. 
The defense denied any culpability, saying that company executives had carefully considered all safety recommendations, acting on some and rejecting others; and contending that the fire was arson and that no precautions would have saved lives in a fire where an accelerant was used. In most Litigation under the Common law Adversarial system the Defendant, perhaps with the assistance of counsel, may allege or present Accelerants play a major role in chemistry Most chemical reactions can be hastened with an accelerant  A defense forensic pathologist said arson might be the cause, saying that "high levels" of benzene in the victims' blood "could indicate some sinister reason for the fire. Forensic pathology is a branch of Pathology concerned with determining the Cause of death by examination of a cadaver Benzene, or benzol, is an organic Chemical compound and a known Carcinogen with the molecular formula C 6 H 6 " However, another defense witness said there were no burn patterns or other evidence of an accelerant. 
Park officials testified that smoke alarms had been installed, but the park was unable to control vandalism to them and decided not to reinstall them after 1979. A park official testified that having an employee assigned to walk continually through the attraction was a good alternative to the smoke alarms.  A top fire-safety official testifying for the defense said that sprinklers and smoke detectors might have saved part of the structure, but would not have saved lives because by then "you would have had lethal combustion products throughout the facility", suffocating the victims.  His testimony was later criticised by other fire-safety experts as undermining efforts to advance sprinkler legislation. 
The jury, after an eight-week trial and 13 hours of deliberation, found the two companies not guilty of the charges. Interviewed after the trial, the jury foreman blamed Jackson Township officials for repeatedly allowing the castle to slip through cracks in the fire code. A second juror disagreed, saying that township officials were not derelict. Both jurors held the two companies blameless because they had been told by township officials that they needed no permit or sprinklers. 
The two park executives charged separately with manslaughter avoided trial and possible imprisonment by entering a pretrial intervention program that allowed them to perform community service. Community service refers to service that a person performs for the benefit of his or her local Community. 
The families of those killed filed civil suits against Bally Manufacturing, the owner of Six Flags; Six Flags; and the castle's builder, the Haunted House Company of East Orange. In law a lawsuit is a civil action brought before a Court in which the party commencing the action the Plaintiff, seeks a legal or equitable remedy This article is about the Bally company a manufacturer of slot machines and pinball machines The suits charged manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter. Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being in a manner considered by law as less culpable than Murder. Aggravation, in Law, is "any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences but which  One such suit was settled for $2. 5 million in December 1985. 
Immediately after the fire, several other New Jersey haunted-house attractions were closed pending fire inspections, including the multi-trailer "Gates of Hell" attraction on Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, built by the same company as the Haunted Castle. Casino Pier is an Amusement park situated on a Pier (Amusement Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, USA. Seaside Heights is a Borough in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States.  New Jersey and other states passed new fire-safety laws for dark rides and "any structure that intentionally disorients". A dark ride or darkride is an indoor Amusement ride where riders in guided vehicles travel through specially-lit scenes that typically contain Animation Orientation is a function of the Mind involving awareness of three dimensions Time, Place and Person. 
Park attendance fell sharply for the rest of the year, finishing 15 percent below the 3. 3 million of the year preceding. Park officials said pre-fire attendance levels were restored the next year after they reassured the public that the park was made safer by the addition of $5. 2 million worth of sprinklers and computerized smoke and heat detectors, while industry sources have reported that ensuing poor attendance almost caused the park to close in 1987. 
An independent film titled Doorway to Hell? The Mystery and Controversy Surrounding the Fire at the Haunted Castle was produced in 2003 by Peter James Smith, a long-time patron of the castle. An independent film, or indie film, is a film that is produced outside of the Hollywood Studio system, a series of oligopolistic practices by several Smith's documentary questions the official report's finding that the fire was accidental. He speaks of an "emotionally disturbed" youth with a history of setting fires who "kept playing with a lighter in his pocket", and says the youth was seen exiting the Castle as the fire broke out, questioned but not charged.
Smith also says that two earlier visitors on the day of the fire reported seeing a chained exit door, but were not called as witnesses. He further says that diagrams of the castle and its exits used in the trial were inaccurate, and did not show a metal fence erected to protect employees from hostile guests, something that would have made escape more difficult.