Scare tactics

Melissa Stagnaro

While my co-worker Brian Golden spent a good portion of his Saturday at the local boy scouts’ 100 year “Camporee,” I was engaged in other pursuits. Most notably shoe shopping. During which I was mentally preparing myself to have the pants scared off me at Rogers Haunted Hill.

Can you tell I was more than a little excited for the excursion?

I’d heard people tell tales about the super-scary haunted house put on by the Rogers family at their Plymouth-area farm, but never had the chance to go. This year, as soon as I read Brian’s article on the annual event, I vowed to go.

I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t the article itself that convinced me. No, it was hearing grown men had been known to wet themselves it was so scary. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

When I passed that little tid-bit of information onto my friend and fellow Leadership Chenango alum Nancy, she was all for making the trip to Plymouth with me. Her step-daughter Shawna rounded out our little haunted house hunting trio.

On Saturday night we headed for the wilds of Plymouth. After a couple of wrong turns – courtesy of yours truly – we found Hopkins-Crandall Road. We’d managed to freak ourselves out pretty good by this point, a state which was heightened by the bloodcurdling screams and the unmistakable sound of a chainsaw which greeted us when we got out of the cars.

Let’s just say I was incredibly glad I’d taken the opportunity to use the “facilities” before we left Norwich.

Trembling in anticipation for what ghoulishly good fun lay ahead, we glommed on to one another and joined the trickle of other haunted house-goers trekking down the desolate dirt road toward the Rogers homestead. It was only a little after 7, but already the line stretched a good way down the hill from the house.

Time, unlike the line itself, moved quickly. Probably because we were having a blast freaking one another out – not to mention being freaked out by the hulking and skulking ghouls bent on scaring the bejesus out of those on line.

There was also the entertainment provided by the screaming harpy behind us in line, who did her best to create a massive scene over some supposed line-cutters. (Seriously, she should be ashamed of herself. I fervently wish I had been quick enough to capture it on video for all of our ES facebook fans to see. Then she could have been as mortified by her behavior as the rest of us.)

As a first-timer to the annual Halloween attraction, I had naively assumed I’d be able to experience the Haunted Hill in all of its gory glory and still have time to make it back to Norwich for the comedy show at Park Place, which I’d also committed to. Sadly, I was mistaken. By 8:20, we still weren’t at the head of the line, and with no cell service to speak of, I had no way of contacting the friends I was supposed to be meeting, for what was too have been my post-fright comic relief.

I was in a bit of a quandary about it, until Nancy basically made the decision for me. Practically pushing me out of line, she told me she’d give me a full report the following day.

Maybe I imagined it, but I thought for a moment a cheer went up behind us, as they watched me abandon my place allowing the line to creep forward that extra inch. But then it was drowned out by the drone of the chainsaw and a few more screams, so I couldn’t be sure.

As I hiked back up the road in search of my car, I thought about Brian and the quality time he’d spent with the scouts. Which is when I remembered that old scouting motto, “Be Prepared.”

Next year, I vowed, I’ll be much better prepared for Rogers Haunted Hill. I’ll get there earlier, dress warmer and will definitely not double-book.

Happy Haunting.

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