Ivan Darkwood was a man of simple needs. As a carnival barker in the 1930's, Ivan loved his job, and he loved to entertain. For years he had been working for one of the most notable traveling carnivals in all the U.S. Everywhere the wagons went, the crowds flocked. Ivan was ecstatic. He commanded an audience where ever he went, and he craved the attention it brought. Other carnivals dotted the map, but none brought the people in like Ivan did. Threatened by fickle customers, Ivan sought to better himself and his carnival constantly, trying madly to create wondrous environments and make his carnival ever more extreme, he pushed his workers harder and harder, making their performances ever more dangerous. Ivan believed that increasing the danger of his performers would surely sell more tickets and brand his carnival as the most amazing thing on the face of the Earth. It worked....in a way.
Driven past the point of fatigue, many of the workers started getting badly injured from stunts gone wrong. Even his rides became unsafe due to his exhausted crew and their lax efforts. All nets were taken away from big top acrobats, against their will. No more safety harnesses, and no regard for his performers left them irritated and most feared for their lives.
One fateful night after the show had closed down and all the patrons had left the grounds, Ivan was attacked. His hands and feet we bound and he was drug far from the carnival where no one could hear him scream. There, in the woods, Ivan was brutally beaten and left for dead. But the spirit of the entertainer never dies...
The carnival picked up and moved on, and never a word was uttered about the mysterious disappearance of Ivan the barker. Most were glad to get back to the old ways...the safe ways. Eventually though, problems arose. People would go missing at the carnival. Workers, performers, even some patrons themselves. No one knew what to do, and no one knew what was happening. Soon the carnival had a reputation of being cursed, and the crowds stopped coming. The wagons would roll into town, but no one would show, for fear of their lives. More and more, performers went missing. And, eventually everyone disbanded for fear that they themselves would be next.
Seasons passed and eventually most, if not all of the old traveling carnivals faded out of existance. Movies and television had replaced entertainers, and no one remembered the old days anymore.
There are rumors though, that around October, near the old woods where Ivan was nearly killed, there is a place. A place like none other, a place like the old carnivals, that sets up to entertain guests one last time. It's supposed to be the 'Greatest Show on Earth” and promises that you will enjoy yourself so much so that you may never leave. They say it's run by a man in a top hat, that has an evil grin that never leaves his face. Surely that couldn't be Ivan returning for one last show....or could it?