There's something so delicious and tantalising about being scared out of your wits. People are drawn towards horror, as evidenced by the moolah horror movies rake in and by the popularity of haunts. Fear is irrational but very real and forces us to check over our shoulder, scan the darkness for moving shadows and makes our hearts thud in our chests. Horror enthusiasts crave for that moment when it's just pure, singular terror. That's why horror sells. Catering to peoples' darkest fears, haunted houses hire the best special effects designers from Hollywood to give people the scare of their lives. Hanging bodies and actors jumping out at you in the darkness are a thing of the past. These interactive, immersive haunts push people to breaking points where screaming, crying and begging doesn't work. These extreme haunts will make you walk through your worst hellish nightmares.
1. McKamey Manor
Location: San Diego, California
The haunt can go on for up to 8 hours and you will be required to sign a 10 page waiver.
McKamey Manor is officially the worst haunted house you could go through. The horror could go on for up to 8 hours straight.
The experience is so intense that you are required to have a medical certificate from a doctor stating you are perfectly healthy and sign a 10 page waiver in which you agree to force-feeding (read eat creepy crawlies), gagging, bondage, head shaving and ice water dunking to name a few.
Only two people are allowed to go in at a time and videos have shown people crying and begging to be let go. Sorry, you can't quit midway. Entry is free provided you donate to their Grey hound rescue organization. This house will probably traumatise you for the rest of your life, judge by the pictures.
You can watch the horror unfold in their promo video here.
2. Blackout Haunted House
Location: New York/ California
The Blackout Haunted House often has participants strip down to make them feel more vulnerable.
You can only enter alone into the Blackout Haunted House where actors are allowed to assault you, push and shove you around and use profane language. Be prepared for nudity and gross wet stuff like vomit and blood, but thankfully there is a safe word.
Participants have said that they were abducted and suffocated to the point of almost screaming out the safety word. They recount crawling through painfully small dark tunnels on bruised knees, forcefully being made to suck on tampons and their necks being touched by sharp metallic instruments as they floundered in the dark.
3. Freakling Bros: Victim Experience III
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Possibility of clothes getting torn off the body, bondage, gagging and physical violence.
Freakling Bros are good at what they do. Sending you through the haunted house, they take time to make you feel safe and then pull out the scare at that very moment.
They have professional wrestlers as actors, who engage in physical contact like picking you up and hauling you screaming to unknown parts of the house and even dragging people down hallways. Electricity shocks are given along with light torture and they even have simulated drowning. Survive firing squads and swinging on a rope over (seemingly) bottomless pits. Even seasoned adrenaline enthusiasts describe the experience as intensely painful and personal.
4. Dead Of Night
Location: Long Island, New York
The haunt uses abduction scenarios and people are grabbed and dragged into unknown parts of the haunt.
This haunted house mixes humiliation along with physical and mental torture. And there is no build up. The horror starts right at the entrance where participants were allegedly dragged into the haunt, thrown around and zipped into body bags while some were picked up and carried off.
Prepare for abduction scenarios, where you will be bound and subjected to submersion in water and unknown substances could be smeared on your body. According to The Raven & Black Cat, people were hit with ridiculously large fake penises.
5. Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres
Location: Pataskala, Ohio
Seriously chilling with a disturbing demon childbirth as one of the scenes in the haunt.
The sign hung up right at the entrance of the haunt reads,
“ATTENTION: Entering Dead Acres entails known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury. Risks may include among other things, slipping falling, collision with fixed objects or other participants…This may be the best haunted house you’ve ever experienced. Have Fun.”
The website itself tells you to be prepared to be dragged down a rabbit hole by your throat. Participants talk about how they were grabbed by the legs and towered over by figures holding chainsaws and even getting hit by the chainsaws.
6. The 13th Gate - Baton Rouge Louisiana
Location: Baton Rouge Louisiana
One of the horrors is a small cave full of live snakes.
In The 13th Gate, lines between reality and illusion are frequently blurred and the shaken guests have to wade through a live snake filled swamp, crawl through cramped subterranean tunnels, pass through voodoo shows and maniacal doctors sawing through people.
The nightmare continues as you're led into a 40,000 square feet New Orleans graveyard. Climb deep into an open grave and catacombs infested with zombies which you need to escape from to get out into the graveyard where the screams continue.
7. Pennhurst Asylum
Location: Spring City Pennsylvania
One of its horrors, the Mayflower Dormitory was on shows Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures for real paranormal investigations.
This haunt was actually built in the 1908 administrative building of the old State Mental Institution so the feel is very real. Dark, dank hospital walls with a room dedicated to experiments on humans, a 900 feet dark tunnel full of swamps, monsters and catacombs under the hospital grounds formerly used to keep mentally ill and epileptic patients are some of the horrors of Pennhurst Asylum.
The next horror is the Mayflower dormitory which is famous for its paranormal occurrences. It was featured on Ghostbusters as one of the most haunted places, and you're left there alone with just a torch. Good luck getting out.
8. Haunted Overload
Location: Lee, New Hampshire
Haunted overload is an outdoor haunt with huge props.
An outdoor haunt set in a New England forest, the Haunted Overload uses stunning props to create the effect.
Fogs, clowns, thousands of Jack O' Lanterns (one even 60 ft tall) and a huge headless horseman results in sensory overload. Enjoy the walk which is actually pretty scenic as witches, ghouls and werewolves creep the bajeezus out of you.
Location: Pontiac, Michigan
Around 912 people have been reported to have wet themselves or puked or passed out in Erebus.
If you're a haunt freak, consider relocating to Michigan because it is THE haunt capital in the world with around 70 haunts in a 50 mile area. Also there's Erebus who does pretty great on the pee-your-pants meter. Around 912 people have been said to either wet themselves or puked or passed out in the half a mile haunt.
Named after the Greek God of darkness, Erebus leaves you floundering in it as creatures fall on you, bite you and even bury you alive. They've got an awesome sound system and state-of-the-art special effects. Their props are original and creative as it strives to differ from the other haunts in Michigan.
Brace yourself to wade through a swamp up to your waist which tries to prevent you from moving, while creatures attack you and an Uncle Freddy comes flying out of a casket and lands on you. Good luck with that one.
10. ScareHouse: The Basement
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mild electric shocks and physical assault can be expected.
This haunt will have you crawling through spaces, expect headlocks, pushing and shoving with profane language and being restrained.
At one point they do try to cut you open with a knife and perform a medical procedure on you, but participants have said to make it out in one piece with no body parts missing. It's like an immersive experience which plays with your senses, while they casually dole out electric shocks.
Some of these haunts are on my bucket list. What about you?