I heard Revanant from Hauntcast talking once about the importance of creating a backstory for your haunt. It was a very interesting piece as most of his haunt lectures are. Admittedly I gave it some thought, but couldn't come up with anything unique, and I moved on to other matters of interest and it never got further attention. Such is the frustrating limits to my imagination at times...
Recently I was looking at some You Tube videos and came across the videos posted by Brad Goodspeed for his "The Butcher of Provincetown" haunt, and the topic of backstory importance resurfaced.
Mr. Goodspeed has taken the art of creating a backstory to a whole new level. Using social media he managed to create and publicize a backstory that was based on so much historical fact and familiar geography that the majority of his visitors believed it was the telling of a real legend of the area. I'm thinking to myself, how much scarier is your garage or yard haunt when the people believe it was built around an existing legend, when in fact the story was made up just to enhance the haunt?
If you watch his You Tube videos it's not hard to recognize that Mr. Goodspeed's occupation is a graphic designer and he is very familiar with Adobe After Effects software, but aside from that, his ideas of using your local historical society for photos and factual data, coupling it with social media to develop a "legend" instead of a backstory, is really quite good. Even his haunt characters get a backstory and people follow them on Facebook for the purpose of helping to make their characters come to life and believability.
Check out Brad Goodspeeds videos if you think a backstory is important to your haunt. I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's still a "thinking" time of year for us, no prop building yet, creating a "legend" is certainly something that deserves more time than we have given to it though.