- ABOUT US
Karlie Ybarra, Managing Editor
By Karlie Ybarra
October 18, 2018
Peeking behind the black curtain, I could see a long, pitch-black hallway illuminated only monetarily by a flash of lights—and nothing else. I knew inside lurked many things which I normally avoid if at all possible: loud noises, pathways illuminated only by strobe lights, and masked fiends. But it was our turn to enter the Nightmare, so my husband and I clasped our hands tightly and disappeared into the thick cloud of acrid fog.
If my ten-year-old self had witnessed this, she would have begged me not to go. I used to be scared of everything. Most nights, I would sleep on the floor in front of my parents’ bed—much to their surprise, as they often tripped on me in the morning. If I had to get something from an unoccupied room, I would run as fast as I could back to the safety of others. Until I was I’d-rather-not-say-how-old, I covered every reflective surface in my room before I went to bed lest I catch a glimpse of some ghostly figure in my TV screen. And to this day I do not allow any of my limbs to hang over the side of the bed, even though my dog Achilles sleeps under there, because we both know he would make a deal with some creature to eat me and spare him if the need arose. But my biggest fear was probably heights, or more specifically, falling from them. I didn’t stand near a railing even if the ledge was only a few feet off the ground. I didn’t ride amusement rides of any kind. In fact, one time, my mom goaded me into riding the kiddie Ferris wheel at Six Flags, and when we reached the top, I screamed so much they immediately let us down.
For the first part of my life, I was basically in a constant state of terror. Then one night when I was twelve, I had what started out as another nightmare in which I was falling. But this time, I actually hit the bottom and I didn’t die. It’s hard to express the relief I felt at that moment, as if it had never before occurred to my brain that I could possibly survive all these things I was afraid of. When I woke up, I felt like a different person. I still have crippling anxiety, but at least now I can sleep in my own bed with the light off.
Image courtesy Frontier City
So as I wandered through narrow hallways of the big haunted house at Frontier City, I wondered how I would have reacted to this place twenty years ago. To be honest, even twenty-nine-year-old me was pretty freaked out at times. There is a seemingly endless cast of mask-wearing monsters waiting to randomly jump out and scare you around any corner. There were angled bridges, a rotating tunnel, and what I like to call the “claustrophobia corner” sure to disorient even the most balanced individual. Many passageways are lined with surprisingly convincing “spider webs” to make you want to crawl very far away. And the whole thing is arranged as a maze, so getting lost in addition to dodging creeps really gets your adrenaline pumping.
Image courtesy Frontier City
When I finally ran through the exit—after finally figuring out which of the three doors was the exit—I only cared about how I felt right at that moment: like a survivor. Of course, I hadn’t encountered any real danger, but that’s the beauty of a haunted house. You get to look fear in the face, totally not die, and come out the other side just a little braver than before.
Frontier City’s Fright Fest runs Friday through Sunday until October 28. 11501 North I-35 Service Road in Oklahoma City, (405) 478-2140 or frontiercity.com.