NORCROSS -- Carley Edge spends her days working as a dog groomer in Hamilton Mill. But come nightfall, the 24-year-old morphs into a monster.
The petite, athletic blonde is unrecognizable as Dolly, one of the hundreds of otherworldly creatures that inhabit Netherworld, a haunted attraction in Norcross that brings the stuff of nightmares to life every October.
Dolly is a life-size, broken and tattered China doll that teeters around toddler-like outside the attraction, shaking her rattle at guests and sharing her already-chewed candy.
As the playful yet strange Dolly, Edge's long blond hair is hidden beneath a pasty white mask that covers her entire head, leaving only her eyes visible. Even those are altered by neon green colored contact lenses, giving Dolly a piercing, unnatural gaze.
While Edge's transformation is dramatic and quite eerie, Dolly isn't the most sinister monster in Netherworld's legion of unearthly creatures. In contention for that title would be Brad Rudy, a 57-year-old transportation analyst who moonlights as the Collector, a tall, skeletal figure that wields a shovel in his grisly efforts to collect souls, along with any body parts that strike his fancy. Clad in a battered top hat and tails, the Collector isn't above complimenting someone's eyes before making an attempt to steal them.
While this is the first year Rudy has taken a turn as the Collector, scouring the parking lot outside Netherworld in search of collectibles, he has worked for the attraction for the past decade, portraying a different monster every year.
"The very best part is seeing people I know here and them not knowing me," he said. "I call them up the next day, 'I had a lot of fun with you last night,' and they go, 'What? You were there?' -- which is very fun."
Like Rudy, Lawrenceville resident Michael Kasiske is a long-time member of the cast of creatures at Netherworld. By day, Kasiske is a client server design engineer for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. By night, he stalks the crowds at Netherworld as the mythical creature Krampus. At 6 feet, 7 inches tall, the 29-year-old towers over most guests. Wearing shoes with 4-inch lifts and taking into consideration the horns that protrude from his forehead, Kasiske's incarnation of Krampus is an imposing figure more than 7 feet tall.
"In real life I'm a pretty reserved, conservative-type person," Kasiske said. "You would never think that this is my fun."
Unbelievable as it may be, the allure for Kasiske, and for Edge, is a break from reality.
"It's good to be something different," Kasiske said.