by Girl Behind the Lens – Daiyu Tang
Location: Hathian Haunt SLURL
The Hathian Haunt, sponsored by a number of businesses in the town has been constructed for Halloween and is owned by Vicus Volkoff (vicus.grau). Vicus has brought a number of years of experience in building Haunt style attractions to this creation in Hathian and the town is certainly richer (and more frightened!) for it.
Your reporter was asked by her bosses at the Observer to go on an exploration, take in the sights and frights and either excite you to attend yourself, or at least allow some of the horror to creep into your living rooms through my lived experience in the Haunt.
So, since I’m writing this; I obviously survived. However, it was a close call, parts of the Haunt induce an increasing sense of isolation, horror and flight or fight which, at least in me, led me to flee the first time I went. The problem was, there is only onwards, not back… Anyway reader, yes… I did flee with my eyes covered, but it’s also true I went back again for a second round and this time, was at least braver for the bits I’d already seen. Stitching together (haha) the photos and notes I made from both these attempts, I hope you find this little tour frightfully interesting. What I will say though is, I’ve not spoiled many of the secrets and you really should experience this for yourself…
The Market – aka ‘Upstairs’
So reader, at ground level the Haunt is setup with a range of both shops, sponsorship booths and small scenes. For example, you’ll see in the photo above Chucky, who may or may not at that point have been telling me ‘not to move or else’… You’ll also find food, drink and some cool gifts being given out by staff at the event. The overall atmosphere is still however spooky and in particular at night ((Use Midnight or Midnight (Good) settings or similar)) the neon, smoke and general lighting effects really do provide an unsettling atmosphere.
I saw Sadako from Ringu, a Vampire setup as well as Witches, sea-creatures and a range of other scares. I warn visitors that some are animatronic and come to life when you’re near, or some are staff who do a remarkable impression of being still… dead still… before leaping for you. Yeah… eep!
“Sin Will Find You Out” – nice. I mean, which of us hasn’t sinned before, and while these throw-away phrases in normal circumstances would be met with derision… I mean I am Goth after all! In the febrile atmosphere of the Haunt, it felt creepy standing in this little derelict church, not to mention the fact I could swear the coffin lid was moving.
So at ground level as you walk around, you go past these various ‘attractions’ following a somewhat clear path around what appears to be an abandoned motel. At the start of the Haunt you are given a clue that a certain object needs to be found in order to progress further into the ‘maze’. I am aware of a few readers (Yes Toby from FDH, this includes you!) who thought that they had finished the event yet had not found this object. Any of you who did this are missing out on 85% OF THE FRIGHT (and clearly can’t follow instructions!). Anyway, look for the object and once you have it, staff will escort you into a more hidden part of the Haunt… and it was here that I really started to get scared the first time I went round… Here’s a photo of the room with that object in it prior to me being collected for the scarier section…
Room 1 – Do you like Dolls?
So, I took the object and when I touched it, staff came and escorted me through a secret door to the next part of the attraction.
Do you like dolls reader?
I don’t like dolls! I really don’t!
And yet, here I was in a room surrounded by dolls and mannequins who seemed to follow me with their ‘eyes’ or possibly even more when I wasn’t looking… Creepy shit. I’d not been allowed by camera crew once into the main part of the maze, but having had the camera passed over to me, I was able to take both video and stills. The camera was heavy though and it wasn’t great for running with! Although at the time, I convinced myself it would be a good blunt force weapon if I needed it. As you can tell readers, I was already starting to have a little difficulty distinguishing that this wasn’t real… that it was just an attraction.
A scary attraction!
Room 1a – The Meat Haus (or Hopper Home recreation?)
After navigating past dolls, back against the wall and trying not to freak out already, I made it into what I can only describe as what I imagine Ain Hopper’s little place must be like. Christ, it’s like Vicus must’ve visited one before… (the alternative that Vicus is a Hopper is an avenue to explore later!), anyway in this meat Haus was an operating table, various anatomy diagrams and one about what cut of human is the best to cook. Christ… so this room was a little gory and it didn’t help next two things. Firstly, some ass in a costume snapped a picture of me in the room and worse, they then bundled me over to what appeared to be an electric chair and proceeded to mock execute me. I was just at this stage holding on, but Christ, my nerves were being shredded. The fake electricity noise almost gave me a heart attack!
Yeah so, they handed me the photo of the ‘Haus’ and the mock execution when I came round the second time. It’s kinda like those ride photos on roller-coasters… but infinitely more terrifying. I guess the setting in Hathian also makes it worse, these things probably do happen…
After this I was unceremoniously pushed towards another door and sweating and I’m not ashamed to mention it, with tears in my eyes, I was escorted to the next room.
In the next room, which was bathed in red light, was a bathtub with a realistic looking corpse of a nurse. Opposite appeared to be a mirror that reflected the scene minus details. Around the walls were a few bits of furniture… Here’s a hint, don’t play around with the sink.
After playing around with the sink and regretting it, I took a look in the mirror and saw that it wasn’t a perfect reflection and eventually stepped through towards either an actor or an animatronic in the bathtub on the other side. I wasn’t quite as scared here and eventually after retrieving another one of the ‘secret’ objects, I was escorted to the next zone.
I understand from speaking to staff that there are other secrets to find in this room, but after my mock execution I was just glad to keep going!
Down the Stairs, and into the blood pool
So, the next bit was a corridor that appeared to go down… bloody scratch marks on the walls and strange noises (well, there were always strange noises, but this was extra spooky!) coming from lower down.
Shaking, the camera feeling like a bag of bricks on my shoulders I went down and was promptly screaming when realistic corpses above me burst into flames using some kind of theatrical effect. I ran and found myself in fog the colour of blood as well as what appeared to be a corpse spraying actual blood (I hope it was fake!) out, which I just about dodged.
This room had photos in it, eyes and other things and when I got too close to one… well, I screamed again. As you might be able to tell, even the act of a moving painting was enough to set me off now and it didn’t help when… well… let’s just say an actor decided to make an appearance at this point… Christ. You can experience that, I didn’t manage to get a photo as I was already stumbling forwards to what I thought was the next room.
The Playable Teaser, or corridor with many doors
Well. Shit. I had a camera, I had tears, I felt like I needed to pee and now I found myself reader in what appeared to be a hotel corridor or apartment building with doors to the left and right and some actress playing a ghost staring at me. I tried a door… Fuck no. I tried another… Zombies… shit.
Suffice to say I was trying door after door in a panic, crying before I eventually stumbled onto the right one.
On my second time around, I took a little more time and the creativity; ‘what’s behind this door’ was great. If you don’t like zombies… if you don’t like dolls… if you don’t like ghosts… every door as something for you. The second time I was also ‘unlucky’ enough to get green vomit thrown on me from behind one door; so you have been warned!
The Final Door
I won’t spoil the final room, but it is a culmination of what you have been doing through the Haunt. When you’ve shoved into it… just be prepared to scream as you come face to face with… well, I won’t say…
If you can keep your sanity while all around you have lost theirs and while the floors, walls and ceilings appear to move, you’ve done well and you might just escape at this point… wiser? No… healthier? For sure not… More scared? Hell yes.
So, as you can probably tell from above, this is an excellent event. Scary. Really scary… Much congratulations to Vicus for setting this up and for doing it for the Community of Hathian. I encourage everyone to visit, partake in the excitement, spend a little at the stalls and have a devilishly good time as we come towards Halloween.
Your intrepid reporter is now back home, safe, sound and in a change of clothes and I hope you too can experience the amazing Hathian Haunt.
Tell me your feedback and make sure to thank the creator!
((Try to let the scenes load on each transition before exploring, some effects, sounds or movement may not work if you rush around before loading!))
((Also headphones + the lighting at Midnight or a similar set is required for best effect))