... last year it went to the little snack food shop that graced one of the many rooms of The House On The Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. That little side-room with the grill and soda machine was terrifying. It was plain and simple the stuff that your subconscious gets traumatized by and then refuses to let you forget about for months at a time as retaliation. Why it was so terrifying is hard to put a finger on, but if I had to guess I would say it was because it was placed after a part of the attraction that was rather ominous and creepy to begin with. The Kettle Room, as that part of the tour is called, is dark and foreboding. Creepy music plays from numerous speakers as you wander amongst a dimly-lit collection of behemoth collectibles that appear to have found their way off the sound stage of the most spooky mad scientist movies ever made. Huge gauges accompany giant scissors-type switches, copper gleams beneath green lighting and moonshine jugs with leering, gap-toothed faces glare down at you from the walls. I wish I had developed the rolls of film I burned up in that place, but because I suck so badly at photography I don't think I could have gotten any pictures to convey the sheer "lunatic asylum" vibe that part of the tour gave off. So, after subjecting you to an immense stand of organ pipes (I mean these things were easily fifty feet tall!) next to a propeller that seemed to be right out of Titanic you think all will be well when you reach velvet ropes that lead you down another dimly-lit hallway. But the trauma isn't over yet, not by a long shot . As you descend the hallway (it goes down from the Kettle Room at something like a 15 degree incline) you're surrounded by long glass display cases lined with odd-looking stuffed animals. That does very little to calm your nerves, but what's yet to come is still worse. The hallway spills into a room that makes you realize your prayers for something whimsical and pleasant have been blatantly ignored by the powers that move and shape the galaxy. Instead of dolls -- which can be terrifying in their own right, you learn later in the tour -- you walk into a room that looks like the sort of thing out of a teen thriller movie. You know the abandoned, rambling cabin in the woods that houses the chainsaws-wielding maniac with one leg and Gene Simmons painted on his hockey mask? That's exactly the building this place chose for a theme. It's abandoned as near as I can tell -- the few times I've been to the House I've never seen anybody on duty there, and each time it seems worse than the last. It always has an odd musty scent and a thick layer of dust with one light flickering on and off in the corner. What completes the illusion and subsequently forces your mind to curl up into the fetal position is the theme's "crowning" glory: some of the most ratty-looking, dusty, badly-posed taxidermy I've ever had the misfortune of stumbling across. jenwolf was with me, and she agreed it was truly something to name your nightmares after. There was a snarling pack of bobcats or lynx set on the wood shingles that were supposed to illustrate the "roof" of the cabin, beset on one side by a moth-eaten bear (posed in the standard standing/snarling/outreaching motion that you see in trophy rooms across the world) and on the other side is a rat-gnawed fox with a tail that might have at one time belonged to Eyore. All of them had dead, accusing eyes that seemed eerily off-center. They didn't follow you, they just were... crossed.
Simply the most horrifying thing. Ever. Until today.
Today I discovered that the bathroom on my floor at the office is taking the honor of haunting my dreams at night. There's unexplained sticky places on the floor, the lighting is this off-yellow, and it smells like an Ebola victim crashed and bled out in one of the stalls. I didn't know what ruptured sphincter smelled like before, but I think I do now. The stalls are falling down, tiles are pulling free from the wall and the urinals back up if you happen to look at them sideways. Flushing them is an even more interesting experience because of the piercing shriek they produce as water is forced through the piping. Outside of that horrid rattle there's no sound in there at all, except for the occasional noise of a body function being performed. When I looked in the mirror while I was washing my hands I'm fairly certain I saw blood on the wall behind me that spelled out "redrum."
I think I'm going to use another floor's bathroom until they perform an exorcism in this one.