Update II: The last update on this story from back in October of last year had Cedar Point refusing to back down under pressure from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to change the names of two HalloWeekends attractions because they were insensitive. Well, skip ahead to August 2011 and Cedar Point has done just that. Two features — Dr. D. Mented’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane and The Edge of Madness: Still Crazy — will be renamed. Via WEWS, Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel says the park acquiesced because it didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. No plans as of yet to rename the Magnum because some men still get coaster envy when visiting the park. — Grzegorek
Update: Cedar Point announced today it won't bow down to the National Alliance on Mental Illness' concern over the park's attractions. The haunted houses don't represent reality, a park spokesman told the AP, and weren't meant to be insensitive or insulting.
Nothing signals autumn like a haunted house, a seasonal institution on par with the hayride and pumpkin carving. It’s a rite of passage every kid remembers well: the first walk through a dark set of rooms filled with hidden costumed adults ready and willing to terrify every kid and teenager they come across. Well, it looks like one mental health advocacy group doesn't exactly have fond memories of the venerated fall treat.
According to the Sandusky Register, the National Alliance on Mental Health wants Cedar Point to shut down two of the attractions at its HalloWeekends show. The group claims Dr. D. Mented’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane and The Edge of Madness: Still Crazy are insensitive.
“Both of these displays suggest that people with mental illness are dangerous and deranged and that the general public should be frightened of such people,” the alliance wrote in a letter to Cedar Point administrators. “Mental illnesses are biological brain disorders, they are diseases.
“Would Cedar Point ever even consider developing a display or attraction that used cancer patients as a means of instilling fear in their guests? We think not. And why is this? Because cancer is a serious disease. We would never want to paint individuals with this terrible disease in an unfavorable light," the letter says in part. “Why then do you feel that it is acceptable to paint individuals suffering from biological brain disorders in an unfavorable light?”
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