24. Haunted Swing (from Pleasureland, Southport)

Inside the Haunted Swing in May 2007. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

The top of the swing in May 2007. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

The ride motor in May 2007. (Photograph: Nick Laister).

History: Neil Saunderson, writing on the Tunnel of Laffs website, provides some background to this ride: "The Haunted Swing was first introduced at Coney Island, and uses the method of illusion in a most effective and ingenious way, given its early invention date. Many new rides built in Continental Europe are updated versions of this ride, the Palaisdu Genie at Six Flags in Belgium being an example."

The Haunted Swing operates on a very simple, but convincing, premise. The riders, seated in the Haunted Swing, slowly swing backwards and forwards, gathering height, until the swing eventually rotates them 360 degrees...or so it seems. In reality, the swing just swings; it is the room that rotates around the swing, giving the illusion of swinging much harder and travelling much further than you really are.

Helters Ltd (a Blackpool Pleasure Beach-owned company which operated a number of rides at Pleasureland) added the 1001 Mirrors and Haunted Swing attractions to Pleasureland in 1961, on the former site of the Dive Bomber/Moon Rocket.

In 2003, Geoffrey Thompson opened ‘Abdullah’s Dilemma’, a revamp of the old Haunted Swing and 1001 Mirrors, combined into a single attraction. This was similar to the way two almost identical rides were combined into 'Impossible' at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

There is currently only one haunted wing operating at a UK amusement park today, that ride being at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The haunted swing tradition continues, however, with modern versions currently operating at Alton Towers and Drayton Manor theme parks, making this surviving Haunted Swing even more historically important.

Dimensions: NA.

Importance: Represents a rare amusement park ride. Dreamland featured one of these attractions, called the 'Rock and Roll House' and it is hoped that we can recreate this in Dreamland.

Latest: Now in storage for use in the Heritage Park.

If you have any further information on the history of this ride, please email nick@savedreamland.co.uk.

Click on the photographs for larger versions.

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