By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief
Hangman’s provides romantic nightmare
For a heart-pounding Valentine’s Day celebration, folks can go to Hangman’s House of Horrors Feb. 16 and 17 in Fort Worth for its annual “Fear of Commitment” weekend and “50 Shades of Fear” events. However, this year’s scare grounds will include two new specials for fans of horror.
For the first time ever, the public will be allowed to tour the oldest and most haunted building on Hangman’s 19-acre property, said Allen Sturgeon, one of the owners of the popular haunted house.
“We had a group of paranormal researchers come out, and they actually found some things,” he said.
Originally part of a helium plant, the building is over 100 years old. Inside, researchers found the greatest amount of paranormal activity in the old janitor’s closet, the elevator shaft and the boiler room, Sturgeon said.
The building is beyond creepy even in the daylight, so one can only imagine what kind of things lurk about beyond the human eye.
In addition to getting a 15-minute guided tour of the three-story structure, complete with haunted highlights and stories, the “Haunted Tour for Two” will let couples enjoy a candlelit Italian dinner catered by Buca di Beppo within its allegedly paranormal walls.
Tickets for the “Haunted Tour for Two” cost $259, but it is all-inclusive for two people. The price gets couples admission into both the “50 Shades of Fear” haunted house and Hangman’s newest live action vampire hunt without having to wait in line. The special also comes with a box of custom chocolates from Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Fort Worth and roses.
As always, Hangman’s main attraction is the haunted house, and the “50 Shades of Fear” theme forces couples to examine the trust in their relationship. It asks whether they trust their partner enough to lead them through the haunted house — blindfolded.
It’s the cheapest option with tickets priced at $29, and couples will leave with a free souvenir blindfold while supplies last.
Hangman’s has yet to sell tickets just for the haunted house because for $10 more people can hunt vampires too using AR-15 replicas.
“The vampires will be in, like, shock collars, and it’ll be like a high-tech laser tag deal,” Sturgeon said.
Visitors have to go through the haunted house to get to the vampire hunt portion, which will extend the haunted house experience from around 40 minutes to at least an hour, he said.
What sets Hangman’s apart from other haunted houses in Dallas-Fort Worth is that it is more actor-driven and relies less on animatronics, so the dynamic of a room can change drastically from one night to the next depending on who is acting in that room, he said.
Hangman’s has 30 rooms, and at least one room will touch one of a person’s deepest fears. From heights to germs, from dismemberment to gynecologist visits, it’s unlikely that anyone would make it out without being spooked by something.
For those that didn’t go to Hangman’s last fall and missed out on their five Texas Legend-themed rooms, “Fear of Commitment” weekend will give them another chance to experience such legends like the Bear County Angel of Death, the Haunted Railroad and the Catfish Plantation and Restaurant.
“The difference will mainly be that the actors will do less of the standard pop-out scares and do more with the other senses since people have the option to go through blindfolded,” Sturgeon said.
Hangman’s is run almost entirely by volunteers, and the proceeds are donated to charities chosen by a group of core volunteers.
“Volunteers pick it, but we do prefer to work with charities that actively work with us,” Sturgeon said. “This year’s charities are: A Wish With Wings and Victory Therapy Center.”
Hangman’s is always in need of volunteers, so college students interested or in need of community service hours can visit the haunted attraction’s website for more information about getting involved and seeing what options other than acting are available.
Volunteers need to be 14 or older, and anyone under 18 needs to get permission from parents, Sturgeon said.