Every year I go to a haunted house. Not the kind with actual ghosts and spirits but the kind where people dress up in ridiculous costumes and jump out at you from behind dark walls. It’s kind of an annual tradition. It’s fun. It’s silly. It gives me a break from thinking about much of anything. These kind of haunted houses give people the chance to escape from reality for a few moments and enter a world where they are engulfed in nothing but pure emotion. Even if the haunted house isn’t actually scary, there’s a good chance someone will jump out and startle you. It’s not actually paranormal, but it’s a safe outlet for people with an interest in ghosts and monsters to have a good time.
As pointless as these things sound, there’s something almost addicting about the surge of excitement you get going through. It starts out with a little bit of anticipation and nervousness because you never really know what to expect. Then you get an opportunity to be scared without ever having to feel like you are in any real danger. Adrenaline rushes through your system as you make your way through. Or you get to laugh at the people your with when something scares them. Either way, it’s win-win. When you emerge you’re granted a brief moment of satisfaction on finding your way though and surviving. You’re in on the joke then. You can laugh at the lines of squealing young girls about to enter because you know that there is nothing to actually be afraid of. And they probably know it too, but it’s all part of the fun.
The new trend in these attractions is using actual ghost stories to lure visitors in. If they tell people they might encounter a real ghost, it adds a level of excitement and maybe even a small edge of danger. People line up in massive numbers in the hopes of being frightened by something scary. In a really well done haunted house, there are brief moments where a scene or creature seems too real. And people usually leave satisfied, because how are they ever going to know if something they see in those attractions is real? You can only go in hoping to have a good time. Maybe someday I’ll hear a story about a real ghost encounter in one of those things from someone besides the staff. I’m not holding my breath though.