Public art installations. We’ve seen colourful Cow Parades, Super Lamb Bananas and many more… but a crashed lift? This is something new. Jutting at an angle from smashed and upturned paving slabs, a very familiar elevator cabin first appeared yesterday in Leicester Square, one of the busiest public spaces in London’s West End and best known as the home to most European and British film premieres.
Just across the way from the Empire Cinema, a cracked and rusted elevator cabin appeared overnight in the square, surrounded by black and yellow hazard tape, as if dropped out of the sky from a great height through an opening in the Twilight Zone. The cables and mechanisms on top were rusted and snapped, the words “Service Elevator” clearly written above the doors.
Through the murky and dirty windows, passers-by could peer inside to see mysterious imagery from the attraction and The Twilight Zone television series. Keeping guard throughout the day were a team of real bellhops, dressed in the now-familiar Parisian Tower of Terror costumes, creeping around the public who dared to look closer, and hosting several special games and entertainments as the crowds gathered. Written on the sides of the box was simply “www.towerofterror.co.uk”.
It was a little piece of Hollywood Tower Hotel magic in the heart of London, as the resort continues to build momentum with its large-scale advertising campaign for the new attraction. Not since the opening of the resort in 1992, when a miniature Sleeping Beauty Castle toured European cities, have we seen such exciting initiatives to create a buzz about the magic.
Also today, the resort issued a national press release for the UK mapping out 13 Twilight Zone “hotspots” around the country, places where surprising levels of paranormal activity — and belief — have been recorded. Here it is in full:
NATIONAL PRESS RELEASE UK 13 TWILIGHT ZONE HOTSPOTS REVEALED
Brummies beware! According to new research out today from Disneyland Resort Paris, Birmingham is the twilight zone capital of the UK, recording the highest levels of supernatural phenomena.
The research, which looked at strange happenings and unexplained mysteries across the country, reveals the UK’s ‘capital’ and 13 hotspots for twilight zone activity. Commissioned to celebrate the launch of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror* – a new attraction at Disneyland Resort Paris, inspired by the 1950s TV series The Twilight Zone® – the research has formed the basis of a spotter’s guide to the UK’s real twilight zones.
UK 13 TWILIGHT ZONE HOTSPOTS
‘¢ Birmingham — the twilight zone capital of the UK
With almost two thirds (61%) of Brummies believing in the supernatural it’s hardly surprising that the city boasts some of the country’s most bizarre twilight zone activity — from giant hailstones and alien rocks plummeting from the heavens, to phantom policemen, mysterious fires and mince-pie eating Martians.
One example of bizarre Brummie behaviour is when Sylvia Mowday, from Sutton Park, Birmingham, was walking through the park on 12 June 1954, when there was a sudden downpour. She said, “My four-year old daughter put up her little red umbrella and we heard things thudding against it. To our amazement it was a shower of frogs, coming down from the sky, hundreds of them. We looked up and saw frogs coming down like snowflakes”.
The rest of the country shares the same paranoia, with over half (59%) of Brits believing in the paranormal. Other UK hotspots include Bristol, where 12-year old Vvyan Jones from Henbury, broke his arm and for the next two days his hair stood on end. He developed the power to give people strong electric shocks, make lights flicker, watches stop and the TV crackle. Now that’s what you call a shocking excuse for late homework!
If you’re Scottish, watch out for strange happenings in Edinburgh, specifically the Tranent area. In 1997 a phantom lamp lighter began turning on street lamps during the day for no apparent reason — luckily he vanished unharmed, otherwise Burn’s night would have taken on a strange new meaning!
For those of you not sure whether you’ve ever been to a twilight zone before, Disneyland Resort Paris, with the help of author David Sutton, has created ‘A spotter’s guide to the UK’s real twilight zones’. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the information contained in the guide will help dispel any doubts, with an A-Z of twilight zone phenomena, as well as tips on how to enter the fourth dimension and side-effects to watch out for. Drop in to www.towerofterror.co.uk to download your copy!
David Sutton, editor of the Fortean Times and author of this spotter’s guide to the UK’s real twilight zones says, “There are millions of unexplained happenings in our world that can occur anytime and anywhere. This guide throws open the door to the 4th dimension for all to see. It’s a fun starting point for your personal exploration of the UK’s real twilight zones.”
Dr. Kenny Webster, Resident Scientist at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum remarks: “It will come as no surprise to the residents of Birmingham that we live in our very own twilight zone. Birmingham has the youngest population in Europe and it is well recorded that children are highly susceptible to paranormal events, there are many cases of ‘imaginary friends’ in children which are now being attributed by some as ghostly interactions.”
Miguel Piedra, PR Director, Disneyland Resort Paris comments: “We haven’t had anything as odd as frogs falling from the sky in Disneyland Resort Paris, but we can certainly offer everyone the chance to drop 13 floors when they ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disneyland Resort Paris — they may even get to enter the 4th dimension!”
The ‘Spotters Guide to the UK’s Real Twilight Zones’ can be downloaded via the Library of the official Tower-of-Terror.co.uk website here (click the lamp on the left of the screen), a downloadable mini-book with countless fun stories of strange apparitions and paranormal events across the UK. A good idea, not only because Brits seem to have a strange appetite for these kind of mysteries, but because it brings the feelings of the attraction itself a little closer-to-home for people right across the country.
The guide also reveals the firm who appear to be behind some of the events so far — Cow PR (you can find their website here). Their slogan is “We’re not sheep”, and they promise to not follow the herd when it comes to advertising. “We steer clear of ‘factory-farmed’ PR and look for new ways of getting in front of your audiences,” they say. They’ve certainly achieved that with the Tower of Terror.
No information about the crashed elevator cabin appearing in other cities has been released, however, but given the quality and scale of the “art installation”, it would seem a strong possibility this wormhole into another dimension won’t be a one-off.
Keep your eyes open… you never know when The Twilight Zone will open up again…
— Find more details of the UK publicity campaign here. The campaign is due to officially begin from 5th April. Amongst the plans, the Centrepoint billboard in London will be turned into a giant reproduction of The Hollywood Tower Hotel for four weeks.