Taking refuge from all the scary economic news of late, Wendy and I joined her sister's family for a little virtual terror this past week--a haunted hayride at a local apple orchard and cider mill.
I think this is natural. Remember how during the Great Depression of the 30s people flocked to Universal horror movies like Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy? It's an escape from the realities of everyday life. So afterwards you can say, "Well, there are worse things than seeing my savings disappear. I could be bitten by a vampire and become one of the living dead."
So it wasn't surprising when we arrived at Wiard's Orchards near Ann Arbor to find a huge line for tickets to their haunted attractions, even if tickets ranged from $15 to a VIP package of over $30. Better ghosts take your money than the bank or the government, right?
We got a ticket for the haunted hayride. I've never been on a hayride before, let alone a haunted hayride. As we got on the haywagon, the gentleman employee assisting us said, "No flash photography, no flashlights and no touching the monsters."
What monsters? The advertising didn't mention any monsters. And so much for the flashlight I had stuffed into the pocket of my hoodie. My brother and I had toured one of Wiard's haunted houses many years ago and found out the flashlight came in handy.
I remember my brother shined the flashlight ahead as we led our young boys through the pitch black haunted house. "There's one," my brother said as his beam lit upon a creepy-looking character. "There's another one," as his flashlight revealed another before he could jump out and shout, "Boo!" Seems ironic that my brother, who sometimes comments here as "The Enforcer" would want a flashlight under such circumstances, but I remember being thankful he had one.
Back to the hayride. The first part of the ride was uneventful as the tractor pulled our wagon through the field. But once we hit the woods, all heck broke loose. A damsel in distress charged out wagon, screaming for us to save her. Sorry. We were told to stay seated. So some demon jumped out, kidnapped her, and chopped her up or something. Bummer for her.
Then followed a parade of other maniacs, costumed characters and ghoulies who ran after our wagon, waving machetes, axes or chainsaws. "You can't touch us. You're not supposed to touch us," Wendy reminded one of them when she thought he got too close. True, that was something else the gentleman told us as we embarked on our adventure.
"This is interesting," my nephew Billy said looking down the trail we'd just traveled. I looked back and saw some figure in a long billowy cape eerily silhouetted by the full moon as he ran to catch our wagon. He eventually caught up, jumped on and said we were all going to die . . . or something like that. By the way, when we arrived at the hayride, Bily insisted on sitting "in the middle." Not sure why, but I'm guessing he felt safer there.
The climax to our hayride came when we entered a barn, the doors shutting behind us leaving us completely in the black. Then a strobe light illuminated the interior and a couple monsters attacked our wagon from various vantage points, including a loft above. By then we were kinda used to it though, even if one of them had a chan saw that he pressed against the wagon bottom, rattling the whole floor.
Though we all agreed that in the end it wasn't that
scary, it still frightened me into having a creepy dream that night. I dreamt that we were headed to that haunted hayride in a school bus, and the bus was chased by a man dressed in a black, billowy cape. Very close to the plotline in the movie Jeepers Creepers 2 if anyone has seen it. When I told my sister-in-law about the dream, she said it was a bonus for the price of my ticket.