MOUNT HOLLY — The seeds of what has grown into the "horror gallery" Nightmare Arts in this Burlington County township were planted in 2016 with an interactive troupe known as The Undercover Unit.

That group still is at the center of what Nightmare Arts owner Tony Slade, a horror movie and voiceover actor himself, tries to offer to the Mount Holly community ... but there's a catch.

He said there's actually a law in the municipality prohibiting psychics, so a pitch-black "séance" is combined with a ghost hunt to maximize the entertainment factor.

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There's a lot of haunted history in Mount Holly, according to Slade, right down to the building that houses Nightmare Arts.

"It's just ripe for ghost activity, and it's a super haunted space," he said. "We're constantly getting pictures that are thrown off the walls, and I'll come in and there'll be things that I know for a fact were in one place and they'll be in a totally different place."

As with any gallery, the artwork that is showcased comes and goes -- here, particularly, with the seasons -- but some items do stay year-round.

For Slade, it's been an opportunity to offer his friends and other contacts a place to display their creations and creativity in the months other than October, or at festivals or art houses that charge hundreds of dollars for a booth or exhibit.

"I just really wanted to open something where they could showcase their art and that they didn't have the huge fees," Slade said. "I don't take any fees from my artists."

Nightmare Arts
Nightmare Arts via Facebook
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Over the last several years, the popularity of Nightmare Arts has spread mostly by word of mouth, Slade said, not only among visitors but also the contributing artists themselves.

And of course, interaction remains a major component. Slade said a treasure hunt-style "Zodiac Killer" game throughout Mount Holly has just wrapped up for the year, but another event has been scheduled that will offer wine pairings for horror movies.

To find out more, go to nightmarearts.com.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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