The Haunted Shack

The Haunted Shack was one of the icons of Knott's Berry Farm before various factors led to its destruction after Halloween Haunt 2000. Below are pictures I took during its final summer, and a few pictures from an old Knott's souvenir book. Please excuse the quality of the shots as digital photography was not what it is today.

Knott's Haunted Shack
The Haunted Shack opened at Knott's in 1954. Everyday until its closure in 2000, guests came to the old shack to hear stories of "strange goings on" as told by Slanty Sam.

Knott's Haunted Shack
Your guide then led you through the shack, where you could see two people change height right before your eyes...

Knott's Haunted Shack
...a chair mysteriously sticks to the wall, without the use of magnets or nails...

Knott's Haunted Shack
...clocks running sideways...

Knott's Haunted Shack
...a chair that's nearly impossible to escape...

Knott's Haunted Shack
...water flowing uphill, and a portrait of Slanty Sam.

Knott's Haunted Shack Knott's Haunted Shack Knott's Haunted Shack Knott's Haunted Shack
This is one of the last exterior pictures of the Haunted Shack. It was taken in the Fall of 2000 while dressed as Dead Man's Warf for Halloween Haunt. As soon as the ghouls left Ghost Town for the season, destruction of the Shack began.

Knott's Haunted Shack
Two pictures of the Haunted Shack from an old Knott's
guide book.

Knott's Haunted Shack Knott's Haunted Shack
The back of the Boothill Mesa in 2000. The Haunted Shack was isolated behind this hill.


  1. I used to live in Anaheim in the mid 70s, and the Haunted Shack was one of my favorite attractions at Knott's Berry Farm. Man, I looked forward to introducing my son to it! I never learned the secrets of the shack, and now I never will! What a shame! Great memories, through.

    1. they have the same attraction out at Calico ghost town. Walter Knott used this site to base his ghost town on.

  2. I'm bummed that it's closed down. I remember visiting the shack as a kid and was just telling my kids that we should go see it.

  3. Spencer Dean Welch IISeptember 9, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    I was a "Shacker" waay back in 1990.
    I went back a few years later and was highly disappointed with the tour guide I had when I went through-no charisma.
    The attraction was closed by the owners in 2000 due to maintinence issues and if they were to rebuild it compatibility issues with A.D.A. regulations.

    Also they wanted to get away from the traditional market for Knott's [between Disneyland for the entire family and Magic Mountain with their focus on young adults] with a sharper focus on the young adult market, with more "thrill rides" and a cutting back on things like the Birdcage Theatre and street shows in Ghost Town.
    Just remember-"Open the door Richard, open up and let me in".
    Spencer D. Welch II?:>}

  4. We lived in SoCal in the 1960's, and I remember this attraction very fondly! My dad was an engineer and explained all the phenomena to us, but it was still fun!!

  5. My Grandfather designed the shack in Calico and designed and operated the shack at Knotts Berry Farm from its opening in 1954 until his death in the early 1960's. My Grandmother then took over the operation of the shack. Many of us in the immediate family worked as tour guides in the sixties and seventies forging memories and relationships that continue to this day. Although my Grandfather worked most of his life opening department stores for Woolworths up and down the West Coast and managing Whitneys department store in San Diego his passion was music and magic. He wrote many songs and musicals (known only to a few outside the family) but did win $25 for writing the fight song still used to this day at the University of Washington. The shacks illusions allowed my Grandfather to indulge his love of magic and allowed him to wear a cowboy hat and cowboy boots to work rather than the suit and tie of his previous occupation. My Grandparents loved the shack. He wrote and voiced the recorded welcome/history played at the beginning of each tour and judging from the posts and so many of the people I have encountered in my 60 years, his words still ring true...”You will undoubtedly remember you experience at the Haunted Shack for a long, long time.” I know I won't!

  6. Les,
    Thank you for your story. I don't think I'll ever forget that narration.