See, I been telling y’all it’s still Halloween.
Being too busy during the month of October to go out and enjoy any of the area haunted attractions, I was thrilled to find at least one still open for business this past weekend. The Lester Haunted Hospital was hosting a special “lights out” event for just one night.
It required a loooooong drive through the boonies to get there, but it was worth it, and the remote location only added to the effect. A creepy place out in the middle of nowhere is always better than a creepy place in a highly populated area.
Lester, Alabama is a flyspeck on the map, not big enough to be called a town. How did it manage to have its very own hospital? Hell if I know, but it had one. Though quite small by hospital standards today—it had a maximum of some 35 beds—it operated from the 1940s through 1993 when it closed its doors. (It did survive for another couple of years as a drug rehab clinic.) The current owners purchased the building in 2009 and have been operating the yearly haunted attraction ever since. They told me this past season was their most successful yet, with some 2500 victims, er, customers.
So, yeah, it was a real hospital, meaning people died there. No way of knowing how many. I asked the owners if the place was a *real* haunted location. Though neither of the two had ever experienced anything personally, they told me that their employees have. I would have been disappointed if they’d said otherwise.
I tried to take some photographs from inside the attraction; alas they didn’t come out. That’s not surprising, as I wasn’t using the flash on my phone (that would’ve spoiled the effect) and the only light source was this little blue glowstick that reminded me of a miniature lightsaber.
The atmosphere was unbeatable. Feeling your way through a derelict hospital in almost complete darkness, the faint illumination sufficient to reveal old medical equipment still reposing in situ—an old X-ray machine, empty hospital beds, sinks, a sign in the former cafeteria instructing patrons where to deposit their empty plates—they didn’t employ, or need, much in the way of special effects.
There was this one guy, wearing a werewolf mask (or maybe it was an ape) with a small glowstick held in his teeth that caused the mask to glow from within. I tried to take his picture—he even posed for me—but no dice. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it looked cool.
Even though I was part of a small group with a younger teenage girl, and she kept panicking and running into me/attempting to climb over me and screeching in my ear, I had a blast. I do wish the “tour” had lasted a little longer, as it seemed there was quite a bit of the structure that was not in use, but otherwise I have no complaints. Definitely worth checking out.
Oh, and the movie playing in the waiting area? HALLOWEEN 2. (The original and, as far as I am concerned, the only.) Perfect.
And one of the streets I had to drive down to get to the haunted hospital. Also perfect.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!