Haunted attraction Industrial Terrorplex, located in Jeffersonville, Indiana (directly across the Ohio River from downtown Louisville, Kentucky) will hold a public wake for a homeless man, who died from injuries sustained after being struck by car, as part of their show until Halloween night.
Carl “Kitty Kat” Heywood, 63, a homeless man hospitalized after being struck by an automobile on September 28th, told his friend, Nik Houpt, who had arrived at Clark Memorial Hospital on October 5th to check on his condition, just hours before his passing, that if he didn’t make it he wanted Houpt and his “other freak friends” to take him to “the haunted house” and let him “rest and say goodbye.”
Houpt told Empire News in an on-site interview at the nationally known haunt Industrial Terrorplex that he did not know what to make of the request, and just nodded his head and told Heywood that he would be fine and to get some rest. “He was in pretty bad shape and I think he knew. I really didn’t realize what he was asking at the time or how meaningful it was to him ya know?” Houpt explained.
As Houpt exited the Jeffersonville hospital he stopped, turned around, and re-entered the building to leave his telephone number at the information desk with instructions to have someone call him if Mr. Heywood’s condition were to change. “About three hours later the hospital called and explained to me that ‘Kitty Kat’ had died peacefully in his sleep,” Houpt said. “My heart just kinda dropped at that point and I kept replaying what he had said over and over in my head. I went and told Terry Campbell, the owner and operator of Industrial Terrorplex, what Kitty Kat had said. I don’t think he knew how to respond to that himself.”
Campbell, who has owned and operated the large, award-winning haunted attraction for several years, said that the more he thought about it, the more he realized what needed to be done. “I knew Kitty Kat didn’t have family, and there would be no service or anything, and I kept thinking about how he always went to extremes to make us laugh – telling tall-tales as if they were fact. He didn’t have anything but the clothes on his back, yet he found a way to make others laugh,” Campbell said.
Campbell would then set into action an unimaginable, unprecedented plan to hold a wake inside the over-the-top haunted attraction during hours of production, which customers would most certainly shockingly stumble upon.
“My really good friend Buffy Marie, who has dedicated a lot of time and involvement into the haunt, also happens to be a funeral director and mortician. I asked her if we could pull this thing off, and that money would not be an issue. We got it all figured out, and realized we could preserve him long enough to keep him laid out until Halloween. So we set up a room with a constant controlled temperature and steady humidity levels, rented a casket, bought him a nice suit, and there he lies. He was a troubled man, but possessed a really good soul. It feels good to know we are here for him,” Campbell expressed adamantly.
Thursday, October 9th at 8:00 pm, Industrial Terrorplex will open its doors to the always excited line waiting in adrenaline-laden anxiety to find out to what extreme the outlandish haunt has in store for them this year. It is anticipated that until word gets out of the wake, the gesture will shock customers.
“It is a risky move, but in the haunted house business we take risks every single year, and this time it is definitely worth it. Once customers enter the room, a greeter will give groups a brief history of Kitty Kat and how he loved hanging out around us all year as we re-designed and rebuilt our haunts, and explain what his body is doing there. It is possibly the first ever wake held in a haunted house,” Campbell said.
Industrial Terrorplex is open Thursdays – Sundays from now until Halloween. For hours and other information visit www.industrialterrorplex.com.