While this blog is mostly surrounded around book talk, once in a great awhile I let other pieces of my life slip in. I have always been fascinated with horror and haunts. However, it wasn’t until the last few years that I became fascinated with haunts outside of a theme park setting and found the world of extreme haunts, Blackout to be specific. Today, I wear my Blackout survivor badge of honor proudly.
Recently, I’ve been through into the world of immersive theater. A world that I didn’t know existed to the extent that it does. This world has breathed new life into me during a time in my life that has been very trying. About a month ago, I was followed by an account on Instagram that left me with more questions than answers. Not only was I followed by them on my personal account, I was also, at the time, followed by them on my bookish account. To say my interest was piqued would be an understatement. I was being drawn into The Tension Experience.
I was lead to a website that, through puzzles and cryptic messages, encouraged me to follow a path towards enlightenment and truth. There was a very personal questionnaire that was filled out. How it will be used to tailor my experience remains to be seen. But, I am looking forward to the possibilities.
Following them through all social media accounts, I knew that at this time it was important to show interest and an honest desire to participate. One night there was a message posted to my Facebook wall: If we do not have your number, we cannot call you. TENSION. Oh my!!!! I knew I was getting close and was on the right track. I was no longer a “lurker,” I was becoming a participant.
Last weekend I was extended an invitation to a Tension event. A mixer with others like me they call the Apostles of the Beginning. My invitation was sent via Facebook messenger. I was given a date, a time, and a zip code. Oh.. and instructed that the waiver I will be receiving by email needed to be signed and returned prior to the event or my spot would be vacated.
Sunday, May 29th, I drove up to Los Angeles county. All I had was a zip code that brought me to the city of Sun Valley. Loitering in a parking lot, I waited anxiously for an email that would contain the address. When it finally came through, I drove by the address to see where I was headed. We were instructed not to arrive prior to 1:15pm. I arrived a few minutes before 1:30pm. There was already a group of people outside. It was clear many already knew one another. Being someone who is relatively shy at first, I was instantly welcomed by the first group of people I came upon. I was also recognizing a few people that I have seen commenting on the Facebook pages of other “haunts.”Admittedly, I even fangirled a bit over Mike and Russell of My Haunt Life.
Promptly at 1:30, the doors opened and we were checked in by one of the attendants. She was a happy, welcoming woman. I was given a name tag by her; and, a yellow rose by another woman named Addison. Addison seemed quite uncomfortable & anxious. It was evident something was bothering her. We were given time to mingle a bit. There was an obvious thing occurring around the room. Some individuals were being taken aside and spoken to privately. Later on, we found out that many of us were told different things, asked to do certain things, or, for some, possibly warned about what was to come.
I was approached by a woman who was taking photos of the event. She wasn’t very welcoming. Paraphrasing, I was told that someone there was going to be tortured for 2 hours and was I prepared to witness that. I was asked if I were strong enough because that was what was going to happen. The conversation was quick and sent my mind spinning. My anxiety level was definitely rising because I had no idea what was at store of us or anyone in the room.
Let the official festivities begin…
We were welcomed by an elder. Who explained to us that if we were looking for answers, we were not going to get them today. The answers will come through our on selves during our own paths. We listened to a speech by Mike Fontaine, one of the attendees, who has been appointed as a scribe. His speech focuses on community.
Next, a hooded man is brought into the room, said to be a traitor to the OOA. He had posted in a community forum criticism of the organization and been kicked out. He wanted to be accepted back within our ranks. We were asked as a group to vote whether he should be given a second chance or banished. Our group believes in second chances.
The whole meeting went from 0-60 in a matter of seconds. We were told that one of the initiates would be brought forward, disrobed, and judged for her sins. This is when they brought froward Addison. She looked nervous. And, my anxiety level once again shot through the roof. Was she the one to be tortured that the photographer had spoke of? Every thing happened so fast. There was a commotion in the back of the room and a man was screaming about how this was his daughter and she’s been brainwashed by this organization. He had said that we were all part of an organization that had kidnapped his daughter. He was manhandled by security and thrown out. During the scuffle, Addison was whisked away out the front door.
The elder spoke briefly about how our location had been compromised and that we were to wait patiently for further instructions. We were left alone to wander the room, many looking for clues, examining the things left behind by the OOA, and to talk about everything that had just transpired before us. Some of even went out afterwards to continue the conversations and camaraderie. The beginnings of building our community further.
The haunt community is a small one but, as far as I can tell, a welcoming one. We share a love for something that goes beyond the scope of what many people may consider “normal.” I know many people who don’t understand my fascination with the things that go bump in the night. I know this is a “book blog.” But, I hope you don’t mind my posting once in while my experiences while I embark on this new adventure.
I don’t have any more answers now than when I did before I was welcomed into all of this. And, I’m not sure yet where it will lead me or what _path I will find myself on. But, The Tension Experience promises you get what you put into it. I find I’m throwing myself into its community and wanting more, wanting to be pulled in deeper. Glory Be!