Perhaps the scariest part of being in a haunted house is going into the narrow hallways behind the scenes. Not only do you have to watch out for 2x4s on the ground, but when groups are going through the haunted house, it’s no lights allowed time.
So there I am, waiting patiently in a pitch black hallway with my shoulders nearly touching each side.
I poke my camera through a gap in a door to try to photograph a room flooded with black light sensitive paint and girls wearing bloodied white night gowns. The angle is all wrong, so once the group is through I’m directed to another area where I can try my hand at taking photos.
I start walking down the hallway I’m directed to, realizing this is part of the actual haunted house. It, too, is black as night and suddenly starts to close in on me. Am I getting shorter? Nope, the ceiling is most definitely coming down. Just when I think I might have to get down on all fours, the ceiling rises again, but this time my senses are turned upside down by a rocking floor that throws me off balance as I turn a corner.
Once I’m through a barrage of tubing hanging from the ceiling, I make my way to a window where I can peer back into the black light-lit room. I play around with the settings on my camera and come away with a few ghostly images.
But before I see the entire haunted house from behind the scenes, I decided to take the tour as a guest. After stowing away my camera gear I join up with a group preparing for their tour of fright. Among them are Melinda Winters and Denise Whitworth.
The women quickly decide that I should lead the group so they aren’t directly in harms way. I gladly take the lead and we enter the house of horrors. After passing the narrow hallway from my first time through and making my way into uncharted waters I slow my pace and continuously check my surroundings. I am not going to be scared in front of people I don’t know.
But it quickly becomes apparent my journey through the haunted house would be quite amusing. Several times I stopped to look behind me only to find Melinda and Denise where lagging because something had spooked them or out of fear of being scared. Well, fear of being afraid only heightens the sense of fear, so within a few minutes, these ladies were on pins and needles, jumping and screaming at everything that came at them.
I couldn’t help but laugh, and neither could they. They screamed until they laughed and laughed themselves scared the whole way through. And since I had been tipped off about the last big fright of the haunted house, I managed to get behind Melinda and Denise so they could experience the final scare first hand. As the last ghoul made its appearance, the women went running from the haunted house and didn’t stop until they reached their truck.
I laughed the whole way as I trailed them. I’m not easily scared, but I was extremely entertained. I’m thankful I had the chance to go through the haunted house with these ladies.
Denise said she hasn’t been to the Pythian Home haunted house in several years, back when it was operated by the Weatherford Fire Department.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “Number one rated so far.”
Melinda said the group went to a big haunted house in Fort Worth last week and paid $30 a person.
“We didn’t get near the scares we just got out of that,” she said. “My heart is pounding out of my chest.”
For the last three years, Tommy and Katey Taylor have hosted the haunted house to raise funds for the Pythian Home and try to make it suitable for all ages.
“We make it fun,” Tommy said. “We want everyone, all ages to go through it.”
The haunted house is open from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday through Halloween night. The cost is $10 and benefits the Pythian Home. Proceeds from the concession stand benefit the Weatherford Young Marines.
About 100 to 150 people go through the haunted house each night. And sometimes the visitors end up playing a role in the haunted house the next day, since all the work is done by volunteers.
Tommy said everyone is welcome to volunteer to be in the haunted house as long as they show up by 5 p.m. so they can fill out paperwork and get into makeup before guests start arriving. Most of the volunteers are local teens.
“One of the neat things about this place is it’s a good safe place for kids to hang out,” Tommy said.
The only money raised from the haunted house that does not go to the Pythian Home are the funds required to stage the event and make daily repairs.
“Today we spent seven hours rebuilding,” Tommy said. “They really get into their character and can damage a lot of things.”
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