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9. Bright Idea: Haunted Experiences November 1, 2006

Posted by Matt Fleming, PsyD in Experience, Service.

Markoff Also for Halloween, another Bright Idea: Haunted Experiences. The one I attended was in rural Maryland: Markoff’s Haunted Forest. On one chilly Saturday night in mid-October, close to 3000-4000 people paid $20 each and waited for about 2 hours to go on a 15-minute walk through a dark forest. The highlight for me was being jumped by three bloody men with roaring chainsaws (chains removed, of course); for my wife, it was feeling our way through a pitch black passage in a creepy cabin.

Saw III just made $34 mil on its opening weekend. Clearly, it seems that shocking and scaring the crap out of people is big business.

I can’t wait to make a road trip next year to Philly to check out The Eastern State Penitentiary for Terror Behind the Walls.

IdeaSpark*: a year-round, indoor, traveling haunted experience. Premium prices near Halloween, of course. Imagine several trailers in a local parking lot, with other local merchants and performers for a mini-carnival atmosphere.

Example of one section: You and a friend enter a darkened room. The doors at both ends close, leaving it pitch black. You hear giggling possessed girls around you as something brushes by your arm. A payphone is then dimly lit up in the corner and it begins to ring and won’t stop. You pick it up and a hushed whisper tells you to find the button at the bottom of one of the holes and press it to open the exit door back up; and to hurry, because poisoned gas is being released into the room. You notice three dark holes near the phone. You reach down one, up to your arm pit, and feel creepy crawlies, like a dozen rats, but no button. The next hole shocks you as a something grabs you and doesn’t let go. You notice gas in the room and a siren begins to blare. Your friend finally presses the button in the third hole, your arm is released, and the door opens. You rush out, into a hallway.

In the dark hallway, there is a bloody figure lying against the wall, head bowed. You suspect that it is a real person, but can’t tell for sure. You try to slowly inch by with you back pressed up against the opposite wall, keeping a close eye on the figure, expecting it to jump up at you at any time. Right when you are about to make it out of reach of the figure, something grabs you from behind, through a hole in the wall, completely unexpectedly.

You get the picture. The possibilities are vast. (p.s. The giggling voices are simply high tech speakers pumping in dynamic surround sound. The speakers are right next to remote controlled motors that spin wet hair around, around forearm height. The hole grabber is similar to a high-speed automatic blood pressure cuff).


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