Terror Of Fun


Junior Osmar Murillo takes a picture with one of the scare actors

Jennifer Pereyra

Junior Osmar Murillo takes a picture with one of the scare actors

Jennifer Pereyra, Reporter

Halloween is around the corner and October has never been a better time to enjoy some spooky fun. With the screeching screams of people and the fluorescent, radiant skylights, Fearfest is where it’s at this year. 

Built on a 46 acre farm, Fearfest has become Columbia’s professional at scaring almost everyone who visits. Now in it’s 19th year of terror, this year they feature 4 different attractions all in the same location: Hawthorne State Asylum, The Mortuary, Necropolis Haunted House, and Terror in the woods. 

Fearfest claims Hawthorne State Asylum, built in 1856, was designed to house the most disturbed and dangerous patients from around the midwest. It was the last stop for people too violent for other facilities. Conditions inside the Asylum became horrible due to overcrowding and loss of funding. The facility’s extreme use of lobotomies, electric shock treatment and torture contributed to its eventual closure. However, it was a horrific event that finally closed its doors forever.

Featuring mentally and physically ill patients crying for help, psychaotic doctors, intense flashing lights, and decomposed bodies, Hawthorne State Asylum terrorizes those who visit. Each actor adds to the layer of terror with their horrifying and gruesome makeup and outfits. 

“Honestly, I wasn’t too scared, but it was funny seeing how my friend group reacted to all the scares. The characters and the decoration are really cool and add to the feel of the haunted house in my opinion” said Zackary Scott, senior. 

Second attraction, The Mortuary, In the winter of 1950, an odd and reclusive man named Ezekiel Helmsley established a Mortuary on the grounds of the abandoned Hawthorne State Asylum. People began to talk about the vileness that seemed to always radiate from the presence of the Mortician. Rumors quickly began of improper burials, corpse desecration and forbidden experimentation. After decades of surrounding himself with death, Ezekiel became obsessed with preventing his own. Through some corrupt combination of science and dark arts, the creepy Mortician managed to prolong his life. Legend says that Ezekiel had a family he kept hidden due to their twisted appearance and odd eating habits. A family he kept alive by switching out body parts piece by piece. Some say Ezekiel is still working to this day, always looking for fresh specimens.

“It was fun, a really great experience. It’s thrilling getting scared and I enjoyed spewing random things back at them (actors)” Alyssa Tetro, senior, said. 

Necropolis Haunted House and Terror in The Woods have been deemed as the scariest attractions at Fearfest. Running away from terrifying clowns in the dark forest, including a couple of other characters that jump in on the fun, such as screwhead and Froggy the clown, a somewhat friendly character on stilts. 

“I work as a zombie on Necropolis. It’s been fun and there’s a real sense of community at Fearfest, interacting with customers is really entertaining and getting paid to wear cool makeup and scare people is a win-win” Sophomore Daz Murray said. 

Fearfest haunted houses are located at 6399 U.S. Highway 40, three miles west of Columbia off Interstate 70 at Exit 121. Houses are open weekends in October. Thursday night events are 7:30-11 p.m., while Friday and Saturday events are 7:30 p.m.-midnight. Since Halloween falls on a Sunday, that night’s event is 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Event dates include Oct. 7-9, Oct. 14-16, Oct. 21-23 and Oct. 28-31.