Screams and a Chicken
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
A couple weeks past, a group of us got together and decided we needed to check out the local haunted hayride/house attraction that's just down the road from us. It's called Field of Screams, located in Mountville, PA - feel free to look it up but I'll tell you this: the website in NO WAY does justice to how freaky this place is.
Field of Screams is a Halloween institution around here and it's done so well that people will actually travel hours and from other states to experience the place. I live 15 minutes, with traffic, so it seemed foolish not to see what the hoopla was all about. I love scary movies and I like a nice haunted hayride as much as the next person. There are actually 4 "events"; the Haunted Hayride, the Den of Darkness, the Frightmare Asylum and the Little Screamers non-haunted, childrens hayride. We bought a pass that let us get into all 3 of the adult attractions. It was just hitting dusk when we arrived so we opted to do the hayride last so it was dark and we could get the full scary impact.
I need to set the scene a bit. After you buy tickets you enter a small open space. To the right is a small food court type area - think carnival/fair food and picnic tables. To the left are Halloween themed fair games like throw a severed head in a box and win a small basketball etc. Directly in front of these is a large, open, circular space. There's a band playing on a raised stage and off in the near distance are 2 of the f'n creepiest farmhouses I've ever personally seen.
We head towards the furthest of the houses all excited to get started; we're giggling and teasing each other and in general acting about 15 years younger than we actually are. We hand over the tickets and pause to chit-chat with the employee standing outside the house. She informs us that we made a great choice starting with the scariest attraction and that the Frightmare Asylum is her favorite. And there I am all bubbly and enthusiastic and so excited to get inside. She opens the door and warns us not to trip as you immediately walk 5 steps down. Oh did I mention I was first, as in front of the entire group?
Yeah as soon as she shut that door, I was regretting my position choice. You descend into a basement and the lights are flickering and the atmosphere is in general creepy. We all hesitantly move forward, knowing that 'something' is gonna happen soon, just not sure what. And a man in a mask jumps out from somewhere - I STILL can't figure out where he was hiding - I scream like a child and push to the middle of the crowd trying to get away. I'm not gonna describe step-by-step what happens through the 4 stories of this creepy house, but I'll tell you this: The people who work there are AMAZING at their jobs.
They're like hunting lions, they watch the pack and see who's the most freaked out and then hone in on that person. Can you guess who was the gazelle with the broken leg in our pack? Due to tricky little lawsuits and pesky assault charges, no one is allowed to actually touch you through any of the attractions, but they literally get within a hair's breadth of your face and body. As in, you can feel their warm breath on your neck and face as you cower behind your taller friends - ok maybe that last "cowering" bit is just me...
I managed to make it to the 2nd or 3rd floor of the asylum, through grisly rooms, freaky actors and horrifying imagery. I'm not sure what floor I was on actually, as I had my head down, grasping the sweatshirt of the person in front of me and whimpering slightly. I just sorta shuffled where my group went. We got to a small hallway that was narrow, crowded and dirty, but at least well lit enough that I could be sure there was nothing to jump out and get me. At the end of the hallway was a doorway into a room. Feeling reasonably brave, I kinda peeked my head into that room quickly and decided that I pretty much just couldn't do it. That was it. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
It was a small room, maybe 10x12 with several metal tables and what I later found out were a mixture of mannequins and actors laying under long blue sheets. The occasional toe popped out from under the sheet, complete with tag. In order to get through this room and into the next, you had to weave through the tables. I was 100% positive that someone would be sitting up from under a sheet or jump out from under a table and target me as the weak link.
Nope. No way. No. Not.Going.In.There.
So there in my hallway of liberty, I declared my intention to find an emergency exit and get the hell out! One of the actors actually broke character and directed me to freedom, bless him. While I was waiting for the rest of my friends to come through the attraction, I sidled up to a security guard and the owner/creator of the scariest place I've ever been, who were standing nearby. I forgot to mention but in that big open area, sometimes men with pig faces or men carrying chainsaws will come and chase you. I saw the security guard as a safe space believing that the actors wouldn't bother with him.
I congratulated the owner on creating such an amazing place and confessed that I'd had to leave the first attraction I tried. The security guard told me that he had seen me walk out of the emergency exit and was concerned that I was either going to vomit or pass out. Apparently my whole-body trembling was visible at a distance. As I described my non-glorious exit, the owner told me that it is incredibly rare for an actor to break character and help someone out of the house. I told him that 1 more shot of adrenaline to my system and they'd have to make use of the EMT's they keep on standby.
When my friends finished and found me, I was expecting a thorough teasing, especially from the SO. What I got were several big hugs and offers to stay with me while others went through the next attraction. Notice how they knew I wasn't going into that next house? I sent them all on their way demanding a full accounting of the next house and assuring them I was going on the haunted hayride as I had found out it was the least scary of the 3 adult attractions.
So, yes Ladies and Gentlemen, at 31 years of age I chickened out of a haunted house. Not only did I chicken out, I was pitiable enough that strangers were concerned and my friends didn't have the heart to kid me about it. 2 nights ago I had a nightmare about the chainsaw guy getting me.
My reputation as a badass is in tatters. Sigh.