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After years of putting it off, I finally decided to go to the self-proclaimed Number #1 Haunted Attraction in America! Really? This place was sure to impress, right? These claims were not the main catalyst for my high hopes but, rather, its high ticket price of $33.00 a head! Yeah, that’s a bit steep. Having paid so much, I wanted, NAY, I demanded to be frightened and get my money’s worth!
After arriving to the grounds, which appeared to be some sort of farm (the smell of horse manure corroborated my suspicions immediately), my wife and I were greeted by an endless sea of young adults and college students. This, of course, was to be expected, even on a Sunday night. The moon was full and the mild chill in the air did not detract from the night’s event. We acquired our prepaid tickets and went on to what is perhaps the crappiest part of the attraction – the line (s).
Being horded in like cattle, it took us almost an hour and a half to finally reach the first portion of the attraction – the “Haunted Hayride“.
The hayride featured a vehicle very much like the one pictured on the left. Now, in order to get the good seats, sitting on the ledge of the flatbed, I apparently had to make a dash for ‘em, which I did not. Because I wasn’t the Flash, I had to sit dead center of this very hard and uncomfortable wooden flatbed adorned with loads of semi-wet hay.
Being that this was supposed to be scary and was supposed to provide for some jolting scares, the tractor moved about 5 MPH through a dark path into the woods so that everyone can squirm at costumed actors as they tried to frighten many of the passengers with “Boos!” and “Arghs!” . Thankfully for me, it seemed to last all of 15 minutes (sarcastic)! It was one of those rare instances where I wish I was more flexible and shorter than I actually am so that I could “comfortably” sit in the yoga position. Needless to say, I could not sit in said position and was in excruciating pain for the duration of the ride. Adding to the pain was my wife, who ditched me and is apparently the female Flash! She was able to get a good seat and every time there was some sort of “scare”, she would lunge backward and unto me where I had to exert of all of my energy and strength to keep me from falling back and unto a stranger’s lap. Did I mention this tractor was going up and stopping on hills? OUCH!
The moment I had actually been looking forward to was the arrival of the Headless Horseman himself. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night for him to make his appearance what with the full moon and all. Having already been disappointed with the scares thus far, I had high hopes for the headless horseman. Our guide rambled on and on about some story or another about escaped dead convicts and dead prison guards as we rode through. To be honest, all I heard was Snoopy jargon, “Womp, womp, womp!!” as my attention was elsewhere, pinpointing each scare to myself before they happened.
What I did hear was, “He’s here, the Headless Horseman!” Yes! My excitement grew and like a little child, stood straight up looking over the many heads of those with good seats so that I may catch a glimpse. Then, there he was! The moon shone behind him as he made his way through a large, empty field of grass and towards the wagon. It was the Headless Horseman, but he wasn’t as scary as I had expected.
Branding a clearly visible plastic sword and with the body of a 17-year old boy, the dainty horse galloped towards our vehicle. All the onlookers were silent, not one scream or squirm. It was actually pretty funny as the horseman waived his sword at the faces of unimpressed onlookers as if begging for someone to show some sort of fear – no one did and the dainty horse galloped away into the night. He didn’t even have a pumpkin which I would have preferred to a plastic sword! FAIL!
After the hayride, we reached – wait for it – another line to a series of haunted attractions that included The Lunar Motel, The Blood Inn, The Dark Harvest Cornmaze, and other mini-Haunted Houses. In total, there are seven haunted attractions in one!
I have to admit, however, that despite the lack of scares, at least for me, the Headless Horseman Hayrides & Haunted Houses attraction did feature an impressive array of props, costumes and sets that truly showed me where their ridiculously high ticket prices were going towards so I can see how it can be a truly frightful experience for some. There was also a small custom built town within the grounds that featured small cafes and gift shops.
I mean, just because it wasn’t scary for me, doesn’t mean it’s not scary to someone else, primarily a child. But, I will give credit where credit is due and I tip my hat off for the effort at scaring me and the great sets and animatronics. Still, I will probably never do another haunted house attraction ever again being that they are A.) Extremely overpriced and B.) Have yet to find one that is scary (only one I’ve been to that kind of creeped me out was in a place called Nightmares in Niagara Falls, Canada)
So, is the Headless Horseman the number #1 Haunted Attraction in America? Not according to these other websites:
Haunted House Magazine – 6. Headless Horseman
Haunt World – 5. Headless Horseman
Haunted House Rankings – 6. Headless Horseman
Fangoria – 9. Headless Horseman
OK, so it’s in the top 10! Still, false advertising just pisses me off!