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Just How Extreme Are the Haunted Houses This Halloween?

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Darren McCollester, Getty Images

If you’re thinking of celebrating Halloween by going to a haunted house attraction, you also might want to schedule an appointment with a psychologist the following morning.

The Wall Street Journal took a behind the scenes tour of several haunted attractions that have been dubbed as the scariest in the country. They don’t just feature simple jump scares and things that go bump in the night. They play on some mankind’s deepest, darkest fears using new technology and personalized fear enhanced experiences.

For instance, the Blackout Haunted House in Manhattan, New York assaults its customers’ fears on a very deep, psychological level. Customers are only allowed to walk through it one at a time. Patrons are placed in waiting rooms and each one is dragged into it by the actors as they kick and scream for their lives, which is usually a big no-no for most haunted houses since they don’t allow the actors to even touch their patrons. They are then subjected to individual mock torture sessions in which they are strapped to a table with their face covered as an actor “bashes a mallet around your fingers.” They are even given a code word that tells the actors they can’t take the fear anymore and around 20 percent of the people end up uttering it.

The Nest in Chandler, Arizona, a house that won last year’s coveted “Spookiest Place in America” title from the viewers of ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ makes their fear experiences much more personalized. The operators actually connect to each customer’s Facebook profile as they are going through the house. When they reach a certain room, they can hear their name being called out in the dark and see projected pictures of their loved ones being turned into zombies or splattered with knife scars and blood stains.

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