When my seven-year-old son asked me to take him to a haunted house attraction along the boardwalk in Santa Cruz while we were on vacation, I happily obliged. That was stupid. It wasn’t even *that* scary, but 1) I hate horror movies, haunted houses, and being freaky scared and 2) who even takes a seven-year old into a house of horrors? Bad decisions, Mommy. Bad. Decisions. Which further begs the question of why I would pitch this story, when researching it would mean I’d have to find the goriest, most heart-stopping, anxiety-inducing haunted houses that exist in this free country of ours? It’s not like the Internet doesn’t have pictures of these places posted on its pages, you know. And you can’t un-see that stuff. Anyway, if you’re the kind of person who likes that sort of thing, here you go. I guess I’ve obliged the horror-seeking once again. Whoops.
Dent Schoolhouse, Cincinatti
Charlie the janitor was not a nice guy. Legend has it he killed the children who taunted him. Now, his spirit haunts the Dent Schoolhouse, where his crazy, creepy. clown friends and other tortured teachers roam the hallways, too. This house of horrors is located in an actual school built in 1894, so the lunch room and gym are appropriately grim, but it’s the basement and boiler room – Charlie’s personal domain and gore factory – that will really get you screaming.
Haunted Hoochie, Pataskala, Ohio
The Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres bills itself as a “full sensory assault,” so you can expect to be literally grabbed by the throat and fully terrified. Actors, not animatronics, do the shoving and chainsawing here. According to one review, “I got a little blood on me,” is a common comment during the tour.
The Mortuary, New Orleans
This self-guided haunted house takes visitors through a huge, historic, New Orleans mansion that was actually an operating mortuary for 80 years. Surrounded by real cemeteries, The Mortuary is a heart-stoppingly scary setting for the deranged mortician, vampires, witches, zombies, skeletons, and other ghoulish creatures waiting to accost you inside. Whatever irrational fears your head may harbor, this haunted mansion will bring to life. Oh, and there will be live snakes, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders. Also ghosts – the place is said to be crawling with paranormal activity.
Terror Behind the Walls, Philadelphia
This event is so freaky, it already earned its own article on this blog, but no respectable list of terror factories would be complete without it, so I’m mentioning it again. Terror Behind the Walls takes place in an actual abandoned prison that is, of course, said to be haunted. The hidden passages and cell blocks you’ll find yourself stuck in aren’t decorated to look decrepit and creepy, though – that’s the actual interior of the rundown, Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s a massive and intimidating. gothic complex. Better pull yourself together, though, if you’re going to survive the zombie riots, jailbreaks, infirmary experiments, and general carnage going on inside.
McKamey Manor, Nashville and Huntsville, Alabama
The mother of all haunted houses, Makamey Manor, is a truly terrifying, full-immersion experience. Twenty-one and older only, please, plus a 40-page waiver, proof of health insurance, a note from your doctor (not kidding), and a background check are all required before you step inside. Once you do, expect extreme physical contact, as well as lots and lots of blood. You may be dragged, dropped, shoved, gagged, or bonded. Side effects include immense anxiety and wanting to go home. The event used to be a five-hour tour you could do with friends, but owner Russ McKamey has upped the stakes. Depending on how well you do, we’re talking 10 hours or more of barely legal fun.
Stupid Scary Haunted House Locations
- Dent Schoolhouse -Cincinnati, OH
- Haunted Hoochie -Pataskala, OH
- The Mortuary -New Orleans, LA
- Terror Behind the Walls -Philadelphia, PA
- McKamey Manor -Nashville and Huntsville, AL