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Which Witch?/Ghost Castle Game: A Hair-Raising Haunted House of Horrors

The mysterious story of the Which Witch? Game, released as Haunted House in the U.K. then rereleased as Ghost Castle years later begins, as any haunted house game should, in an old English town known for its legendary hauntings. A little-known game inventor by the name of Geoffrey Hayes lived in Prestbury, which is famous for being one of the most haunted villages in England. Many ghosts including the Headless Horseman, the White Lady, and the Black Abbott inhabit this spooky village. These overly active apparitions haunt the town’s streets, churches, graveyards, inns, cottages, and, yes, castles. When Hayes was living in his supernatural surroundings he came up with a game and tried to sell it. At this stage the board game was very different from what Which Witch? would eventually become. His flat board was a simple path game with the unique gimmick of scary cards that turned your colored tokens from a kid to a mouse and back again. He presented his game to a Milton Bradley representative in London. The game did not yet have any three-dimensional walls or any frightening features that are triggered by an uncontrollable dropping “whammy ball.” Those came after it had been further developed by MGA.

Only after a long and twisted tale of development at Marvin Glass & Associates, where they added all the Mouse Trap-like features, was Milton Bradley willing to release it in 1970.  Then in 1985 Milton Bradley re-released it in the UK as “Ghost Castle” where they placed the metal “whammy ball” inside a glow-in-the-dark skull. Its current incarnation is made by Goliath where the spirited and ghoulish game continues to be hair-raising and skull dropping fun. The Marvin Glass US patent (#3,649,021) was filed in July 1970 and contains illustrations of some early features not used in the final game.

Original commercial:

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