Evangelical haunted houses

The Cut has an article about the traumatizing and manipulative world of evangelical haunted houses, replete with scenes of mass shootings, abortion, suicide, and domestic violence. I’m writing about this because it’s both interesting and features my wife (under a pseudonymous first name):

I don’t exactly remember how it started, but I think at the beginning of the scene you were watching a guy talk to himself, or something. And after a couple minutes of this, it was like they broke the fourth wall — you could hear the cast and crew in the background talking louder and louder, and then people with headsets started to race through the crowd. And they’re going, “We’ve gotta get out of here! Somebody’s got a gun!”


And then the room went black, and a gun noise went off, with a flash. It sounded exactly like somebody had come in and started shooting in the room. People were crouching, and people were screaming. Because we all thought it was real. We all really thought we were going to die.

I grew up Catholic and had no idea of such things before we met. Some time ago we tried to find one to go to, but the closest was two states away. So it seems these aren’t very prevalent anymore. It’s probably for the best.


  1. agender says

    The technique was developed by a Catholic, Jos´e Maria Escriver, the founder of the Jesuits (o.k., I ´ll admit for training Jesuits, not for children). But in the 1980s 16/17year-olds were asked to attend those “exercitia”.
    I was too (in)famous as a church critic to be pressured into it, but still suspect one or two of my classmates to be traumatized by it.

  2. says

    agender@1: Escrivá was the founder of Opus Dei, not the Jesuits (they’ve been around a bit longer) and a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

    (I’ve often said that my time spent as a practicing Catholic was book-ended by the canonization of two men: Maximillian Kolbe, who died in Auschwitz; and José Maria Escrivá, who spent his life licking the boots of people who built places like Auschwitz)