The Harbinger Online

Braving the Beast

By and

Scaredy- Cat ~ Courtney McClelland


My intense fear of scary things began as a little kid, when my dad forced me to watch Ghostbusters and I couldn’t fall asleep for days. After the Ghostbusters incident, I began my lifelong boycott of scary movies. So as you can guess, my idea of a good time has never been wandering around an old, dark building with mysterious figures popping out from the shadows.

But yet there I stood, in line waiting for my turn to enter Kansas City’s “scariest haunted house”: The Beast. In line, I stood paralyzed as the infamous Rat Man stuffed rats into his mouth and handed one to Anna. She jumped at the opportunity, and held it so casually, that you would think she had done it before. The Rat Man symbolizes everything I hate about haunted houses, with his gory face paint and tattered costume, rats crawling out of his pockets and an undeniable odor of sewage. Not only was I welcomed by Rat Man, but while waiting in line, the beast himself, a seven-foot-tall green werewolf, spotted my fear and took advantage of it. He began circling around me, growling at me as I made a sad attempt to hide behind Anna, only to be greeted with laughter from her. I was beginning to question why I signed up for this.


Regret washed over me as I walked into The Beast. Mysterious figures concealed with masks and face paint were jumping out all over the place. They would lurk inches away from me, as I did my best to hide behind Anna — with little success. She seemed to enjoy listening to my high – pitched screams and watching me fall over in fear.

As I entered the room where a chainsaw murderer awaited, I could hear faint screams ahead of me. I walked through the narrow passageway, with a railing on one side and a masked man holding a running chainsaw on the other. As I began to walk by, I felt the rubber chainsaw rub against my leg. I buckled over in fear. I had nowhere to go, the chainsaw lay between me and my only chance of freedom. I ran as fast as I could, but the chainsaw still caught me, causing me to stumble into Anna waiting on the other side. And then came the pinnacle of all haunted houses: a mock insane asylum full of blood and guts. While I knew these were all simply props, my imagination couldn’t help but wander to “what if”.

However, the worst had to be the strobe light illuminated room, filled with doors and different masked figures waiting behind each for you. Despite the room’s intended scare factor, Anna paused to celebrate how cool hitting the whip looked in the strobe light. However, with my patience dwindling and my headache growing, I frantically scrambled to find the fastest possible exit. Only one more obstacle stood in my way: the exit.  


I stood in the windowsill, looking three stories down at the trampoline that lay below me. I was about to jump. The grumpy employee told me I had five seconds to jump or I would have to take the stairs down to exit. Since I had made it this far through the haunted house, I was going to go out with a bang. Before I had too much more time to think, I stepped out from the window and prepared to plummet to my death. I hit the trampoline with such force, it felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. I not-so-gracefully rolled off the trampoline, where my feet finally touched the ground and I could breath fresh air again. I looked up and couldn’t believe I had just jumped from the side of a building; I felt like I should be a stunt double in the next Indiana Jones movie.

Walking back to the car, I was still fidgety, waiting for someone to jump out and scare me. While I won’t deny that I had fun at the haunted houses, that fun came at a price: the nightmares I would be having later. Despite my complete fear of everything scary, I would consider it a must visit for anyone.


Thrill- Seeker ~ Anna Dierks


A squirming rat hung out of the Rat Man’s mouth as I clutched another in my hand. How odd is it that this man is being paid to shove rodents in his mouth? As Courtney screamed and ran, I didn’t feel disturbed. We had only been in line long enough to encounter two of The Beast’s characters roaming around outside when I made my first “scary person” friendship. The alliance between me and the Rat Man was sealed when he patted my back and promised free tickets when I returned later in the “scaring season.” Honestly I think he just liked me because I was one of the few haunted house-goers that didn’t immediately run away from him.

A part of me finds it incredibly morbid to confess that I love being scared out of my mind and have a passion for haunted houses. I’ve claimed since the fourth grade that if I ever worked at Panera, my name tag would read “Hi, my name is Anna and my passion is HAUNTED HOUSES.” So naturally, when Courtney suggested we try something outside of our typical Friday “football game then Winstead’s hangout” routine, I immediately jumped to the perfect solution: taking on Kansas City’s “scariest haunted house,” The Beast.


“Five dollars if you get one of the actors to break character,” Courtney dared me.

The challenge was on. My friends were gripping each other’s shirts, arms and hair in terror as we ascended the grand staircase at the beginning of our tour. At the top of the stairs, I went for a fist bump with a woman dressed in black, tattered clothing and an unreasonable amount of black face paint. I attribute my failure to the fact that my whole train of friends was watching our interaction intently; surely the witch wouldn’t want to show weakness in front of a large group. I shrugged and moved on, my determination unwavering.

From then on, I figured holding up the back of the pack must be the way to go, hoping I’d get the most interaction with the characters from there. We passed through rooms of simple decor, sometimes just blank walls with a chair and character in the corner. Not knowing if the character was living or not, I pleaded for them to “hit the whip.” Most of the time I just walked away embarrassed, realizing that the slouching figure was really just a stuffed doll. But, when we reached a strobe-light illuminated room with various doors and jokers running around, I made my first five dollars. This particular joker had scared Courtney so badly she nearly collapsed, so I tried again with a fist bump. He whispered to me that physical interaction wasn’t allowed, so we defaulted to an “air fist bump.” Throughout the rest of the night I collected two “air fist bumps,” one “air high five” and even got a blood covered butcher to sing Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” but I’m not completely sure how that happened.


At the end of our venture through The Beast, we were given the option of “taking the jump” or walking down the stairs. I wasn’t sure what “taking the jump” meant, but I was more than ready to find out.

After turning a couple corners, we came to an open door with a wooden plank leading out twenty feet above the ground. The woman stationed near the door warned that we had five seconds to jump onto our butt or back after mounting the plank, or we’d have to take the stairs, but I was already out of the building. Landing on a giant blob filled with air, I scrambled to my left and waited for my friends to descend.

At this point, my adrenaline was still running high, so I rushed my friends off the blob and demanded we search around the block for more haunted house characters to befriend. However, most of the group was over the whole “scary” thing, so I backed off and agreed to head home.

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