For those jaded souls whose bones don't chill, hit the highway for Terrell. No, not for the mental hospital. Head for the old Verdun estate. Legend has it that in 1901, Baron Michael Verdun, a psychopathic werewolf, built a grotesque house on Voodoo Bayou where he conducted cruel experiments on travelers, turning them into human-animal hybrids. He also hosted fiendish masquerades with his vampire wife, Lady Cassandra, serving human flesh to his inhuman guests until intolerant vigilantes set the manor afire and murdered Verdun and Cassandra. The Verduns and their creatures still haunt the rotted mansion and its overgrown cemetery. In addition to the haunted manor, the Verdun estate is the inhospitable home to Cassandra's Labyrinth of Terror, loaded with scenes from her disturbing past; Sam Haines Hayride, featuring putrefying zombies as well as scenes of torture, cannibalism and unnatural death; and Granny Lupus' Séance Theatre, where the Verdun family matriarch stirs up the manor's resident spirits. In case you haven't guessed, the Verdun estate is a terror theme park--Thrillvania, to be exact--and likely not an actual haunted historic site, at least not once Halloween has passed. The Brothers Grim, featuring the "world's greatest collection of human oddities" contained in a 1920s-style sideshow (think sword swallowing, fire breathing and bullwhip cracking), and the Museum of Ancient Ritual, Oddities and Witchcraft are also on hand. The former features Enigma, the famous puzzle-piece-tattooed guy. Thrillvania, Interstate 20 and Wilson Road, is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 26 and nightly through November 1. Hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Admission to all of the haunted attractions is $25. Cheaper tickets for individual attractions are also available. Children under 12 aren't welcome. Call 214-866-8666 or visit www.Thrillvania.com for more information. --Cheryl Smith
Scads of Plaid
Bedford, Texas. Celtic festival. Anyone else not seeing the connection? Just the idea of Bedford men in skirts sounds a little suspicious, and hairy. But if Bedford wants to have a Celtic Heritage Festival celebrating the heritage of seven Celtic nations by featuring modern Celtic music, dancing, Highland Games, a marketplace, children's activities, cultural workshops, traditional storytelling, food and drink and a Celtic dog parade, then that's just all cool, hip and groovy. The festival runs October 10 through October 12 at the Bedford Boys Ranch City Park, 2801 Forest Ridge Drive. Times vary day to day. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. Children 10 and under get in free. Call 817-469-6709 or visit www.celticheritagefestival.org. --Mary Monigold
Rock Your Memory
Let's face the music. Rock makes fashion. The white frills of Jerry Lee Lewis. The black Slash top hat. The pink Sex Pistols suit. These little glimpses of rock history, plus many more, can be found at Hard Rock Café on October 11 and October 12. Clothes, guitars, records and photographs from Buddy Holly, Gwen Stefani, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley will be on display for free during Hard Rock Café's first-ever, 19-city Vault Tour. The Vault started in '83 when Eric Clapton decided to put his guitar above his favorite stool at the original Hard Rock in London. A week later Pete Townshend did the same. It's true--even rock stars follow trends. The Hard Rock Café is located at 2601 McKinney Ave. Call 214-855-0007. --Desirée Henry
Wielding a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and a rich family background, Iris Chang has captured the essence of Chinese history for less than a decade. The best-selling author of the controversial book The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II comes to Fort Worth's cultural district on October 14. The Asian American Journalists Association and Fort Worth Star-Telegram will host the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. Tickets are $18 in advance, $25 at the door and are available at www.ticketweb.com or by calling 817-390-7808. Proceeds from ticket and book sales benefit scholarships, student workshops and other programs of the AAJA, a nonprofit organization. --Jenice Johnson
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