The Experimental Mine at the University of Missouri-Rolla is haunted again this year and will be open to the public Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22, as well as on Oct. 28-29 and Oct. 31. On the first four nights, the mine will be open from 6 p.m. until midnight. The hours for Halloween night, on a Monday, will be 5-10 p.m.
The Experimental Mine is located on Bridge School Road in Rolla, about 1.5 miles from campus. UMR mining engineering students will do most of the haunting.
“This year we have utilized a lot more mining equipment and situations to give the experience more of a mining atmosphere,” says Adam Eatherton, a junior in mining engineering from Pacific, Mo.
Josh Hoffman, a junior in mining engineering from Austin, Texas, says planning for the event began in September.
“From the moment you enter, you are subjected to a realm of limited light and overwhelming shadows,” Hoffman says. “The walls are narrow and the roof low. At times, one must stoop to continue on. Hard hats are of course required — it is a mine, after all. With each bend, a new horror. At times, one could be cast into complete darkness; at others, enveloped completely in fog.”
The experience lasts anywhere from five to 10 minutes.
“The best part of the Haunted Mine is scaring the crap out of people,” says Joe Cohn, a senior in mining engineering from Bridgeton, Mo. “I can always find the perfect spot, and I can honestly say that only a handful of people have gotten by me without jumping backwards.”
Cohn adds that working at the Haunted Mine is a great way to relieve stress during the semester.
The first Haunted Mine began in 1997 as a fund raising idea created by Dr. Paul Worsey, professor of mining engineering at UMR, and mining student Keith Wheeler, who graduated from UMR in 1998.
“Many of our students were laughing at the idea at the time,” says Barb Robertson, secretary of the mining department. “They are not laughing any longer.”
During the first year, the Haunted Mine brought in a little more than $3,000. In 2004, the event raised more than $13,000.
Money raised from the Haunted Mine goes to the student chapters of the four mining organizations at UMR: the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration; Women in Mining; the International Society for Explosives Engineers; and the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. This year, funds earned at the Haunted Mine will also go to help students who want to compete in the Mine Rescue Competition in New Iberia, La., and at the International Mucking Competition in Australia. Additionally, funds will go toward helping more students attend national conferences.
Tickets for the event are $6 for adults and $4 for ages 10 and under. Visitors who bring two canned goods will receive a $1 discount. Canned goods will be donated to the Russell House, a local shelter for battered and abused women and children. Those with military identification also receive $1 off.
For more information about UMR’s Haunted Mine, call 341-4753.