Almost everyone who knows me knows that I hate being startled. Surprise parties? Forget it. A non-traditional doorbell? Absolute misery. Any game that utilizes a timer? Panic attack.
So why would I torture myself by paying to be startled by people in a haunted house? I’m not sure, but when I was younger I did let myself get talked into it a few times. Twice, in fact, I went to haunted houses in Salem, Massachusetts. Once, when I was about 17, my very stoic mother took me and my very excitable friend to a walk-through haunted house.
In my memory, it was huge and imposing, but it must have just been a couple of trailers stuck together or something, considering the damage I ended up causing to it. We entered first into a long hallway, which was fairly empty. At the end of it was a guy, who was sitting on a chair. I don’t even think he had any sort of costume on. I just remember saying to my friend, “That guy is going to stand up!”
Even though we were both teenagers who had presumably seen a lot of people standing up from chairs, the thought terrified us, and we had a hard time walking down the hallway. We probably wouldn’t have made in more than a few inches, were it not for my mother, who took us both by the hand and led us past the sitting man.
Of course, we were right in mistrusting him, since as soon as we walked by, he got up and yelled at us. Never being one to take anything lightly, I yelled right back. Then we started off down the hall again, trying to make it back into the safety of my mother’s reach. Well, the actor was probably angry at getting yelled at, and he not only chased us, but touched my shoulder. I grabbed my friend and proceeded to run way faster than I have ever run in my life, passing my mother and running into a wall, which promptly broke.
We had broken their trailer, but we were free! Free to go into the next haunted house and get our revenge, that is! What follows is a very scary look into how my mind works, and is probably not for the faint of heart. You have been warned!
In addition to the rather generic haunted house we had visited with my mother, there was also a pirate-themed haunted house on Pickering Wharf (for those who know the city of Salem). It was called Captain Scurvy’s Haunted Wharf. We made our plan and went there the next day, this time without my mother, who had had enough of our shenanigans, and implored us to “act like young ladies.”
That, of course, was not happening. Instead, we went to visit Captain Scurvy, armed with our weapon of choice. Our weapon of choice being an old-school flash camera. Scared but determined, we entered the Haunted Wharf. We picked our way through the darkened halls until we encountered our first pirate, who, somewhat predictably, yelled, “ARGH!” at us.
The time was right and we struck. Using all of our willpower, we did not run from him, but held our ground and screamed back, way louder than he had screamed at us. (My friend and I have always been exceptionally good at screaming.) Then we pulled out our secret weapon and took a picture. The fantastic result is below. We left, laughing hysterically, having taken our sweet revenge. The person, who would forever be known to us as Captain Scurvy, was blinded by our camera flash for approximately three to five seconds. Take that, haunted houses everywhere!