by Heather Nale
The long awaited Spring Mill Haunted Village took place on Saturday October 8, 2011. It was a time enjoyed by men and women of all ages. It was perfect cheap, scary entertainment for a Saturday night out with friends.
My friend, Paige, and I left town at 4:30. It was the first time I was driving out of Salem with just a friend. The six month with no occupants law was just lifted from me days before. We arrived at the park around 5, an hour before we thought the festivities would begin. I was dressed in my sparkly Converse sneakers, tight jeans, pink knit hat and I carried my over-sized owl purse. Paige was wearing her brown, suede boots, skinny jeans, and carrying her, wait for it, new Coach brand bag.
We didn’t want to sit and wait for an hour, so we got the bright idea to hike through the trails. We started up trail four, which was, unfortunately, almost all uphill. We were gasping for breath by the time we reached an outlet. We followed a sign to the rest of trail of four. After walking a ways, the trail broke off into two directions. One led more into the woods and the other led to a creek waterfall. Being the girly girls we are, we slid down the slight incline and walked by the creek. We could hear the actors practicing for the Haunted Village and turning on the chainsaws.
After the water became boring and we had several photo ops, we decided we needed to retrace our steps and find the concession stand. One problem. We couldn’t find the path that we took. We looked everywhere. In ten minutes time, we were both convinced a guy with a gun was going to come and kill us both. We finally decided we just needed to climb up this ridiculously steep hill, where Paige had found a fence. The fence led to a completely different path, to the quarry. We were still freaking out, scaring ourselves with stories about men hiding in the bushes more than anything.
We didn’t even have phone reception. We couldn’t call for help. We were lost in the woods, not on a path, with no way to find help, with a hypothetical serial killer. Finally, we decided to walk around and look. After about twenty steps, we found civilization. Full of people, the bathrooms and signs. Our hair was everywhere, all our makeup was off and our feet were burning. All it took to get us back to people was twenty steps. We felt stupid.
By this time, Paige and I were ready to get in the car, drive home and stuff our faces with El Toro. But we made a promise that we would stick this Haunted Village out. We found the concession stand and chugged water and Gatorade, the whole time muttering things like, “I don’t belong here. I belong in New York. With people and stores.”
The line was forming for the Haunted Village. Paige and I took spots towards the front. Then we saw a familiar face. Mrs. Prater was the fortune teller for the event. We walked over and got our palms and cards read. Our fortunes weren’t the most optimistic things that we’d ever heard. The line had grown and we lost our lovely spots near the front. We found the end and waited. Our night was not going so well. It was too bright for a haunted area, so the Village opened up late. It was 7:30 before the first group could go in. Paige and I finally got led into the gates and I was scared to death. I have a serious phobia of people dressed in costumes. At first I thought, oh this isn’t so bad; the actors couldn’t cross the caution tape. But a gust of wind blew and my hat fell off. I bent down to pick it up, and when I got up, an evil clown was two inches from my face. I did the most stupid thing I could do and screamed. The clown then followed me, getting in my face. He passed me off to the next evil clown who passed me off to a giant gorilla. Then came the chainsaws. Guys leapt over bridges to pretend to cut off my legs. There was a smoke machine going, and it made me cough. I realized that as long as I was coughing, the actors would stay away from me. I coughed for a good twenty feet after the smoke disappeared. There were more actors jumping out from black walls, witches dancing, cannibals, and some creepy gnome thing that I’m sure ruined “Gnomeo and Juliet” for the small four-year-old girl in front of me.
Finally it was over. I could walk and not worry. I could let go of Paige’s hand. The line was easily over a mile long by the time we got out. I was paranoid. We reached the parking lot, and some stupid little girl decided to rustle some leaves and walk out of the trees, causing me to scream and everyone else to bust a gut laughing.
Paige continued to make fun of me the whole way home. We told our own ghost stories about the supernatural and by the time I dropped her off, I was kind of scared to drive the rest of the way home by myself.
Overall, the Haunted Village experience was a good one. I probably screamed more than any other person that went through. It was definitely worth the money, but I will not be going back.