photo via facebook
Lemme start out by saying I hate being scared. I don't watch scary movies, I frequently have nightmares, and I'm generally paranoid of others. And yet a friend of mine convinced me to go to Vortex's Haunted House. One of the many rules that you must agree to is that you are required to go through alone. No gripping your friend's hand, no sharing the experience- it's you, your senses, and your imagination cut loose in a maze of darkness, violent detention and disturbing imagery.
We started out together in a holding cell of sorts, where fog and a strobe light quickly disoriented us to an unsettling degree. Then we were snatched one by one and set on a path towards uncertainty, walking along with one hand trailing a string on the wall and the other out in front of me as a precaution. I don't want to give it away, but be warned that their rules and warnings are to be taken seriously. You will sign a waiver, and if the experience is too intense for you, you can yell "safety!" and be removed. And an intense experience it was... suffice it to say that I found myself at one point kneeling in a dark corner with a Guantanamo-style black bag over my head, one shoe missing, my hearing blocked, blood smeared on my face and my hands tightly tied behind my back. I was broken down to relying solely on my senses once reason and logic went out the window.
The Haunted House is running through Halloween, however all advance tickets are sold out. They do offer a standby waiting list, and there have been a few tickets available on Craigslist. I was more unsettled than genuinely scared, but I think the element of being uncomfortable and disoriented was an interesting effect that not many could have achieved with such intensity.