october nights

Sometimes I’m rather illogical. For example, I dislike horror and gore, and when I was in middle school Scary Movie scared me. I’ve just rolled with that default since then, and assumed that I would hate haunted houses.


One of my favorite things about meeting new people is being exposed to their world and passions. One of my recent acquaintances adores haunted houses, so I agreed to go to one warily.

Colorado Springs is about an hour’s drive from Denver, so when it got dark we hopped in the car and headed southwards to the Haunted Mines.

There’s something pretty magical about October, and last night was a prime example of it. Light clouds drifted across the sky, the moon barely a crescent above the horizon, and few stars were strong enough to brave the light pollution from the sprawling cities. There was a slight autumnal breeze that even the heat lamp couldn’t mask completely, and the entirety of the Thriller music video provided the soundtrack to the line.

I was grateful to experience my first haunted experience with someone who had already been through in years past – I was able to follow behind while he fearlessly worked his way through the maze. I was able to appreciate the details of the experience without worrying about someone grabbing me or screeching in my ear.

The Haunted Mines is a charity experience run by volunteers – and you can tell how much of a labor of love it is. High school drama geeks (oh, I remember being you!) stare unblinkingly with delightful patterns painting their faces, others leer and mock and get in your personal bubble, demanding your name before you may pass. They follow behind silently and hiss beneath mists and lasers. The props creek eerily and the purple and green lights cast disturbing shadows as you push your way through the black maze. A child-like voice sings slowly, “Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down…

Claustrophobia threatens as we roll our way through tight walls and crawl through tunnels. “Elevators” shake and tip and stop at “666 feet” below the surface. A gypsy demands we spin the wheel to determine our means of dying. “Left or right, which will you choose?” another chants and pushes us into a directionless maze. A waterfall and skeletons, hanging mummies and a wall of faces…

I found myself laughing through most of our time in the Haunted Mines, impressed by the quality I was seeing and using humor as the natural defense to being startled.

Well done, volunteers. I may not be a horror fiend, but I was thrilled to be able to spend an hour or two in your entertaining grasp.


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