During my high school years I worked several seasons at a local haunted house. Through the month of October I worked every weekend and then the last week of the month we were open every night. I enjoyed the job, but more than scaring people I really enjoyed all the
fucking crazies interesting people that I had the opportunity to meet.
We had one guy who had lost his leg in an accident and used a prosthetic to get around. When he had his jeans on you couldn’t even tell, so good was he at walking on that prosthetic. He would even take part in a little touch football before work time. It’s embarrassing to get schooled in football by a one-legged man. When it came time to work he unstrapped his good prosthetic and exchanged it for an old, shabby one. In the haunted house he sat on a stretcher and used an axe to hack away at his “leg,” all the while screaming like a lunatic. He was a hoot.
One guy liked to hide a little tape recorder in his room and record people’s screams. He would play his favorites back for you at the end of the night and give you play-by-play commentary on the screamers.
I remember a night when I began to notice a smoky smell accompanying the “smoke” in the haunted house. Machine-made smoke should not smell like actual smoke, you understand. Machine-made smoke is noxious and chemical smelling and sticks to your contacts; actual smoke smells like, well, it smells like smoke. So I got nervous and sent word that I thought we had a problem. Turns out the guy manning the smoke machine fell asleep with his foot on the mechanism and the smoke machine caught on fire. Ironic, no?
Here’s a news piece on the Museum of Horrors that I found on YouTube. This was produced long after I had worked there. Near the 1:40 mark you’ll see a room with glowing dots. That was my room. I wore a black jumpsuit and mask outfitted with the same dots on the wall, thereby making me nearly invisible unless I moved. I was a good Dotman. The guy in the video sucks.
Anyway…the fellow that owned the Museum of Horrors, John Anderson, was a pretty weird guy. Not weird as in satanic or occultish, but weird as in he liked to bang crack-head hookers on Faulkner lane and then joke about it. With his wife in the next room. And he expected you to laugh right along with him. And he smelled a bit like rancid hamburgers.
But anyway, I got to scare the shit out of people, so I put up with him.
Turns out in addition to banging crackheads John also likes to talk shit online. Unfortunately, John Anderson insulted the wrong guy. According to this Waco Tribune-Herald article, John called some dude a “nerd” on a message board. Apparently the fellow didn’t take kindly to being called a nerd, so he drove from Virginia to Waco, Texas, and burned John Anderson’s house down.
Real life scary is always scarier than make-believe scary. I talk shit online constantly. Not a day goes by that I don’t intentionally antagonize someone online. Guess I need to put up smoke detectors.