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Obituary: Lance Pope 1965-2002

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Lance Pope spread his time throughout the costuming, horror, were and animal welfare communities. He was a marvelous person, always ready to help the little guy, and it's with great sadness we present this obituary. The delay was required to have it cleared and approved, but it's still timely, as I know many readers have had the pleasure of meeting Lance in one of his incarnations, at furry conventions, on mail lists, or just stopping by Thrillvania.

From Mel White:
"LANCE POPE (1/27/65 - 12/17/2002)

Lance Pope, the multi-talented, energetic Texan who created Verdun Manor, one of the most celebrated commercial haunted houses in America, died December 17,
2002. He was 37 years old. He was an entrepreneur and businessman and a renowned craftsman with a keen eye for detail and a good understanding of how to create a memorable evening of spooky fun.

His fascination with haunted houses began early, when Haunted Cannon Manor became an attraction at the annual State Fair of Texas. Lance persuaded the owner to let him help around the attraction and started out sweeping the floors and cleaning up after the crowds left. He moved from that to acting in the scenes and eventually to creating scenes for the house.

In 1981, at the age of 16, Lance took $1,000 and built his first haunted house. The 400 foot square walk-through house was called Haunted Verdun Manor; the beginnings of what would become one of the most notable haunted houses in America.
...

click Read More for the full obituary. Thank you, Mel White, for providing this obituary.

His fascination with haunted houses began early, when Haunted Cannon Manor became an attraction at the annual State Fair of Texas. Lance persuaded the owner to let him help around the attraction and started out sweeping the floors and cleaning up after the crowds left. He moved from that to acting in the scenes and eventually to creating scenes for the house.

In 1981, at the age of 16, Lance took $1,000 and built his first haunted house. The 400 foot square walk-through house was called Haunted Verdun Manor; the beginnings of what would become one of the most notable haunted houses in America.

College didn't stop Lance from continuing with this dream. He moved Verdun Manor to Arlington while he attended college and worked at Six Flags Over Texas. His informal education at Six Flags included insights on how theme
parks work and how to do mascots and mascot costumes. At UTA, he specialized in Technical Theatre and used the techniques he learned in his coursework to make the new Verdun Manor in in Forney, Texas, a legendary commercial haunt.

In 1981, he opened Wolf Studios and began creating special effects for film, television, live theater, and haunted houses. Wolf Studio's film credits include "Armageddon Fabulosa" and "Graduation Day". His groundbreaking
werewolf costume designs (and the "Verdun Pack" of costumers who wore his creations) were well known throughout various fandoms.

In 1996, Haunted Verdun Manor was moved to Terrel, Texas, on a site with enough land to allow the expansion that Lance had always dreamed of. New houses and features were added each year; the latest was his spectacular, Disney-level animatronic feature, "Granny Lupus' Seance Theatre," which opened in October, 2002.

Lance is survived by his parents. The Verdun staff, Verdun vendor partners, Verdun actors, and the "Verdun Wolfpack" costumers."

The Verdun website can be found here

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Your rating: None

Yes, but how did he die?

37 years is very young to die in the USA.

Your rating: None

He just... died. I don't know if anyone has heard the official cause.

Melissa "MelSkunk" Drake

Your rating: None

He was poisoned by some of the chemicals he worked with and simply sat down and went quietly in a chair. His friends are reopening the park again this year.

Your rating: None

He was found on the floor of his mobile home, and a friend of his suggested that there was the possibility of foul play involved.

I used to try and buy materials from him for my own fall shindigs. Unfortunately we had a disagreement in 2002 and he died before it was worked out. That bothers me.

Your rating: None

He will be greatly missed. My sympathies to all his survivors. He lives a bit with each of you.

David Cooksey

Your rating: None

"LANCE POPE (1/27/65 - 2/17/2002)"

--You may want to change the date, this shows he died in February of last year, not December.

Your rating: None

Lance Pope was a man among men. I metLance when I first came to the terrell area and had lost my job, I heard Lance was looking for help at Trillavania so I applied, arriving at Trillavania the firt person to speak was Lance himself and the rest is history i became the Genreal in Lances'; hayride, lance was not a boss but a real man I respected dearly, I now am in my 7th year at Verdun Manor, my memories of lance are priceless. If the line of folks touched by Lance Pope were straight a man would never reach the end,,

I can see it now whe Lance got to heaven the first thing was "If we tear this out we"ll ahve plenty of room for parking, but the dang house has to be much bigger LOVE YOU LANCE THE GENERAL AKA DAMON NEWTON

Your rating: None

This never records my comments. Last attempt He evidently died of inhalation of chemicals while working, peacefully in achair while taking a break.

Your rating: None

He was working on some new material when he sat down, from apparent dizziness and rested his head on a hand. He simply did not wake up. His friends are preparing for another opening this year. I spoke to one of them recently since I'm offering my hearse for rides to haunted houses this year. Gene

Your rating: None

we are setting up a first year exhibit at the Scare Grounds, called The DeMente Graveyard, and we thought it was way cool that we could add some skulls and things that Lance made. We also designed a king sized tombstone which is a fancy tribute and looks great. One of his guys did up a corpse for us and it looks wild. I like to think it would give him a laugh if he saw what we have for display.

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About the author

MelSkunk (Melissa Drake)read storiescontact (login required)

a student and Skunk from Toronto, ON, interested in writting, art, classic cars and animals

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