Remembering Brigantine Castle in Pictures

The Castle in Brigantine, NJ
The Castle Brigantine

VIDEO >At one time, Brigantine Castle was the most popular attraction here on Brigantine Beach. Originally located at 14th and Brigantine Avenue, the castle pier was originally known as Seahorse Pier. Click below to watch video & see pictures.

Entrepreneur Carmen Ricci renovated the pier and constructed the castle. Ricci got city approval for the project by presenting a scale model and artist renderings.

Construction on the Brigantine Castle began on January 1st, 1976.

It was completed by Memorial Day weekend of that year.

Visitors swarmed until it was damaged by a storm in 1982. With declining attendance and a $500,000 repair bill, it was closed in 1984. Ricci sold it in 1987 to the city…. for $1 million dollars.

The Brigantine Castle burned to the ground on September 26th, 1987…… just as demolition was about to begin.

UPDATE from DARK IN THE PARK: Carmen J. Ricci, the person responsible for building Brigantine Castle as well as the Long Branch Haunted Mansion, passed away peacefully on July 21, 2012.  He was a talented visionary that brought joy and fear to thousands of people.  Our condolences go out to his family.  

There’s a cool display devoted to the Castle at the Brigantine Beach Historical Museum – 3607 Brigantine Blvd.  Call the museum at (609) 266-9339 to check for operating hours.

Click below to watch video & see pictures.

Have a favorite Castle story? Share it below.


25 thoughts on “Remembering Brigantine Castle in Pictures”

  1. Hey, that’s the video I made! Hope you all like it! The best job in the world, I worked there from 1980 until preseason of 1985 when Mr. Ricci called us and said, “Lock it all up, We’re not opening this year!” That was one of the saddest days I can remember from my youth. The closing of my home away from home! Even with all the other Haunted Houses and Attractions I’ve worked in, including The Castle Reunions and Castle Dracula, Brigantine Castle has never had an equal and probably never will! For those of you who don’t know, we have a Brigantine Castle Group on Facebook, come check it out and join it’s fun. you can chat with former Castle Employees!

  2. I can’t remember if the Castle opened on Memorial Day or on July 4th weekend of ’76… it was a holiday though and I remember it was POURING down rain : ) I can still see all the cars parked along Brig ave, & the side streets and the parking lot by the castle and the north end arcade.

    As a 12 y/o kid, the castle and pier (along w/ the north end arcade!) were so awesome! I have so many, too many, great memories of those days. It was the best!
    It wasn’t uncommon to see the black and purple Brigantine Castle bumper stickers on cars up and down the east coast.

    As far as the Haunted House in the castle, it was the best : ) I bet it took 45 minutes to get thru the whole thing – you got your money’s worth! I would guess I went through it 20 times (at least) over the years.

    1. Victoria Lanning Lasher

      It was supposed to open Memorial Day weekend, but the opening was delayed because the castle wasn’t finished. Those of us who were hired as actors were given the option to work on the castle until it opened, so we would get paid. I remember doing some of the painting of the “stones”, and “planting” “ivy” in the room that was sort of a jungle, just after the portrait room. I was the original “Lady Brigantine”.

  3. This was my fav time of year when we would go to Brigintine for a week for vacation when I was younger the castle amazed me my fav thing was the music the scary music coming from it its a shame it still couldnt be there now for my kids to see

  4. My husband and I went on many dates at the castle. I remember in the haunted house the actors were allowed to actually grab you and my big strong boyfriend said keep your hands off my girl. We loved the whole pier and were sad when it finally burned down. Brigantine is the best island on the east coast!

  5. I drove to the to the castle so many times favoring the castle and not going to wildwood , when they closed my heart broke in two I said to myself me and my friend will never ever walk on that pier once more ,please brigantine have the top officials put some money aside and rebuilt the castle

  6. Terri Allen_Crafton

    I do have to say my memory is when Dracula jumped out of the picture frame in the wall!! I was scared beyond belief.. I was in elementary school then.. I lived on the island and i loved it!!

  7. My favorite Brigantine Castle story would be working in King Arthurs restaurant for Tony Giordano. He was one of the greatest people I have ever met. He treated me and everyone else who worked for him as if we were family. I have always hoped for a chance to meet him again and tell him so in person.

  8. Maria Mascioli-Rametta

    I used to work for Carmen Ricci by day, and get made up as a ghoul and work in the Castle some nights. My good friend Sandy Battaglini was the make-up artist, who did a fabulous job! The Castle was so much fun to work and play. The Castle and the Pier put Brigantine on the map back then. I have a lot of fond memories working there!

  9. I floated as a cast member in a number of rolls the summers of 80 & 81 but three memories get me to laugh out loud even now: beheading a pretty blond throughout the shift as Egor Stuffer, as a cloaked Ghoul scaring people back out of the entrance, and finally for just one weekend, taking top billing as Dr. Rat. (“That’s rat, I said that, I’m Dr. Rat, and there’s two ways to get down from here, the rat way and the wrong way: the wrong way is through that door- five floors down, I wouldn’t do rat if I were you. The rat way is down rat path- Now go, before my little friends get hungry!”.) As far as I’m concerned Long Branch was never even a close second!

    1. Victoria Lanning Lasher

      I had to stand in for “Dr. Rat” one time, so he could take a break. I had a water beetle crawling up my neck and the side of my face, and I just ignored it. One of the guests asked if he could get it for me and I said, “no, he’s a pet”. As soon as everyone was gone I stomped that poor bug to liquid.

  10. I used to spend my paperboy money on that pier every week. They had a spinning wheel where you could pick from the most contemporary of music selections. I also worked there for about 1 week in the coin toss… “one dime, one time that’s all it takes folks” to win a large bowl shaped beer glass. I quit that job because I wanted to work in the arcade across the pier. That’s where all the girls hung out. I would have been 15 in 1976.. The manager “Teddy ” fired me because I quit working for him and went to the arcade..

  11. Victoria Lanning Lasher

    Brigantine Castle was the first “Haunted house” to have live actors interacting with the guests. I think all the other “haunted house” attractions along the Jersey shore had them by the end of the summer.

    1. Victoria Lanning Lasher

      Btw, I was the first “Lady Brigantine”. I provided my own costumes, and did my own make up. There was a picture of me standing on the mantel in the “Portrait Room” in one of the local papers, but I haven’t seen it anywhere online. I’ll have to see if I can find it.

  12. People forget the disaster the castle was to nearby residents. They would bring down busses from North Jersey with promises of a day full of activity.. The caste had two toilers for thousands of people so the visitors would be knocking on neighbors doors to use their bathroom. Also don’t forget that Mr. Ricci was related to the DEP commissioner at the time and had applied to get permission to blacktop the North end of the island for parking.. Thank God {or someone else} for the fire.

    1. Nephew of Corporal C.S. Ricci

      I request this one comment be removed and sanctioned undeemed. This is suppose to be for memories of good faith and happiness, Not for you to “trash talk” or put down such an Icon structure or memory for others that date way back. I myself lived on the Island since birth.
      Personal “defeats” and vendetta doesn’t belong on this memorable thread.

  13. I went in 1976… exquisite….there were paintings that looked real and students dressed with excellent makeup jumped of these pictures.

  14. Brigantine was a big inspiration for other haunted houses, even to this day. We never made it to the castle on the pier (we’re in Florida), but we admire its reputation and dedication to live actors over animatronics and interaction with the audience. We’ve been doing the same thing now for over 20 years at the other end of the coast! (

  15. We visited Brigantine castle when we were kids. I’m going to say grammar school days so we were around 8-10 yrs old. I don’t remember much except that I had a white t-shirt with my name ironed on the front (that was cool back in the day lol). Anyway, I remember a lights in the floor with some smoke and a jester (or a clown) telling me it was ok to walk over it. I was like NO WAY!! He just kept calling me over with his finger and I wasn’t trying to hear it. Finally he said, It’s ok Sonia, you can follow me. I freaked out & started crying asking my Mom how he knew my name. She laughed and said it’s on the front of your shirt!! LOL. I also remember waiting in line to get in. There was a character inside or on a balcony swooping his arm down into the crowd.

  16. I graduated 8th grade in the summer of 1976 in Byram township New Jersey and went directly from the graduation with the grandparents to brigantine. When we arrived the castle was still a long way from being finished. I watch that castle go up and I was one of the first people to go through it with my reluctant Grandfather and Uncle Frank both of whom are named Frank by the way. But this timeline does not make any sense because typically 8th graders graduate in June and everybody is saying the Castle opened on memorial Day. Can anybody shed some light on this discrepancy?

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