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Woods of Terror causes guests to Black Out

by Lenise Willis

lenise@yesweekly.com

For years, Woods of Terror has brought to life its visitors’ worst fears — nightmares of horror-movie stars, snakes and spiders, zombies, and now the feeling of being smothered, along with the panic of being left in the dark.

Black Out, the haunted attraction’s brand-new, total sensory experience, ends the one-hour tour by shrouding visitors in black hoods and making them find their way through a series of experiences, including a swarm of bees, wind, fire and mad dogs.

With their sight hindered, visitors must rely on their sense of touch, smell and hearing to make their way through. At times they may feel like they are being circled by a mass of bees, or in the middle of a tornado.

“At Woods of Terror you are getting the real experience,” says Eddie McLaurin, Woods of Terror owner. “We try to outdo ourselves every year and that’s what keeps people coming back. This year’s Black Out is no different. It offers a sensory experience that’s like no other. People trust us to offer them a thrill they won’t soon forget.”

The new addition was inspired by the television show “Black Out,” in which participants are blind folded before placed in seemingly terrifying, yet illusive environments.

The hoods not only isolate participants from the world around them, leaving them alone in the dark, but for a few seconds, as the bags are placed over their heads, they also realize they’ve just been kidnapped.

One creepy effect that wasn’t originally intended by the hoods, but that proved successful, was giving tourists the feeling of being smothered.

“It’s just another way that I take the control away from you,” McLaurin says about the hoods that cleverly invade your space, but without breaking the no-touch rule.

McLaurin reassures that although the material can give a smothering, claustrophobic feel, it’s completely breathable — and recyclable — woven fabric, so there’s no real chance of suffocating.

“It’s breathable, completely safe, but it still gives that suffocating effect,” McLaurin adds. “And they have to put the hood on to go through, it they don’t want to then they can just leave, but they can’t go through without the hood. About 5 percent so far have left.”

The only pitfall to a safe and breathable fabric is that at times it’s actually not completely blinding, meaning if you want the full disorienting experience, you’ll need to close your eyes, as well.

Other than the new addition of Black Out, there are several other updates throughout the rest of the haunt, all of which came together last weekend to create one of the best tours the haunted trail has had in the last few years.

The actors were full of energy, seemed to pop up from everywhere and dared to creep ever closer to tourists, sometimes tickling or breathing on their necks, and even occasionally springing out toward them using bungee cords.

Speaking of this surge of wonderful characters, it takes more than 100 actors

and 175 total staff with years of makeup and special effects experience to pull off the high-quality production.

Woods of Terror was named Best Haunted House in North Carolina by Haunted House.com, and it was selected as one of the 11 Best Haunts in the country by V MSN has also consistently ranked the attraction as one of its Top 20 haunts in the U.S.

FOR A cause

Woods of Terror will host Terror for Ta-Tas Friday, Oct. 11, to benefit Cone Health Cancer Center’s Finding Your New Normal program. Breast cancer survivors will be at Woods of Terror to educate others on the program and accept donations.

WANNA go?

Woods of Terror runs this week through Saturday, Nov. 2. The haunted attraction is open from 7 p.m. until the last person goes through. Ticket booth opens at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$35. For tickets or more information call 336.286.9396 or visit woodsofterror.com.

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