Scare Zones

Halloween Junkie - Haunted House Reaper, Horror

Who Is Terrified Of Haunted Houses?

Once again, it’s that time of year. It’s time for all the ghouls and demons to emerge from their hiding places. It’s time for children to dress up in imaginative costumes and go door-to-door soliciting treats. Yes, it is that delightful annual occasion known as Halloween. For many people, one popular practice over this occasion is to visit local haunted houses. People relish the opportunity to entertain their basic anxieties in these frightening commorancies. Many of us enjoy a good scare.

Naturally, these are fictitious haunted houses. Annual occurrences of frights involving smoke and mirrors. They’re enjoyable because everyone participates. The demons are actors, while the ghosts are set pieces. These haunted houses are enjoyable since both the spook and the spooked are aware that no one will be harmed in the process. So what about really haunted houses?

Here, the rules are altered. This time, the scares are genuine, and the victim’s safety is jeopardized. Now, one is confronted by the supernatural. That is, assuming that “the supernatural” exists at all.

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Many neighbourhoods around the industrial and post-industrial world appear to have one or two purportedly haunted locations. According to Dennis William Hauck’s National Directory of Haunted Houses, the United States alone has around 2,000 haunted locations. This is unsurprising, given that the only actual qualifications for a haunted house are a spooky atmosphere, a very lengthy history, and a few eyewitness tales.

Thus, where are some of the ideal locations to visit in order to witness a “genuine” haunting? How about two of the world’s most haunted locations?

• Whaley House – Located in San Diego, California, this is the nation’s most haunted house. The residence was partially constructed on top of an old cemetery and portions of San Diego’s first public gallows. The residence has stood on that spot for 148 years. The house’s location has made it a great location for numerous heinous actions during the last century. As a result, several ghost sightings have happened on this property. Among them is the spirit of a little girl who hanged herself on a clothesline while rushing down a hillside. Jim Robinson, a well-known criminal, was hanged five years before the mansion was erected. His final resting place is currently located between the parlor and music room. When visitors pass under the archway that separates these rooms, many describe feeling a chill and a tightening of the neck. Along with these two ghosts, countless reports of phantom odours in certain rooms, nonexistent baby cries in other rooms, and various apparitions seen in the house’s mirrors and windows have been made.

• Borley Rectory – Borley Rectory England, not to be outdone by the United States, also has a number of haunted locations. Borley Rectory, in the little town of Borley, Essex, is said to be the most haunted. The rectory (priestly dwelling) was constructed in 1863 on the site of a historic monastery. Surprisingly, it was erected on a site reputed to be haunted by a spirit (a nun who was bricked up alive, in one of the monastic cellars). Since then, the rectory has experienced multiple sightings of the nun, as well as numerous poltergeist events, during which various things have been broken or shifted. Strange sounds, scents, and chilly areas have also been reported there.

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While both of these locations claim to be haunted, one has to wonder whether haunting is a genuine occurrence or a psychosomatic one. Is it true that ghosts exist, or are they figments of our imagination? This continues to be a contentious issue among the general people. According to a recent Harris poll (February 2003), 51% of respondents asked believed in ghosts.

Of fact, believing in something and its reality are not always synonymous. After all, there was a time when a large portion of the globe believed the planet was flat and that disease was caused by the star’s influence. While there is considerable disagreement among the general people over the validity of ghosts, there is little to none among the scientific community. There has been no clear proof to far indicating the validity of ghosts or other paranormal experiences.

So, what are people seeing? Along with the numerous ghost seekers, there are a few ghost-busters. After reading the different testimonies from these guys, it’s clear that ghostly encounters occur for one of two reasons.

1. Delusions
2. Conspiracy theories

The first phrase is reserved for clinically insane individuals, correct? Not at all. Hallucinations are more prevalent in the general population than one might believe. A hallucination is merely a moment when the brain misinterprets a sight, sound, or scent. The majority of hallucinations occur during “dazed” states. That is, moments during which the individual is somewhat tranquil. The two most frequent times are just before or after sleep, or when engaging in a peaceful, rather boring activity.

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Hypnopompic Hallucinations, or “awake dreams,” are hallucinations that occur shortly before or just after sleep. When one awakens, the brain is not completely out of “sleep mode,” and thus, moments of dreaming leak into reality. Hallucinations can sometimes occur when performing routine tasks such as cleaning. When one is in a daydreaming condition, apparitions frequently appear. Numerous individuals claim catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of their eyes. This is frequently the consequence of their eye perceiving the quick movement of a little object (e.g. a fly, their eyelash, or drifting material inside the eye) and their brain equating it with a larger object. Occasionally, these take the shape of a human standing or seated. The level of detail in the hallucination is highly dependent on the hallucinator’s susceptibility/imagination. However, the outcome is always the same. The “apparition” vanishes the moment the person looks away.

Why so many people describe experiencing the same event has a lot to do with the power of suggestion. Individuals who are familiar with the legends surrounding a certain location are frequently prone to seeing the objects in question. Often, the hallucination is simply linked to a piece of the story the individual has heard (often getting molded to fit the scenario after the fact). Occasionally, the hallucination is intense enough to inspire the creation of a new ghost story. This is frequently the result of a personality type known as “fantasy prone.” That is, a person who excels at imagining. Many of these individuals go on to produce fantasy/science fiction novels or assert psychic skills. Additionally, they are prone to being hypnotized. Cases in which objects are discovered to be relocated or moving are frequently exaggerations of what actually occurred. Occasionally, the individual may even subconsciously rearrange objects in an attempt to bring their vision to life.

Which brings us to the second major kind of haunting: hoaxes. Numerous haunted locations throughout the world are prepared in this manner to induce the sensation of paranormal activity. Numerous locations with a reputation of being haunted are undoubtedly receiving assistance from owners/staff members who are attempting to preserve the legends. This can range from tiny gestures such as synchronized footfall sounds during a specific time period of the night to deliberately switching light switches on and off, creating ghostly sights, and fabricating supplementary storylines.

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Often, these “hoax houses” are easily discovered. Occasionally, though, a haunted house retains its aura of the supernatural for an extended period of time and resists attempts at debunking. Consider the infamous Amityville Horror. The Amityville Horror occurred in 1975 in Amityville, New York. The residence had been the location of the DeFeo family’s heinous murder a year previous by family member Ronald “Butch” Jr. George and Kathy Lutz, along with their three children, purchased the home. Not shortly after moving there, the Lutzes reported that their house had been taken over by demons and provided a rather thorough description of what occurred throughout their 28-day stay.

In 1977, author Jay Anson adapted the story into a novel. This was followed by a 1979 film adaptation of the novel and, most recently, a 2005 remake. Each of the three includes the tagline: a true story. This, however, was not the case. There have been naysayers ever since the initial story was brought to the public’s attention. Despite the fact that academics Rick Moran and Peter Jordan discovered over 100 factual discrepancies between the book’s account and the actual facts (for example, the claimed demonic hoof print discovered in the snow could not have occurred because there was no snowfall that night), the legend persisted.

Finally, it required the confessions of William Weber (the DeFeo’s attorney) and the Lutzes to put an end to this mythology. Although the Amityville Horror was eventually discredited, the damage had been done. All subsequent owners of the DeFeo family estate must now contend with throngs of onlookers and paranormal investigators who insist on viewing the cursed mansion.

Therefore, if someone dares you to spend the night at a “true” haunted house this Halloween, keep in mind the famous words of investigative authors Robert Baker and Joe Nickell:

“There are no haunted places; there are only haunted individuals.”

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Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights (formerly dubbed Fright Nights) is an annual event held at Universal Studios theme parks in Florida, California, Singapore, and Japan. The parks are open throughout the day and transform into Halloween Horror Nights during the evening. The Halloween-themed festival takes place in the fall and contains haunted homes, fright zones, and live entertainment, many of which feature characters from Universal Studios. It is aimed for teenagers and adults.

Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights


Halloween Horror Nights debuted in 1991 as Fright Nights at Universal Studios Florida. It debuted on October 25, 26, and 31, 1991, as a three-night event including only one haunted house, The Dungeon of Terror. The event was held at Universal Studios Florida from 1991 until 2001.

In 1992, the event was renamed “Universal Studios Florida Halloween Horror Nights” and billed as the event’s second year. Two haunted houses made their return, with The Dungeon of Terror returning to the Jaws queue building and The People Under The Stairs making its Soundstage 23 debut. The five-night event took place on October 23, 24, 29, 30, and 31.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida expanded to seven nights for the third year. Due to the reopening of the Jaws attraction, the in-park haunted house was relocated from the Jaws line in Amity to the New York area’s Nazarman’s facade. The number of haunted houses has been raised to three, with the third located inside Universal Studios Florida’s Bates Motel.

In 1994, Halloween Horror Nights 4 was extended to an eight-night run. This year, the Dungeon of Terror returned with a new design, as well as three additional haunted houses. Along with Nazarman’s and the Bates Motel, new locations included the Earthquake overflow queue and the Boneyard. This year also saw the debut of the word “Scaracters,” as well as the inaugural “Ghoul School” for event participants.

Halloween Horror Nights V ran for 12 nights and featured three haunted houses, one of which featured a dual-path. Additionally, it was the first time Universal centered an event around a character, in this case the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt. The event was dubbed “The Crypt Keeper’s Curse.”

In 1986 and 1992, Universal Studios Hollywood hosted Halloween attractions. While the 1986 attempt bore little resemblance to the present event, it was overshadowed by the unfortunate death of a store employee who, like many other employees at the time, had volunteered to perform in the event. The 1992 event was created in direct response to the success of Fright Nights at Universal Florida the previous year, however it was a failure. Halloween Horror Nights opened on October 9, 1997, at Universal Studios Hollywood and ran until the 2000 season. Halloween Horror Nights had a sabbatical from 2001 to 2005 at Universal Studios Hollywood before returning in 2006. Since then, it has occurred annually. Between 2007 and 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood re-themed Universal’s House of Horrors, the park’s permanent haunted attraction, for Halloween Horror Nights.

Returning to Florida, Halloween Horror Nights VI through X maintained the format established for Halloween Horror Nights V in 1995, expanding from 15 nights in 1996 to 19 nights in 2000. Each year featured three haunted houses, though beginning in 1998, two of the houses featured dual-path experiences, for a total of five encounters. One major update was the addition of the world’s first three-dimensional haunted house to the Nazarman’s exterior in 1999. Universal debuted its first in-house designed icon, Jack the Clown, in 2000.

Due to the proximity to the September 11 attacks to Halloween Horror Nights XI, Universal made numerous alterations to the event. Much of the event’s gore was omitted, and blood was replaced with green “goop.” Numerous residences, fear zones, and shows have had their names changed. Eddie, the initial icon character, was axed. Edgar Sawyer was envisioned as a deranged, chainsaw-wielding horror film enthusiast who had been disfigured in a fire. He was positioned as a rival to former icon Jack, and the tagline “No more clowning around” was used in early commercials and merchandising. Eddie was eventually ejected from the event before to its start, despite his continued appearance on the event’s logo and goods with the official “I.C.U.” catchphrase. Jack would return as a last-minute replacement, accompanied by a range of products under the motto “Jack’s Back.” Eddie’s origins have been altered, as has his name, which has been changed to Eddie Schmidt, Jack’s younger brother. Again, the festival lasted 19 days and featured five haunted houses. The duplex residence was located in Soundstage 22.

Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Icons for events

Halloween Horror Nights has gathered a slew of iconic lead characters. These emblems are frequently accompanied by complex backstories involving the events’ themes, residences, or terror zones. They have been mostly utilized for promotional materials and marketing. The first unofficial icon was The Crypt Keeper, a character from the famous television series Tales from the Crypt at the time of his initial appearance at an event. The Crypt Keeper was reintroduced the following year for another of the residences, but was not included in the advertising campaign. After the Crypt Keeper, the event continued without an icon for three years. Imhotep was the icon for Halloween Horror Nights X in 1999, while Jack the Clown was the icon for Halloween Horror Nights X. This is the first time that Universal designed a symbol in-house. Every year since, with the exception of Halloween Horror Nights XIV, 22-24, and 27-29, Halloween Horror Nights has featured an icon, and in some cases, many icons. Jack the Clown, The Caretaker, The Director, The Storyteller, Bloody Mary, The Usher, Fear, Lady Luck, and Chance have been among these figures. Chance served as the 2016 Halloween Horror Nights icon. She was a new icon, although she used to act as Jack’s “sidekick” in his shows (however there are speculations that they are romantically involved) (her role and look being inspired by Batman antagonist Harley Quinn). In 2007, for Halloween Horror Nights 17, Universal once again leased intellectual property from other parties, this time from New Line Cinema for Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface, but retained Jack the Clown. Jack the Clown made a triumphant comeback to Halloween Horror Nights XXV in 2015, followed by Chance at Halloween Horror Nights 26 in 2016. In 2021, the icons returned to their home, Icons Captured, for HHN 30. Set in Fear’s Lantern from HHN 20, each group had their own dedicated area in which they re-enacted famous kills. Each night, a different icon would sit in the throne in the last room.

Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Houses That Are Haunted

The haunted houses are the event’s primary draw. When “Fright Nights” began at Universal Studios Florida in 1989,[89] there was just one haunted house: the Dungeon of Terror. [90] As the event has grown in popularity over the years, the number of houses has expanded to as many as ten, as of Halloween Horror Nights 28 in 2018. [91] The residences are listed in the charts above, organized by year, for each park. On average, the event features nine haunted homes and additional fear zones.

Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Zones of Fear

Halloween Horror Nights IV was the first year to include a “scare zone,” a term used to refer to particular outdoor areas that contain costumed figures that correspond to the zone’s theme with the intention of frightening those who enter. To access specific portions of the park, visitors must pass through various fright zones. Orlando rebranded fear zones as “street experiences” in 2012, saying that scare performers were no longer constrained to certain “zones.” Rather than that, there were a number of “hordes” that moved throughout the park every 90 minutes. By 2014, The Purge: Anarchy (based by the film), Face Off: In the Flesh, Bayou of Blood, and MASKerade: Unstitched have reintroduced the typical fear zones. However, Hollywood Horror Nights in California retains themed scare zones. Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando has relocated its scare zones in recent years, requiring guests to walk through at least one zone upon entering the park. While actors are not permitted to touch guests or vice versa, a large number of them can surround you at any given time. Numerous actors in these places carry props such as bats, chainsaws, and phantom firearms and can act as if they are about to attack you with their “weapons.” Additionally, actors are permitted to pursue tourists into and out of the fear zones. At times, actors will pose as regular event guests, only to be apprehended by various hoards, most notably The Purge.

Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Photo by David Sprague


Halloween Horror Nights has included a variety of live entertainment performances. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show A Tribute,” “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,” Robosaurus, and Academy of Villains have all had recurring episodes. From 1992 until its discontinuation during Halloween Horror Nights 27 in 2017, Bill and Ted’s show was included in every Halloween Horror Nights.

Universal Studios Florida will unveil a brand-new lagoon performance, “Halloween Marathon of Mayhem,” on HHN 29. The show will feature “iconic scenes from major horror films, cult classics, and television shows.”

Halloween Junkie - Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights


Numerous rides will stay operating during the festival. Some attractions have been rethemed during previous event years, such as Kongfrontation becoming Tramway of Doom for Halloween Horror Nights II. Since 2015, Diagon Alley has been open during Halloween Horror Nights. It was shuttered in 2014, despite having opened only a few months prior, and has not been re-themed or featured any scare actors to date.

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Halloween Junkie - Knotts Scary Farm

Knott’s Scary Farm

A seasonal Halloween event held at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, known as Knott’s Scary Farm or Knott’s Halloween Haunt. A variety of wandering creatures, terrible mazes, and’scare zones’ convert the theme park into “160 acres of horror” during this event. At the time of its establishment in 2010, it was said to be the world’s first, largest, and longest-running Halloween event to take place at a theme park.

Halloween Junkie - Knotts Scary Farm


The annual six-week-long event, which began as a three-night extravaganza on October 26-28, 1973, will be celebrating its 49th anniversary this year. It has grown to be the most attended event at any theme park.

A meeting of the park’s operations committee was held in September 1973, and the notion was proposed to the group by George Condos and Martha Boyd from the marketing department, as well as Bill Hollingshead and Gary Salisbury from the entertainment office. During the construction and operation of the Mine Ride, Log Ride, and other rides (as a concessionaire), Bud Hurlbut determined that static props were insufficient and donned a gorilla suit to scare passengers as they rode the Mine Ride. The Halloween Haunt was an immediate success, and by the following year, the event was selling out every night.

Knott’s Berry Farm was originally designed to look like the ghost town of Calico, California, which was abandoned as a result of the California gold rush. The theme park already had a distinct Ghost Town part, and this area would later become the designed area for the inaugural Halloween Haunt, which would eventually extend to encompass the entire park.

Halloween Junkie - Knotts Scary Farm

As the 1980s progressed, the theme park’s popularity grew, and celebrities from popular culture were brought on board to represent the attraction. “Weird Al” Yankovic, an actor and parody artist, joined the cast in 1981, while Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson joined the cast the following year. Until 2001, Elvira was a notable character in a number of Halloween Haunted House events. In accordance with postings on her Myspace page, Cassandra was released from her contract by the park’s new owners, who desired a more family-friendly atmosphere.

The decade of the 1990s will bring a new approach to Halloween. Knott’s changed its focus from explicit horror to dark comedy, and many aspects of the theme park were given a humorous makeover. Keeping the right combination of terror and levity has been critical to the success of Knott’s Halloween Haunt for over a decade now.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Knott’s Scary Farm announced on August 4th, 2020 that the 48th Scary Farm season would be cancelled and deferred to 2021. The closure of theme parks in California began in March at the request of California Governor Gavin Newsom and resulted in the cancellation of the 48th Scary Farm season. At the time of the announcement, the theme park was not open to the public.

Halloween Junkie - Knotts Scary Farm

Park Transformation

Despite the fact that Knott’s Berry Farm is a year-round theme park, the entire area is transformed into a Halloween-themed attraction. Attractions such as rides and other attractions are transformed into ghastly themes. In the park’s horrific scare zones, seasonal workers are dressed as a variety of monsters and walk the 160-acre (0.65 km2) property, which is shrouded in haze created by gigantic fog machines.

There are some characters who have gained a specific attraction, for example Sarah Rebecca Anne “The Green Witch Of Calico” Morgan-Marshall, who is regarded as the legendary, iconic, and infamous villianess herself. When Haunt premiered in 1973, Diana Kelly-Kirchen was cast as the first Green Witch, who went by the name of Spooky Sarah. She was the first Green Witch to appear on the show. Charlene Parker took over Diana’s role as the Haunt after Diana departed the show in 1982. The Green Witch was then replaced as the face of Scary Farm in 2021 by The Conductor, who became the new face of the attraction.

The contentious “Hanging” live act, which is a mainstay of the Haunt, parodies celebrities and public figures through a series of staged hangings, is a staple of the Haunt. Since the first Halloween Haunt in 1979, the Hanging has been an annual event.

Halloween Junkie - Knotts Scary Farm

As of 2019, there are nine mazes, four fright zones, four experiences, and four live events in the park.

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Knotts Scary Farm

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