Haunted houses have no specific date of origin. The folklore surrounding their beginning has spawned a common belief that when people die, their spirit moves on to the next life.
Sometimes, souls, usually those that suffered from a violent or tragic death or those with unfinished business, are left behind
These souls are believed to be trapped in their homes, hence the name “haunted house.” Because the souls are not able to rest, they typically try to find peace in any way they can.
According to lore, they try anything, including using supernatural forces, to deter anyone from inhabiting their environments.
Located on 826 W. Gaines St., the Terror of Tallahassee is a local haunted house that opens every October.
The facilities span more than 20,000 feet. Terror of Tallahassee is one of the largest haunted houses in Florida and the largest in North Florida. It admits customers in small groups. The haunted house consists of elaborate illusions, special effects and the cast of more than 40 performers.
Jackson Gladwin, Tallahassee Community College student, who plays the “mad scientist,” said, ” The fun part is that everything is original. We try to keep it unique. The haunt is always changing every year. It’s never the same experience.”
“We go for the heavy scares and we are interactive, while some haunted houses are just exhibits,” said Creative Director Kurt Kuersteiner. “When we say best, I feel like we are putting the other guy down. There are different types of haunts, and we try to create the best horror experience possible. This building is one giant labyrinth, full of twists and turns, and any of its 200 plus corners can conceal your next fright.”
Chris Hulsebosch, 19, a second-year history student
from Deerfield Beach, said, Terror of Tallahassee was surprisingly affordable and described the beginning of the tour.
“It was traditional where they had you wait in a room,” Hulsebosch said. “Then, they led you down a hallway and left you to wander.”
Hulsebosch also said he was surprised at what he thought were fake cockroaches.
“One thing that caught me off guard was the live, hissing cockroaches,” Hulsebosch said. “I tried to touch one, and it ran.”
A new exhibit, the Hallucination Hangar, is located within the Sunland Exhibit. The Hallucination Hangar is based on an experiment by Dr. Greenblade of Sunland Asylum.
Greenblade was a dedicated physician wanting to cure the children of their illnesses. He started to notice that many of his patients were having the same nightmares. He thought the children were just telling the same story from one person to another, but then he noticed that even the children in separate wards were having the same nightmares.
He set out to find a cure. Greenblade created an aerosol that could be inhaled by patients, resulting in manifested visions that attack.
Greenblade experimented on himself, using a dosage that was too high. He had a mental breakdown that left him similar to the patients he was trying to help.
During his breakdown, he created a formula that modified the aerosol to temporarily allow anyone to see everything that the other mental patients saw in their dreams, for a small period of time, without any permanent damage. Guests will be allowed to enter Hallucination Hangar at no additional costs.
Antoinette Jones, 20, a second-year elementary education student from Miami, said she enjoyed the chance to skip lines.
“I was glad that I didn’t have to stand in long lines like you do at other haunted houses,” Jones said. “The makeup and clothing were so convincing. There was no specific path, so I got lost because I couldn’t see.”
Terror of Tallahassee is open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and until midnight tonight. Admission for adults and teens is $15 and $9 for kids 12 and under. VIP passes, which are $25 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under, are offered to bypass lines.