Some people go all out for Christmas.
Rick Feuerstein prefers Halloween.
For more than two decades, the man known as “The Mad Scientist” has converted his garage into a laboratory for all things spooky – an homage to the monster movies that he used to watch as a kid with his brother.
For the last month Feuerstein has been putting the finishing touches on everything from the colored bubbling beakers to the Frankenstein replica that’s bolted down onto the table – making sure that every single wire and every single line is in the right place for his visually-stunning display of old medical and laboratory equipment that he’s been accumulating for years.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, he’ll welcome people to his home at 1373 Pajaro Avenue from 6:30 to 10 p.m. to see for themselves what has truly been a labor of love for many years. He’ll also have the lab open on Halloween.
“The night that people actually come is a lot of fun, but I also really enjoy the time that I get to be out there in the garage and put everything together,” said Feuerstein – who ran the attraction in his garage in Lodi for 16 years before moving to Manteca eight years ago. “It’s fun to pull everything out and by now I pretty much know where everything is supposed to go but I take pictures and video at the end of the year so I have something to look back on and make sure that I can solve the puzzle that it always is.
“Some people are into the scare thing where things jump out at you, and if you’re older or an adult and that’s your think that’s great, but this is just more of a visual thing and people really seem to like it.”
While he prides himself on offering something that’s truly fun for the whole family, Feuerstein said that it’s geared towards children that are five years of age and older because there are some elements that may be too scary for children that are younger than that – like the trick that he does with an air compressor and the innards of the man that bears a striking resemblance to Frankenstein.
While he’s limited in space to what he can put out these days, Feuerstein still manages to pick a few unique items up at the end of every Halloween season that he adds to make things a little bit spookier the next year – always thinking of something new and fun that he can add to make things exciting for those who come back year-after-year.
A medical supply repairman by trade, most of the items that he has available for display were either surplus things that he picked up from work, or from UC Davis when they were getting rid of surplus laboratory equipment – stocking up on beakers, old devices and even a Jacob’s ladder that gives the ambiance a truly official feel with the electrical arcs working their way up to the top of a pair of metal rods.
“This year was actually much easier because I don’t keep everything in storage like I used to – I found room to keep things stored at the house, and that it made so much simpler to pull everything out and get everything to where it needed to be,” he said. “The amount of people that come every year really depends on the weather, so hopefully we don’t have much rain even though everything is inside of the garage – people still have to walk to come down here.
“And people like seeing something different when they’re taking their kids around trick-or-treating, so it’s a lot of fun to see the reaction of people when they see everything that goes into it for the first time. That’s part of the reason that I do this. “
The Mad Scientist’s Laboratory is located at 1373 Pajaro Avenue, and will open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and on Monday, Oct. 31, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The attraction is free and open to the public.
Pajaro Avenue is off of Northgate Drive in north Manteca. From North Main Street head west on Northgate Drive, cross over the Tidewater Bike Path and turn left at the first street. If you reach the traffic signal at Holt Lane you have gone too far.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.