Scary history

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Not a big attraction in the UK (yet), there are over 1,200 professional haunted houses, 3,000 charity-run spookshows and 300 theme parks that operate horror-themed events in the United States.

Creating scares is not a recent phenomenon –

but in the past it was used for different purposes.

The ancient Egyptians used scares to keep body snatchers and tomb raiders away from the contents of their pyramids. They employed moving walls and self-opening doors, traps and mazes, as well as snakes and insects to provoke fear.

Mazes and labyrinths, often filled with monsters, can also be found in Greek and Roman folklore.

Theatrical scares were started in ancient Greek theatre, with productions including things such as trapdoors, ghostly images and fake blood. By the middles ages, travelling players performed mostly Biblical stories, including the scarier parts which were intended to frighten audiences into being good Christians.

The middle ages was also when the idea of Halloween, as we know it today, began. When the Europeans converted to  Christianity, they carried over the idea of an autumn holiday from their Celtic and pagan religions. This included bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins or turnips, dressing in costume and trick -or-treating.

Communicating with the dead……

As theatres developed, so did the development of special effects for the Ghosts, demons and monsters that often appeared in plays. But these spectral sightings were make believe.

By the 1800’s additional forms of ghostly entertainment were available, with Mediums, fortune tellers and spiritualists communicating with the dead.

Or did they?

Harry Houdini and others debunked several famous spiritualists as frauds.

Amusement park thrills and beyond……

In the early 20th century freakshows and dark rides became part of the travelling carnival’s attractions. Then permanent sites for amusement parks sprang up. These included haunted houses and mazes.

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion did not open until 1969. It’s facade was based on the Winchester Mystery House. Inside the house visitors ride “doom buggies” through the haunted mansion.

Now haunted hoses are not restricted to amusement parks. Halloween enthusiasts known as “home haunters” create attractions at their homes. There are also haunted hayrides, mazes and scavenger hunts.

night building forest trees
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Last year the team attended Fright Night near Southampton.

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Tips for solving puzzles in Escape Rooms

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So you are in an escape room with your team.

What things can trip you up? How do you over come them?


Not seeing what is in front of you.

Sometimes one of the hardest things in an escape room is seeing what is in plain sight. You are so used to having to open locks and search cupboards that you can miss something that is staring you in the face.

Check your answer.

So you’ve worked out the puzzle and are sure you’ve got the right answer, but the lock isn’t opening?

Time to start double-checking your work. It may be that you have the right answer, but the wrong lock.

Next, ask your team. Maybe you’ve made a simple error in your calculations. Or maybe you’ve gone about solving it the wrong way. It could be as simple as on those game shows where they read who “has” been in rather than who “hasn’t” and loose the jackpot.

I give up!

Unfortunately, you can’t.

Or if you do give up, someone else on your team has to solve the puzzle.

No-one is getting out unless all the puzzles are solved…….unless of course you hack the puzzle. And that’s not why you paid good money and gave up a couple of hours of your time.

So stop complaining, stop procrastinating and ask for help.

Initially ask your team. But ultimately ask your Games Master. They are there to help you get out. Use them.


person about to catch four dices
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