WOW - that was real!

When I was in high school, I was very involved with extra curricular activities. I was a cheerleader, on the annual yearbook staff, and so on. One of my school activities included helping raise funds for our class events like proms, and graduation. In my senior year, my class decided it would be a great idea to create a 'haunted house' for Halloween.

Other senior classes had done it in the past and they seemed to be quite profitable. The exception with us was that other senior classes had used their own property to create the haunted houses, (old barns and so on- our community is fairly rural) and my class thought we could make more money if we used one of the old buildings downtown to act as our haunted house. We got permission to use the second floor of a building in the center of downtown.

The first floor of the building was the town's teen center, where all the kids came to hang out. We though it would be perfect. The second floor had originally served as a morgue in the early 1900s, when the town was first built. Now that I look back on it, it wasn't the best idea to have a haunted house up there. The floorboards were weak, the stairway upstairs was so narrow a person had to turn sideways to get up to the second floor. The walls were covered with chipped yellow and black lead paint. Indeed, it did make for an ideal setting for a haunted house. When a group of seven of us went to clean up the second floor, the main room was filled with boards, trash, a few dead mice, and a wooden coffin. We were so naive, we decided to use the pine coffin as a decoration. We left the cobwebs up for effect. A lot of hard work went into setting up the house. We only worked on it after school for a few hours each day. When it came time to open the haunted house a few days before Halloween, each of us picked characters. Please bare with me while I explain them. It is important to the reality of this story. I was the seductive vampiress. I guess you could say I was ripping off 'Elvira'- mistress of the dark. We had built a coffin for me to lay in and rise out of. Another senior girl working in the haunted house was the guide. The other girl was a ghost girl dressed in ragged white clothing and dipped in flour. The other four characters were guys. All of us were assigned rooms on the second floor. There were four rooms all together counting the closet. One guy was a werewolf, (complete with mask) two other guys just jumped out from behind furniture to scare people in the main room. The last guy wore a cheesy gorilla mask and he stayed in a small 4X4 foot closet. The idea was the guide would bring the small group of people into the closet, which was completely dark and windowless, and then walk out and shut the door, leaving the people inside trapped for a moment by themselves. Then the guy in the gorilla mask who was hiding inside with them would holler, flash a light on his face, and scare the bejesus out of whoever was in their with him.

The haunted house ran for two nights. The first night, everything went really well. We had a little problem with the lights going in and out, but we attributed it to old wiring. The second night, which just happened to be Halloween night, is when we all had an experience we can not explain. It was the last tour group to go through. I jumped out of my coffin in the first room. The werewolf growled and snarled at the tour group in the second room. Two young fellows with ghoulish makeup jumped out from behind furniture in the main room. The girl playing a ghost wandered around with a bewildered look on her face. The the guide put the four tour people into the closet and shut them in. She (the guide) stood outside holding the door knob. Their was silence for a little longer than usual. Then we heard everyone screaming bloody murder and they pounded on the door to get out, almost breaking it. The guide let them out. One member of the tour group said, "Wow- that looked real, you guys are really good!". Another member of the tour group said she almost went into cardiac arrest. The guide turned around to congratulate the guy in the gorilla mask of a job well done, and their was no one in the room. There are no ways out of the closet room except the door, and the guide had been standing in front of the shut door the entire time the tour group had been talking to her. Just then the guy in the gorilla mask came walking up the stairs with his mask in his hand. He had gone downstairs to use the bathroom and had not been in the closet when the last group went through. The tour group people turned green and looked like they would faint. They said they had seen a man in a grey suit whose face lit up. He had smiled at them and appeared to be floating. We shut up the haunted house immediately, and we didn't even come back to clean up.

Submitted by Ms. Hopkins, North Dakota, USA