With Halloween upon us, my favorite holiday, I’m reminded of an American tradition that I’m really not fond of. In fact, it’s quite despicable: Christian Hell Houses. Instead of a haunted house filled with ghouls, goblins, witches and warlocks, these fundamentalist institutions display exhibits of deplorable things (according to the bible of course). Walk around one corner and you’ll find a mock-abortion; around another and you’ll see a faked suicide. Homosexuality, alcohol consumption, adultery, occultism, pre-marital sex, and drug abuse are also frequently reenacted. Could people really be subjecting themselves, let alone their children, to this insane garbage? Yes.
The first hell house, Scaremare, was created by the late (thankfully) Jerry Falwell in the 1970s. Since then they’ve become more popular and are aimed at children as young as 12 to prevent them from living a life of sin. According to the website, religioustolerance.org, these evangelical phenomena are focused on ‘scare tactics’ and they do so willingly. They admit freely to using this as an attempt to proselytize not only their already faithful, but members of secular society as well. They even disguise their hell houses “to resemble conventional secular haunted houses. The customer only realizes that they have a religious theme after they have bought their ticket and gone part of the way through the scenes.” Not only is that ridiculously disturbing – I wonder if that’s even legally allowed.
Once the patron has entered (knowing what is inside or not) they are subject to some pretty fucked up scenes:.
(Also from religioustolerance.org)
A person being sacrificed during a Satanic ritual. The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) web site warned of Wiccan rituals and stated “… evidence persists that some Satanists and voodoo groups offer sacrifices — usual animals, but, possibly, human babies” at this time. Satanic Ritual Abuse was a widespread hoax that was commonly believed during the 1980s and early 1990s.
A phoney reenactment of the murder of Cassie Bernall, a teenager victim at the Columbine High School in 1999-APR. She was allegedly asked whether she believed in God, answered yes, and was murdered on the spot. The incident never happened. But the story has taken on a life of its own. She is frequently referred to in conservative Christian magazines, books, and radio programs as a Christian martyr.
Women undergoing very bloody late-term abortions, complete with screaming, lots of blood, and particularly insensitive, uncaring health providers. Some of these scenes have been partly abandoned in recent years in favor of a portrayal of guilt and depression arising from Post Abortion Syndrome.
Gays and lesbians being tortured in hell for all eternity because of their same-sex behavior while they were alive on earth.
A man having an argument with his wife and is later seduced by his secretary.
Personal tragedies arising from pre-marital sex.
A 9/11 ground zero scene.
I’m really not even sure what to say after that… if I were 12 and interested in dressing up for Halloween just to run around and grab as much sugar as I could find – then suddenly be forced to attend one of these… just wow. How could anyone live with themselves for doing this? However, apparently the kids find it just as great. A movie was made back in 2001 aptly titled ‘Hell House’ and basically shows a production and operation by adults and even the children themselves. Harry Potter is bad, mmkay?
Against my better judgement I decided to visit a site actually promoting one of these Hell Houses. It was created back in 2002 and has been held in Temple, Texas every year since. From the first click, I will say the music is pretty eerie. Although, I don’t particularly find it scary.. more like something I’d want to sit in the dark with a glass of bourbon and ponder my thoughts to. Anyhow… the site overall isn’t impressive, it’s not filling me with the fear of hell, and it sure isn’t making me want to visit it. Even their so-called “promo” video is fucking laughable. Let’s throw some words on a screen to dramatic music and call it a preview. Someone needs to work on their marketing…
Lucky for me I’ve gotten wind of just such a place happening at a local high school nearby in Miami, Florida this month and I’m curious to see what it’s all about. (Even though I’m quite certain I know what will happen). My prediction is I’ll giggle through the entire thing – but $5 for an hour or two of silly religious entertainment might be worth it. How terrifying can a group of high schoolers be? Oh wait… kids are kinda scary!