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Haunted houses offer a dose of reality

As Halloween draws closer, many Valley residents flock to haunted houses for entertainment and bloodcurdling fun. Many attend these places to be spooked or to be confronted with reality. Two of the most talked about places around Fresno are: Satterstroms’ Haunted Forest, hay ride and house is in Selma; and Nightmare, a reality house run by Cornerstone Church, is in downtown Fresno.

While students attended Nightmare, they were filled with a sense of what are occurring in the world today such as results of drunk driving, gang fights, suicide, abusive parents and drug overdose.

“I wanted to work at Nightmare because I felt it was a way to put my acting skills to work,” Greg Tharpe, ’04. Tharpe acted in the crack house as an person who overdosed on them. “I worked there to show people the reality of drugs and their need to face the horror of drugs.”

They were also taken to a pretend Hell via a very shaky elevator with red smoke. While shown the crucifixion and rise of Christ, many people went through many emotional thoughts about the severe suffering Christ.

“Our main focus is on the lost,” Pastor Rudy, Cornerstone Church pastor and head of Nightmare, said. “So many churches have come through here and Nightmare has jolted them to know that they have to do something in the world.”

“I thought the scene where Jesus was being tortured and was hanging on the cross was really touching,” Krystal Kitahara, ’04, said. “It really made me realize again that Christ went through a lot of suffering to die for us.”

Nightmare has been in Fresno for two years and has been instrumental in bringing 25 people to Christ.

“I am really glad that I went to Nightmare which was my first haunted house,” Erica McIntyre, ’04, said. “It really opened my eyes and touched me especially when I was shown the scene of parents fighting and their daughter committing suicide. When I walked by the actors I would smile at them and they would give me creepy looks.”

For some Nightmare was not just a glimpse of reality but a very terrifying experience.
“I was so scared at Nightmare,” Morgan Rigby, ’04, said. ” Especially when I had to walk across a bridge with a grave underneath me. While walking across there were dead people grabbing my feet, so I stepped on their hands.”

Nightmare took very real tragic events and transformed them into a spooky reality house to warn people while Satterstroms was purely entertainment. For some, Satterstroms seemed to be more of an adventure and thrill than Nightmare.

“I thought Nightmare was really dull,” Jordan Griffin, ’04, said. “Satterstroms haunted house was better than Nightmare and the hay ride was not as good as last year. On the hay ride and in the forest the actors were really funny to talk to and yell at.”

Many people who went to the Satterstroms felt that they were able to interact more with the actors at Satterstroms than at Nightmare.

“When I was on the hay ride all of my friends told the really scary men what my name was,” Emily Goertzen, ’04, said. ” The men would come up to my sides and then would say my name in a really weird way and would look me right in my eyes. At Nightmare they all had plain faces.”

Many commented that they would rather have not seen many things that were shown at the haunted events.

“Towards the end of the house there was a man behind bars and who was eating another man who was hung by a noose,” Michelle Smith, ’04, said. “Then I walked into a room that is completely covered with dots. I looked to my right and there was a man looking at me that was covered with dots also.”

Like the cannibal at Satterstroms haunted house, there were many other disturbing things that were viewed at Nightmare as well.

“I was walking into one of the rooms at Nightmare I looked to my right and saw a woman sitting in the corner eating rats,” Nick Jones, ’02, said. “It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Also when the girl shot her self in her room her brains went shooting to the wall behind her.”

Besides the most gruesome details many felt cost played a big role in attending or not attending.

“To do everything at Satterstroms it cost me $25,” Lauren Taylor, ’03, said. ” I think it was really worth it because you could go as many time as you wanted about they had a really good set up. I was a little disappointed though because some people didn’t get to go because it was so expensive.”

Despite the issue of cost most felt it was worth it to attend either for the scare or to be revealed the truths of the world.

“Some people will start crying and sometimes fall at different scenes. They will look at a scene and realize that is their dilemma,” Rudy, said. “For non-Christians the most touching part of the reality house is the domestic violence and suicide, for believers it is the scene where Jesus is being whipped and for old people the scenes of the crack house and gang fight seem to be the hardest because they have never seen them before.”

For more information on Satterstroms Haunted Forest, hayride and house in Selma, call 897-3685. The cost is $25 for all three activities. For Nightmare, the reality house run by Cornerstone Church, call 442-0122 and the cost is $7. Both events are open through Oct. 31.

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