Welcome to Shocktober’s Camp Carlheim!

Kara Rottmann, Editor

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Camp Carlheim isn’t your typical summer camp. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not during the summer either. It’s right here in Leesburg Virginia, every weekend in October. If you want to spend a night with your friends wandering through a 200 year old house, with actor’s jumping out from every corner scaring you, then Shocktober’s Camp Carlheim is the right place for you, but not for the faint of heart.

“Shocktober is really thrilling!” Says Alyssa Harclerode, “It’s a fun way to spend time with your friends during Halloween.”

Shocktober takes place in Paxton Manor. The house was first built in 1868 by Charles R. Paxton. At the time, he was moving from Pennsylvania here to Leesburg, Virginia with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Margaret. The Paxtons wanted to live a lavish life, and the perfect 20,000 square foot home was constructed just for them. It wasn’t long before the family noticed unusual occurrences inside of their home and decided to do some research. 

It seems that the house itself is built on ancient ritual and burial grounds from Native American tribes such as the Catawba, Lenape, and Algonquian. There is also evidence that The Battle of Ball’s Bluff, a famous and bloody civil war battle, occurred right next to where the home was built. With all this bloodshed that has happened, psychic Sherry Sherry was brought in to help keep peace in the house, two years after the non coincidental death of both Charles and Margaret Paxton. Not long after, tunnels were found under the house from Civil War Era, that Shocktober’s attraction “Carnival of Souls” now use. There is even evidence pointing towards an underground cave that once was underneath the foundation of the house as well.

Heritage students (left to right) at Shocktober with one of the actors: Ava Austin, Hanna Dzaferagic, Carissa Baugus and Kara Rottmann

With all this paranormal activity happening in our very own backyard, it was evident they could use the house as an attraction for people. They have three events throughout the year, Shocktober, My Bloody Valentine, and they even have paranormal ghost hunts almost four times a year. Because Rachel Paxton had such a close connection with children, and the house was used as an orphanage and hospital for kids at one time, there is a trust on the house. Now, it can be used for anything as long as it benefits kids. While you are getting your scare on, the proceeds for you tickets benefits Arc of Loudoun, a non profit organization that benefits children and their families with disabilities.

Of course it’s a scary experience, actors walk around while your waiting in line, scaring you even before the haunt begins. However, it’s a great way to spend a cold, October night and it’s for a great cause too!