Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Day of Scares

I decided I should do a Halloween post. Don't worry. I won't be sharing any of my ghost stories. I don't share those. They tend to freak everyone out, including myself. They're real. No need to embellish them to make them scarier. They are the type of things any ghost hunter would love to stumble upon. Every time I tell them, things go badly, like the camping trip I ruined.

So, I'll share a funny story instead.

Since I've experienced real situations that make me shudder to recall them, nothing much else manages to scare me. I laugh through horror movies. I argue with zombie shows that get everything wrong. I giggle through haunted houses and smile sweetly as the poor staff attempt to frighten me and fail over and over.

I love haunted houses though. Someday, I would like to run one. I helped out with one when I was twelve. I was in the dungeon room. It was so much fun. I go to haunted houses now for ideas and to see the wonderful sets, props, and makeup.

One Halloween I went with a group of friends to one of the better haunted houses I've seen. As you parked and made your way to the front door, people on stilts in crazy clown and bat costumes followed you, eliciting screams before anyone even paid for the privilege. In line, zombies attacked. The people selling tickets wore horrifying costumes.

My friends pushed me ahead and I led them into the dark. I easily spot the sliding trap doors, the peepholes, the boo spots. After a few ghouls tried to scare me, they got the idea to focus on my friends. I helped them. Whenever I saw an upcoming peephole, I'd make eye contact, point at someone behind me, and smile. The staff was wonderful and caught on instantly. It made for a fun night.

At the end of the house they had an optional mirror maze. We decided to do it. My friends once again pushed me ahead.

Them: "You're good at these types of things. You lead."

Me: "Okay. Fine with me."

I like puzzles. I spend a few seconds figuring out how to guide them through. We didn't bump into a single mirror or glass wall. I also managed to avoid the dead ends where people were hiding, waiting to jump out. Literally less than two minutes later we stepped out into fresh air. My friends had the gall to be upset with me.

Them: "You made it too easy."

Me: "You didn't have to follow me."

Them: "Of course we did. You know what you're doing."

Me: "I suppose you all could go explain the situation and see if they'll let you go again."

None of them wanted to. I was glad. I really didn't want to wait around for them for the half hour it would take to go through themselves.

But, the real story here is this, this haunted house managed to scare me a little. In the middle of the house part, before the end and the maze, we came to a dirt road flanked by cornfields. This was all indoors. I was amazed at the sets. We walked down the road and came to an old farmhouse.

In front of the farmhouse was a girl. She stood still, staring ahead with a blank expression on her face. She held a hammer in her right hand. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, not a costume, not a lick of makeup. She frightened me.

All the other patrons were flowing past her, unafraid. Some laughing at the lack of imagination. I made a wide arc around her, keeping her in sight the entire time. I then glanced back several times to make sure she hadn't moved.

As we entered the house, a few of my friends made fun of me.

Them: "You aren't afraid of zombies or psycho clowns, you didn't even flinch as people popped out of walls, you laughed at the freaky things outside...and you're afraid of a girl with a hammer?"

Me: "She doesn't look like she works here."

They couldn't argue with that. This is the way I saw it.

I still don't know if she worked there or just wandered in after escaping from an institution or prison. Have a safe and happy Halloween! Avoid girls with hammers.


Michael Offutt said...

Interesting. It reminds me of the effective use of the mongoloid girl throwing rocks at the haunted house in American Horror Story on FX.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

I haven't seen it, but I can imagine the correlation. I suspect the haunted house directors put the girl there specifically to freak people like myself out a bit. She really was the only "staff" person I saw without makeup or costume.

Anonymous said...

"Avoid girls with hammers."

Now you tell me.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Sorry, Doug. Hope you managed not to be bludgeoned.

Kerry said...

I admit that I get scared in these places. But the little girl with the hammer is absolutely the scariest of all.

If you're this good navigating mazes on foot, how are you when you're driving a car in a confusing new city?

Brent Wescott said...

I think your drawing of the girl with the blank stare is the creepiest thing about this. My imagination runs wild.

And I agree with Michael. American Horror Story is pretty good at using the mundane for solid creepiness.

Ruthykins said...

that sounds awesome! I can just see her standing there, blank. That kind of thing gets in your head. "what did she witness? what did she do?" is Hitchcockian a word?

Alyson said...

This reminds me of a news story I heard over the weekend. I woman was found hanging in a haunted house attraction. She was there for hours and the patrons all walked past her because they thought she was part of the show. Think about that the next time you go to one . :0

Candice said...

I may have mentioned this before, but I spook very easily. I HATE being scared, and am very easily startled. I refuse to watch horror films or go to haunted houses or corn mazes or anything even remotely like them. They freak. Me. Out.

The girl with the hammer probably would have thrown me for a loop too, though. Creepy.

laughingmom said...

What about girls with staplers or spatulas or wire hangers or OH NO...I'm SO freaked out!!!!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Kerry- I'm pretty good in a new city as long as I've had a minute to study a map first. I'm also one of those people who know which direction I'm facing even indoors.

@Brent- And I don't think I did her justice at all. She really creeped me out.

@Ruthykins- Exactly. I like that word.

@Alyson- That is freaky and wrong! I wonder if I'd have noticed. I can always tell the mannequins and such from the real people.

@Candice- Sorry. I find them hilarious. I was very surprised at how many people weren't phased by the girl at all.

@laughingmom- Yes, those too. Avoid strange girls with anything that can be used as weapons.

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