BALLSTON SPA — Screams could be heard from the far reaches of the parking lot, which elicited nervous chuckles and inner feelings of apprehension — a flickering fear that could not be extinguished — as my group approached the shadowy outlines of bodies awaiting their fate at on one of the Double M Haunted Hayrides.
Even while waiting, there was no escape from being accosted by creatures that crept up quietly in the darkness.
If you’re faint-hearted, I’d suggest you stay clear of the old, almost ancient, hearse, which beckons your attention prior to hopping on the ride. I learned that lesson the hard way. Send the tough guys in your group near the front seat; all bragging will cease for the remainder of the evening.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, it was our turn. The gate opened and we were herded onto a tracker-pulled wagon full of crispy strands of hay.
“That blonde hair is going to be a beacon under the black lights,” a bald man getting people aboard said with a sinister chuckle. “It’s going to light right up!”
Super. Apparently my flaxen compatriots and I don’t always have more fun.
“Good evening,” our narrator/tour guide said. “My name is Ursula Blair. Hopefully we will all make it back in one piece, but there are no guarantees.”
We lurched forward and our terror-filled journey weaving through the haunted woods began.
The forest seemed like it was going to swallow us up. It breathed life, sending chills up the spine, like a warm exhaled pant on your neck. The feeling to glance behind never faded. The wind seemed to whistle warning wails of “Turn back, turn back!” We strained to see movement in the brush beneath arm-like branches of the trees. Our glances darted from trunk to trunk, anticipating a monster in some form to jump out from behind the bark.
And they did — zombies, Jason, Freddy, to name a few. But we made it through unscathed.
The real trepidation set in when we were kicked off the wagon, forced to go the rest of the way on foot facing four fear-inducing places.There was no way around them, you just had to gulp back the dread and move forward.
Hopefully your group will not make you go first, it’s really not the most coveted position, I can assure you.
We became the prey as human-like animals stalked us in the Stockyard. “This world will be ours!” the beasts shouted.
Next we cautiously stepped quietly through the Salvage, an old forgotten junkyard rumored to be the home of a dangerous family. Then it was on to the blackness of The Last Inn, the realm of the insane innkeeper.
Last, we sprinted as fast as one can through Clown Carnevil — a structure full of metal bars and illuminated by strobe lights.
I was not afraid of clowns as a child, but none of these sick, teeth-bearing jesters were at my birthday parties. I’ll be happy if I never see a round, red nose again.
Warning: Your legs may be a bit shaky as you make your way back to your car in the parking lot. Don’t worry, this is normal after being petrified. And remember, if you dare to make this trek, when you hear something go bump in the night, this time it won’t be your imagination.