Very quickly one hears people mention a name consistently.
"As soon as Leonard says it's
"I'll ask Leonard."
"Leonard really worked hard"
Of course they're talking about a well known Haunter, Leonard Pickel. Those surrounding Leonard, speak fondly of him, and seem to wait for his approval on items. For the industry, Leonard is an innovative and creative individual striving to bring professionalism and credibility to a business many see as a hobby.
According to HAuTNcon (2010), Leonard is, "Called the “godfather” of the Haunted Attraction Industry..." His credits include owner of D.O.A. (a Haunted Attraction consultanting firm), co-founder of Haunted Attraction Magazine (the industry's first magazine) and founder of IAHA, International Association of Haunted Attraction. Leonard's push for legitimatizing the industry through IAHA was met with, "heated opposition from some factions of the industry, Leonard was instrumental in establishing and organizing the fledgling association." (HAuTNcon, 2010). This did not persuade him, "In less than one year after IAHA’s non-profit incorporation, the association had an impressive 150 voting members and in the 5 years that followed the membership reached 500." (HAuTNcon, 2010)
Today, using HAuTNcon Leonard continues to push the boundries of the industry, while bringing as many professional and amaetur haunters as possible. This is evident, in his welcoming demeanor, and availability. Leonard was always walking the halls of HAuTNcon. He continues, even publishing articles on his thoughts of the future of Haunting.
For all his work, I bet that his legacy will be foundational. But also breaking barriers to bring first timers (such as me!) into the business. Leonard's welcoming spirit (no pun intended) is a valueable asset in an industry which at times can choatic.
Learn more about Leonard Pickel through his site:
or visit him at the annual HAuTNcon!
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