Did I Ever Tell You About The Time I Almost Got Raped By Jack The Ripper?

Basically it was like this but with a pillow over my face.

True story.

Last October, I went to a haunted house on a whim.  Why?  Don’t know, hadn’t been to one since I was in junior high.  But it was close to Halloween and it was a gorgeous fall night and I had nothing else to do, so when the option was offered, I figured why not?  I love Halloween anyway.  October is my favorite month of the year.  The weather, the trees turning, the overabundance of unhealthy food, football and b-movie marathons on TV.  Yeah, there is no better month than October.

This haunted house was on the southside of Indianapolis.  In German Park, actually.  Unassumingly, it was called The Asylum House.  We got there around sunset and I almost wondered, getting out of the car, if it would be worth the drive.  It looked small.  Really small.  I couldn’t help but think back to Pigeon Forge and wondered if I’d just been suckered into some twenty-dollar tourist trap.  But, whatever, we’d made the drive, so we paid and entered the line.

Now, again, I hadn’t been to a haunted house since junior high.  All my impressions of haunted houses were firmly rooted in the days of frosted tips.  So when the gatekeeper or whatever at the entrance to the house told us that the house was interactive and we could be touched, I thought…yeah, right.  They’ll say boo and tap your shoulder.  Right?  Right?

Well, of course not.  There wouldn’t be  a story if that was the case.  Apparently, I’d ended up at Indiana’s only interactive haunted house.   What were the odds?  CALCULATED! That’s what the odds were.

So the whole affair begins with a leisurely stroll through the ol’ graveyard.  Some guy in a cape and John Lennon glasses is playing an oversized church organ and I can’t tell if he’s a real person or a robot.  These guys, I immediately assess, are dedicated.  This job isn’t fun for them.  It’s business.  But at that point, they’re largely unarmed, so my boots aren’t shaking too hard.

The graveyard romp ends, after a few jump scares, at the stairs to a crypt.  The Crypt of Elysium, they call it.  I have a new name for it after we enter: The Endless Walk Through Pitch-Black Nothingness.  That’s pretty much the idea: no light, just a maze.  In complete darkness.  Occasionally, someone bangs against a wall and makes you jump, or suddenly flicks on a flashlight and steps out at you, immediately appearing from nowhere.  Now, I’m not claustrophobic and I’m not much afraid of the dark, but getting separated from the group was one of the more panic-inducing moments of my life.  I mean, I couldn’t go on without them.  It would defeat the whole purpose.  And I couldn’t find them in the darkness, calling out to no one in particular and running into strangers.  So that was a disaster, but, you know, I totally cheated.

Cell phone backlight, yo.

I eventually found my way to where I needed to go, much to the chagrin of the costumed characters, who I swear to God shocked me as I was fumbling my way toward the exit.  I was jolted.  That’s all I know.  And I don’t think it was on accident.

Now, my second indication that these guys mean business is at a later junction, when I’m stuck in a stockyard, squinting into a strobe lights as I’m surrounded by clowns.  I’d elaborate evil clowns but really, that’s redundant.  All clowns are evil.  These ones enjoy poking my nose and making throat-slash gestures at me.  Okay, I think.  Funny.  Time to move on.  No, they step in front of me.  Don’t let me keep moving.  One picks up a wooden stake, sharpened at the tip, and leans in toward my ear, clownspeak cutting through crooked teeth:

“I’ll give you a five-second head start.  Go.”

Again, funny.  I laugh.  Clown does not.  He just starts counting down from five, which gets me walking a little fast, grooves of my sneakers kicking up gravel.  And then — and this is where their immersion becomes Crystal Lake clear — the dude raises the stake and starts charging at me.  Not walking menacingly.  Not jogging.  Not galloping.  Charging.

I think back to the house rules.  They can touch you.  I think back to being shocked and not knowing the difference between a pianist and a puppet.  I think about the fact I’m on the southside.  Suddenly, I’m not sure there’s a safety net anymore.  So I run, of course, because it turns out in the countless years of human evolution, the natural instinct is still to run like hell when a clown is charging at you with a splintering stake.

So I’m chased out of the stockyard and I could get into countless similar incidents here: a hillbilly with hedgeclippers, camoflauged children crawling around on the floor and clutching to my ankles (is this a haunted house or Wal-Mart?)  But I really want to get into the whole rape thing.  You know, because it’s in the post title.  So I’m somewhat obligated.

The whole rape thing comes into play when we enter a room mocked up to look like a doctor’s office.  Some portly, unkempt gentleman with half-moon spectacles and a brown bowling hat is standing in the room and starts speaking in a terrible British accent.  I’m not really paying attention; I’m laughing at something.  I guess he was talking to me and I didn’t answer.  So, like any good Ripper impersonator, ol’ Jack grabs me by my collar and swings me toward a bed.  I’m a bit caught off guard by the roughness of the whole act, but still, I smile.  It’s all for jokes, right?  Well, yes.

Until he hurls me onto the bed.

Even before he grabs a pillow and pressed it down on my face, I’m thinking that this is crossing a line somehow.  That this is beyond “interactive.”  But there I am, sprawled out on a bed with a 200-pound Jack the Ripper impersonator on top of me, one hand smothering me with a pillow, the other drawing a blade against my neck.  At that point, I’m just praying it’s fake and I’m about 50-50 on that.

Get out! he yells to everyone else in the room, who slowly slink off into the rest of house.  Great, I think.  I’m alone in a room, splayed out on a bed with a knife against my throat and a seasonal serial killer sitting on top of me, knees digging into my chest.  No way that ends bad.  Cue the banjos.

At the expense of anti-climax, yes, I was eventually released.  But don’t think, every time I saw a costumed character the rest of the way, I wasn’t supremely suspicious of their intentions.

So, kids, should you ever come across a haunted house employee pretending to be Jack the Ripper, be warned.  He will throw you on a bed.  He will smother you.  And it’s very possible that he will violate you as well.

With a terrible British accent!


2 Responses

  1. I don’t think I have laughed so much as I did with your story. I also went through the same haunted house and experienced the same actors. I however was not scared and knew it was all fake. Sorry that you had such a horrible experience. I do hope that your experience doesn’t keep you from going to Walmart or the southside again.

  2. It wasn’t horrible. It was awesome. I’m totally bringing an unsuspecting friend there next year under the ruse we’re just going to check out a cool bike trail or something.

    And then they will know.

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