Of all the experiences I had at Midsummer Scream, Bardo Thodol was the most unexpected. The most shocking of course was Urban Death, but now that I’ve performed in UD four times, nothing shocks me. With Bardo Thodol I had no preconceived notions. It was pitched as a personal tour of your own death, and I knew that it was based on the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”. Other than that I was clueless.
When I made my way to the front of the line, I was asked to remove my shoes and socks and put on a blindfold. I could tell right away I was in for something amazing. Blindfolded, I was led inside a dark space. A man began to whisper in my ear. He told me I was dying and that I needed to reconsider my life. I didn’t particularly care for this part, just because I don’t like the sensation of people whispering to me. I’m no fan of ASMR. Once he was done whispering, I was led to another part of the room and told to lay down. I quickly realized that I was laying on a tarp of some sort.
Soon my blindfold was removed and I was lifted, tarp and all, by a group of people in medical uniforms. I was placed on a gurney and rushed into a sort of ER. There, doctors checked me for signs of life, while a man gripped my hand and cried. This part was so much fun it was hard not to laugh. I was impressed by the amount of emotion the crying man exhibited. As he cried, he told me that he wasn’t ready for me to go into the light.
Once the doctors declared me dead, I was covered with a semi-transparent plastic sheet and whisked away into the darkness. From there, I was placed back on the ground. Then it was time for me to be returned to the Earth. Dirt was shoveled bit by bit on top of me. I was surprised to see how much they actually buried me under. As anyone who’s carried a bag of soil knows, that stuff is heavy. I could feel the weight over my whole body and face. It wasn’t unpleasant, though. I actually found the sensation kind of nice.
Abruptly, the experience came to an end. I was pulled out from my grave and led to the exit. This ending was so puzzling, that I wasn’t sure if it was over or where I should go. On the way out, I was given a chip with a web link to details for the whole Bardo Thodol attraction. I came to realize that what I had experienced was only part one. I had a blast, so I’ll definitely be looking into what else they have to offer. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to see any demons or angels. I was hoping for some sort of final judgement. Perhaps that will be in the next installment. This event is good for people who want something more immersive than Halloween Horror Nights, but less insane than Heretic. I would not recommend Bardo Thodol to those who are claustrophobic or uncomfortable with the reality of death.