The Bill Tracy Project

Published April 2, 2010 by Molly

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Apropos of our post on the Theme Park Maps archive, WLYS reader Hugh kindly pointed us in the direction of the Bill Tracy Project. Reader, if you are interested in spelunking down into your most fearful childhood memories, we’d recommend you start paying attention right now.

According to its manifesto, the Bill Tracy Project is a website founded in order to “consolidate all known Bill Tracy information into one dedicated resource, thus, creating the largest official source of information pertaining to this subject in existence.” Um…who is the Bill Tracy to whom we owe such a fervent resource? Good question!

As for an answer, hmm. Where to begin. Tracy was a master of dark rides—theme park rides, that is, designed to convey guests through an indoor space. Early dark ride technology centered around things like ultraviolet lights and fluorescent paint and moved onto mechanically complex systems designed to give the illusion of, say, a female victim being severed in two by a circular saw.

Tracy’s hallmarks included complex facades and detail-oriented creepiness, and some of his most famous rides included the Whacky Shack at Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, Kansas and The Haunted House at Trimper’s Amusements in Ocean City, Maryland. Check out the site’s insanely comprehensive biography as well as the section full of rad concept drawings and ride layouts. Spectacular!

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