- Story Ideas
- Send Corrections
Was anybody else at the opening nights of Field of Screams in Lancaster Friday or Saturday, Sept. 15 and 16? If you weren’t, you still have a chance to experience the best haunted attraction I ever attended. You should take the chance if you are available over the next seven weekends. They have a little something going on the first weekend in November. As a member of the media, we were treated to refreshments and food. We even got V.I.P. treatment when getting in line for the main attractions. We got on the first Haunted Hayride of the night. The haunted attractions were outstanding but more about that later.
I made it a date night – sort of like mixing business with pleasure. The reluctant date was my significant other, Catherine J. Rosenberger. I say “reluctant” because I told her she was going to be my date and we were going to see first-hand what “Field Of Screams – America’s #1 Haunted Attraction” was all about. She agreed to go with me on one condition; she did not have to go in or on any of the haunted attractions. I whole heartedly agreed. She didn’t have to go into the attractions. She just had to wait outside for me while I was in the attractions. I can’t write about the horrors if I do not experience them for myself. It’s a date.
At 7 p.m., on a perfect September evening we arrive at Field Of Screams. It was very easy to find. On the west side of Lancaster, just take the Mountville exit off of Route 30 and turn toward Lancaster. It is a quarter mile down on the left. Seriously, listen for the noise. Haunted attractions are not quiet. This is not an apple cider stand folks. This is Hershey Park of the Dead. Instead of a Hershey Kiss walking around for a photo opportunity, you get a murderer with a bloody goalie mask on carrying a knife with a 12-inch blade and wearing an olive drab flight suit or a scientist in a lab coat and top hat carrying a chainsaw with half of his face missing. Apart from the three main haunted attractions, there was music in the air, gift shops, food concessions and games to play.
In the middle of it all was a stage with live bands. On stage, there was a “Battle of the Bands”. A panel of three judges gave each band its verbal review as each band packed up their gear after their set. A Psycho Hillbilly (an actor) got up on stage to address the crowd. He was holding a 12 gauge shot gun and he spoke like he wanted to hurt somebody. I was feeling the electricity and when the Psycho Hillbilly asked how we ALL were doing, I cheered. That got Cathie and I an invitation to come up on stage and sit in the HIS and HERS electric chairs complete with the metal scull cap. Psycho Hillbilly told us that when the light in front of us became lit to push our buzzers. The first person to push the buzzer got to “electrocute” the other. Needless to say, Cathie got electrocuted and I did not. The electrocution simulation was provided by very loud vibration of the “electric chair”. It was Cathie’s first jolt of the night but not the last…by far. The Hillbilly screamed at us to get off the stage. Good stuff. We are there 10 minutes and we are already part of the entertainment.
What next, Oh we have to go pick up our V.I. P. passes. These were a help in getting us inside the attractions sooner. On the Field of Screams brochure, the three tips are 1) pre-purchase your tickets online 2) arrive early, and 3) purchase V.I.P. tickets. After Saturday night, that all makes sense. Our V.I.P. passes got us in the attractions very quickly ahead of the people with the general passes. Did you see that? Did you see those words I was using… “we”… “us”. That’s right. Ms. Rosenberger wasn’t so afraid after all. She said she was ready for the thrill! I was pleasantly surprised.
The first test of her new hair cut that she got that Saturday morning was going to be the haunted hayride. At the beginning of the hayride there is a 20-foot tall Pumpkin Beast. The Pumpkin Beast spoke to the guests that lay in the hay on the trailer. I did not hear exactly what he had to say but it sounded scary and he looked very scary. Nice touch! And there is a farm tractor that is on fire hanging atop the arch as you enter the corn field.
Cathie is very cute and I really like the way she wears her hair. So did about 20 actors stationed throughout the corn field. I could tell by the way they screamed it through their gas masks and make up. Fifty guests nestled in the hay for a ride through the cornfield where (if you kept your eyes open) you could see about 12 hogs hanging down from the ceiling of the slaughter house while the attendants screamed “YOU’RE NEXT!” In the slaughter house, you felt drips of water coming from the sows above. Blood. My left sleeve got wet as well as my hair. There was nothing I could do.
The hay ride visited the dilapidated energy station where visitors are summarily electrocuted with various defective transformers and electrical grid equipment. There was a large lightning bolt machine that created the largest lightning that I have seen from 20 feet away. The hayride stopped in Dirty Dan’s – and HE IS dirty! - hillbilly camp. He addresses (threatens) the crowd, shoots his gun and the moonshine still blows up and his relatives screamed for their lives while he talks to the folks in the hay.
At different stops along the way through the cornfield you get visited by Freddie Krueger and the rest of the Krueger family during a viewing of his movie at the abandoned drive in, the evil clowns garage is definitely a keeper and you get to watch a live girl get beheaded. I cannot leave out the Toxic Waste Dump complete with mutants and glowing pools of ooze. The haunted hayride was just the right amount of terror. We caught our breath and headed for the Frightmare Asylum.
One down, two to go. Catherine “I’m not going on any haunted things” Rosenberger was in fine shape after the hayride. At the Frightmare Asylum, we (myself, Cathie and her very snazzy hair doo) waited in line briefly while before the asylum doors were opened wide to let us in to see the various patients, doctors and staff in multiple degrees of upheaval. The double doors BANGED and stretched out toward us as we waited in line as if someone was desperately trying to get the heck out of there. This attraction has all the scares you would imagine but seeing them is 80 times better than imagining them. As you baby step through the various rooms and floors of the asylum, you are greeted by former patients, former staff and some other ghouls. Some are alive. Some are not. Some beg for your help to get them out of the asylum. Others scream at you to get out of their home and never return. You are approached by the characters and sometimes they ask you questions.
All I could do is just try to stay composed and hope that we could just move along quickly. Catherine was holding her hands aside her eyes and peeping through slits in her eyelids. I mean what do you say to a zombie? Nothing! That’s right. I was scared and uncomfortable. The walk through the asylum was charged and I wish I could recall all the characters that approached us but there were so many! I must mention what I call the “vertigo room”. After walking down a hallway in complete darkness you turn right through black curtains into a room with no dimensions. You are instantly in space. Your view is purple (like a black light) and yellow polka dots flying around. The difficult thing here is staying on your feet. But you do stay on your feet as you eventually find the door and leave that room. The Asylum is worth it.
Last, but not least, was our visit to the Den of Darkness. The Den of Darkness did not disappoint. I learned that there are over 60 actors inside the Den of Darkness. How did I learn that? Count them? No. I spoke to the head honcho of the Den of Darkness, Jeremy Spickler, in the hospitality tent. Jeremy was very helpful. His title was “den manager”.
The den had all the terror and scares that your standard, state-of-the-art, 200 year-old haunted Lancaster County mansion should have. The head inside the crystal ball screams at you to get out. The marble busts move like they can see you. The walls inflate to suffocate you. There is a room with powerful strobe lights and black and white checkers covering the floors, walls and ceiling. A zombie insists (and won’t let you pass) that you get on your hands and knees and crawl through the crawl space instead of walk across the third floor of the mansion. Up here (on the third floor) we saw some guests take the emergency exits and get out of dodge. You meet the dead previous owners of the mansion, their children, and their staffs and then some unidentifiable evil-doers approach you. Did I mention that conversing with “dead people” or ghouls just does not come easy during these visits?
And on the way out of the Den of darkness you come to a dimly lit hallway and you have no idea where to go. There is a very, very scary ghoul (actor) staring at you! Without looking right at him, I said, “I don’t know which way to go!” He said, “Pick a room!” (He sounded very horrifying when he said it). I picked room “B” straight ahead. It was the meat locker! With all the animals and family members hanging frozen. The sound effects were deafening in the meat locker and some of the other rooms throughout the Field of Screams haunted attractions. Finally, we exit the Den of Darkness. Like the haunted hayride and the asylum, we were sweating and smiling and running. We were running mainly because we were being chased out of the mansion by that guy with the top hat, lab coat and chainsaw.
Cathie and I are still talking about our evening at Field of Screams. I recommend this attraction to our readers. Learn more at www.fieldofscreams.com. Field of Screams 191 College Avenue, Mountville PA 17554.
Andrew Kearney is a sales rep for The Hamburg Area Item.