DOSWELL, Va. - An amusement park with a goal to give a good scare received backlash from coal mining families.
Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, has a haunted maze called "Miner's Revenge." According to the amusement park's website, "Miner's Revenge" was based on miners who died trapped underground in a coal mine who sought revenge when their rescue was deemed too dangerous. The park has since taken the description down, but it still angers Clay Mullins because he lost his brother, Rex, in the Upper Big Branch Mining Disaster that killed 29 men back in April of 2010.
"Our family members, we buried them, and they're in the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ now. Not no Halloween side show," said Mullins.
Kings Dominion did respond to the controversy in a statement from spokesman Gene Petriello. Petrillo wrote "'Miner's Revenge' is not designed nor intended to depict a specific situation, rather it is simply a themed Halloween attraction for the 2013 Halloween Haunt season at Kings Dominion."
Members of West Virginia's Congressional Delegation reacted to the Halloween maze.
Congressman Nick Rahall said, "Using mine tragedies for profit is an insult to a region built on the backs of miners. Kings Dominion has demonstrated an appalling lack of sensitivity by developing an attraction based on the tragedies suffered by legions of coal miners. Mine fires, collapses, and explosions are not science fiction or ghost stories, or the fantasies commonly cooked up for innocent Halloween fun. They are all too real nightmares of miners and their families."
Senator Joe Manchin also sounded off on the issue. "My heart goes out to the families. I just truly, to have to continue to relive this in the most horrible way and for people to commercialize it, it's just beyond my understanding and comprehension," Manchin said, "that anybody could stoop that low, could absolutely stoop that low for the almighty dollar, it's unbelievable."