Today I learned that a couple of North Carolina entrepreneurs opened a "Wizard of Oz"-themed amusement park that operated profitably for a decade ending in 1980. It still exists, albeit not as a theme park. The more I learn about this place the weirder it gets.

1.The business partners cut their chops on an another N.C. amusement park called Tweetsie Rail Road that looks like something straight out of a B movie.

2. The Land of Oz featured a yellow brick road (now cracked and faded) and actors dressed as Dorothy (with a super sexy short skirt), the witches, etc. The idea was to wander around Dorothy's farm in Kansas (and hang out in her bedroom -- satisfying some repressed sexual yearnings for Judy Garland), then ride to the Land of Oz where you can visit the Munchkin houses, the witch's castle, the Emerald City, etc.

Land of Oz, Emerald Mountain

3. You rode to Oz in rickety metal gondolas shaped like hot air balloons.

4. The park ultimately failed because the parent company never recovered from a bad real estate investment in St. Croix, North Carolina after two couples were brutally murdered on a golf course and the tourism industry tanked in 1972.

5. Starting in 1993 former employees of the park started "Autumn in Oz" parties that evolved into annual re-openings of the park to wander around for nostalgia. What do you think is creepier, a decaying amusement park or old people dressed like Glenda the Witch wanting to talk about their summer job from 30 years ago?

Land of Oz, Emerald Mountain

6. You can rent Dorothy's house for romantic getaways -- who wouldn't want to get it on in a place re-creating favorite childhood memories (that is supposed to be picked up by a tornado)?

7. Back in the heyday people wore costumes like giant mushrooms. I have a feeling it felt like tripping while sober with the kids.

Land of Oz, Emerald Mountain

8. A derelict theme park sitting atop a mountain didn't stop the parent company from building a housing development all around and issuing access to the park to residents as a "private park." Personally, I've always wanted an expensive home next to an abandoned theme park.