The Hall Of Shadows Scares At Midsummer Scream


For Halloween and haunt enthusiasts, Halloween and horror conventions are the second best time of the year (Halloween season being the first best of course). The team behind Midsummer Scream chose to raise the bar to a new level with Halloween and horror conventions by  adding the Hall Of Shadows- an entire section of the convention center filled with mini haunts, sliders, and an army of monsters.

The Hall Of Shadows at Midsummer Scream was a full size haunt event with in a haunt event. It was a fully functional scare zone. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go through every micro-maze. We really wanted to check out Blackout’s virtual reality maze, but sadly there wasn’t enough time. Of the ones we did see, Toxicity, put on by Boneyard Effects, was definitely our favorite. This is the first maze we saw as we entered the Hall of Shadows, as well was the largest, with the most attention to detail and greatest number of performers.

As we walked through Toxicity, we were surrounded by horrible mutants that looked like they stepped out of a Cronenberg movie. We made our way past vats of leaking toxins, and destroyed quarantine rooms. Finally we were able to make it to safety.

As we exited Toxicity, we had a chance to go through Fear Station’s creepy carnival mini haunt where we got to play a few classic carnival games with a spooky twist- you win or die. We won some popcorn and were fortunate enough not to die.

We were excited to see the Gorelesque! mini haunt as we had first had heard about Gorelesque! earlier this year at Monsterpalooza. We were saddened when they had to cancel their preview a few months ago, but they said they will be performing this Halloween season. For Gorelesque!, we were taken to a room where we were sized up to determine if we were perfect enough to join the Weltschmerz Society and go to Paradise. We were determined imperfect and cast away to see what happens to the imperfect people as we went through a mini maze filled with blood, flesh, and gore. It was a lot of fun.

Following Gorelesque!, we went through Perdition Home’s Sci-Fi space haunt, where a zombie like outbreak took out a space station and shuttle. While it was very short, its attention to detail and design was fantastic.

The last of the mini haunts we hit up was Spooky Hollows, which was a trip through a haunted swamp like area, where the plants have turned evil and deadly. Just like most of the mini-haunts, it was short. However, it was fun and the scares were very well done.

The Hall Of Shadows also featured another adrenaline pumping performance from the masters of sliding, the Decayed Brigade. The Decayed Brigade is wildly popular among the Halloween and horror convention circuit, and as always, delivered a top notch show.

Overall, the Hall Of Shadows was fantastic. Granted, we didn’t get to every mini haunt because the lines were so long- which we were not upset about and is totally okay. These were mini haunts. To give everyone an enjoyable experience, you have to let only a few in at a time. Pushing too many through, you risk ruining the experience and missing out on prime scares. The other reason we didn’t get to every mini haunt was that there was so much to do at Midsummer Scream, you had to pick and choose- which in itself was a great problem to have. Personally, I’d rather have too much to see at a convention than not enough.

Midsummer Scream definitely delivered with the Hall Of Shadows and I personally can’t wait to see what they have in store for Next year! Did you attend Midsummer Scream? What mini haunts were your favorite? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

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The Winchester Mystery House Had A Few Surprises At Midsummer Scream 

Front of House SunsetHistory has shown that the world is full of mysteries and wonder. There are places that can mystify, terrify, and captivate the mind in ways that one might not have ever imagined. One of those places lies in San Jose, California- The Winchester Mystery House. At the first annual Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival, The Winchester Mystery House shared what makes it one of the most haunted places on Earth, and what it has in store for its visitors!

For those who are unfamiliar with the Winchester Mystery House, it’s construction began in 1884. Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arm Company, fearing for her life and believing her family to be cursed, built the mansion in a way to give a home to the spirits who were killed by Winchester rifles. The house was under constant construction for 38 years, until Sarah Winchester passed away in 1922. Given the history and rumors surrounding the mansion, folks travel to the estate hoping to see spirits. Eventually the mansion was turned into a museum of sorts for visitors. Today, the house is a California landmark and hotbed for spiritual activity!

Leading the panel at Midsummer Scream were Winchester Mystery House staff members Walter Magnuson and Tim O’Day. They discussed the histories of both Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mystery House. They discussed its current status as a travel destination for tourists, history buffs, and paranormal fans and investigators. They admitted that to this very day they are still finding new secrets and rooms. There are no actual blueprints to the property.

Towards the end of the panel, they were joined on stage by Peter Overstreet, the manager of special events at the Winchester Mystery House. The three together revealed the big plan for the Winchester’s Halloween season as they will be introducing the brand new Halloween Candle Light Tours. This new experience will allow visitors to go on a haunted guided tour of the mansion where the only light is candle light. Overstreet said that visitors will actually feel that “They are going through a real haunted house.”

They ended the panel by introducing the brand new “Skeleton Key” annual pass that grants members access to parts of the mansion that have never been open to the public before. As a treat, all those attending their panel at Midsummer Scream were made honorary Skeleton Key members.

I can honestly say that I’m extremely excited for everything that the Winchester Mystery House has to offer this upcoming Halloween season and year. The Halloween Candlelight Tour sounds absolutely amazing. To go through a haunted house only by candle light is a once in a life time experience. As for the Skelton Key, who wouldn’t want the chance to explore new sections of the mansion? I for one can’t wait to visit the Winchester Mystery House!

The Halloween Candlelight Tours will take place on 10 nights only! October 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st! Tickets range from $35 to $49, and go on sale September 2nd.

For more information on The Winchester Mystery House, the Halloween Candlelight Tours, and more, visit http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com and follow them on Twitter- @WinchesterHouse . The Winchester Mystery House is located at 525 S. Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128.

Bardo Thodol- A Journey Through Death

bardo

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.