Haunted houses are one of those strange attractions that people love to experience. We pay good money to walk through dimly lit corridors filled with loud noises, flashing lights, screaming strangers, and actors paid to terrorize us. It sounds like a nightmare, and yet as a society we can’t get enough of it. In fact, the industry is growing and expanding rapidly and is estimated to generate revenues of over several billion dollars annually. It comes down to the simple fact that people love to be scared, in a controlled environment. In a haunted house they get their blood pumping and an adrenaline rush going, which makes it all like thrill seeking with the possibility of real, actual danger reduced to a minimum.
With thousands of haunted houses popping up across the world, finding a truly frightening one can be a real hit or miss. However, there are a select few which stand out among all the others. They have proven to be too terrifying and too real for visitors to even make it all the way through. Among the top attractions, the oldest and arguably scariest, is the Nightmares Fear Factory haunted house in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The place has built a solid reputation for being the world’s scariest haunted house, and perhaps that is because it truly is haunted. It was allegedly built in an old abandoned coffin factory, whose former owner was crushed to death when a stack of coffins fells on him. Visitors are told that if they should become too scared to make it all the way through, they can say the safety word “nightmares” and be immediately escorted out through a special chicken line and exit. According to the Nightmares Fear Factory website, over 130,000 people have used the safety word, and all ended up going through the chicken line and had their names added to the public chicken list. That is quite impressive when it’s estimated that in the last 30 years of operation, and since the chicken list began, the house has seen about a half-million people go through.
The entire experience lasts about 15 minutes, if you make it all the way to the end. People are guided through by following tiny red lights on the floor and walls. Live actors taunt, tease, scream, physically push and grab at visitors, and scare the daylights out of people throughout the journey. At one point patrons have to crawl through a narrow tunnel and go over an unstable, shaking drawbridge.
However, the best and most terrifying part is the final stage. It’s also where reaction pictures are taken of the petrified visitors. Some of these photos are posted onto the Fear Factory’s Flickr account and they even made a slideshow of the top 40 fear pics. The people in the images are the picture of pure shock and look truly terrified. They stand grasping one another, their eyes wide and mouths open. It makes me want to visit this place and see for myself how scary it truly is! Check it out and see if you think you could make it through what is arguably the scariest haunted house in North America!
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