Jim Terebus, owner of “Erebus” haunted attraction reflects on his time at OU

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Jim Terebus, owner of “Erebus” haunted attraction reflects on his time at OU

Erebus is a production worked on all year that employs the talents of more than just the actors.

Erebus is a production worked on all year that employs the talents of more than just the actors.

courtesy of Ed Terebus

Erebus is a production worked on all year that employs the talents of more than just the actors.

courtesy of Ed Terebus

courtesy of Ed Terebus

Erebus is a production worked on all year that employs the talents of more than just the actors.

Falin Hakeem, Staff Reporter

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The 1977 Oakland University alumus Jim Terebus recounts how the Pontiac-based four story haunted attraction came to be, witnessing people get the bejesus scared out of them and what’s next for Erebus.

Back in 1980, one of Terebus’ employers made him join a Jaycees group, which is a civic group for young business and community leaders. At the time the group was renting a 1300 sq. foot haunted house located on Van Dyke, which was called “The Gallery.”

“To tell you the truth, it wasn’t really something I always had interest in,” Terebus said. “It was fate that the employer made me joined the Jaycees and put me in the haunted house.”

Terebus said the haunted house only got bigger from then on, finally reaching 13,000 sq. feet.

“At that point it was getting to a big enough program where [my brother Ed and I] bought a building in Pontiac,” Terebus said. “That’s how Erebus was established.”

Though the attraction is not open all year round, Terebus describes it as a Broadway production that he and his team work on all year, which typically opens up around Sept. 20.

“The most exciting part about owning the haunted house is being given the gift to visualize space and understand how that works between what we do and the people that go through,” he said.

As for the theme Erebus represents, Terebus said that there are five different time zones with different themes and they arrange these themes to fulfill a certain storyline.

He said that working at the attraction displays a whole range of people’s skills.

“You’ve got people who are actors, people who operate displays who are mechanically inclined and people who enjoy the physical aspect of moving props around that don’t interact with the people at all on a personal level,” he said. “The one thing we all have in common is the rush of scaring somebody.”

Terebus said that there are about 17 “chicken exits” all throughout the attraction and that they even prep a “wimp board” inside.

“We have this huge clock that tells us how many people wimp out for the season,” he said. “There’s people who wimp out, then there’s wetters and pukers.”

He said for anybody who has never gone into Erebus, there’s nothing in particular that people should know about before going in.

“People can go to hockey game, a football game or a baseball game and that’s a fun time out,” he said. “But when they come to Erebus, it’s something that they hold and an emotional high.”

All OU students get tickets at a discounted rate on Oct. 25, which is Grizz Night in downtown Pontiac. Prices are normally $23, but OU students will be able to get them for $15 by showing their student ID.

To get the tickets, students will have to stop at Erebus Escape, which is a newly built escape room that just opened up in June of this year and is also located in Pontiac.

“We have some really big things happening next year as well,” Terebus said.

Will these ‘big things’ involve more wetters and pukers? We’ll just have to wait and see.