Don’t Open The Castle Door You May Never Come Out
“It’s only ten minutes, I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” grinned Omri Gadasi, the owner of a lesser known, but largely feared, attraction in Chiang Mai. We stood nervously in the reassuringly bright lobby as doors opened, beckoning us into the dark, dank rooms of The Castle. With false bravado and a few nervous giggles, our Thai editor, Pam, intern Ice, and I stepped cautiously inside. Bang! The door slammed shut behind us with finality, and we heard the click of the lock turning behind us. A cackle sounded from deep within the mist from the other side of the room. Our hearts began to pump rapidly…
We were here to try out the first ever fear attraction in Chiang Mai, which consists of a maze of horror rooms with blood dripping from the ceiling, creepy mechanical skeletons and real life ghosts. Packed with Hollywood-grade equipment and props, we knew it was going to be good…but soon learnt that it was terrifying!
The girls cowering behind me, I was forced to lead the way through the fog towards a green light which cast distorted shadows against the walls, like moths to a flame. Suddenly a scream came from upstairs, a bang echoed in the distance and some stamping feet brought the hairs up on our backs as we froze in suspense as a ghostly shadow blocked the light before sulking off into the darkness.
We were not alone.
Pretending to be brave, I pushed on, leading the pack as we all sheepishly held hands and I found myself regressing to my childhood, muttering, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
Up the stairs and around the corner, a door left ajar was beckoning us to walk through it. As soon as we touched the handle, the door jolted away and slammed shut, a scream bellowed from the other side which was matched by our very own. We immediately ran back, but after catching our breaths and re-focusing, determined to go on. We had to finish this; that was the boss’s orders.
With a sigh of relief, we found the room empty, and with growing confidence entered yet another frightful looking room. Struggling to tell the difference between a plastic prop and real life ghost, our sanity levels dropped with every second and our screams and gasps were constant companions. By this time my bravado had deserted me and I found myself whimpering like a child at every shadow. Halfway through another door I felt an icy hand on my back, and let out a most unmanly sound. Another door slammed in my face and some…entity…started to bang hard and with great determination. We ran. There were screams. I suspect mine. By this point, I was at the back of the line with Pam leading the way. But when she was greeted face-on with a black-clad figure arched over her in a demonic pose, she gave up the — excuse the pun — ghost and cured up into a ball on the floor. Ice and I had legged it and were making a bee line for the exit. Following a slight lull in ghostly sightings, after taking a few deep breaths, and feeling rather guilty, we bravely headed back to Pam, grabbing her by the hand, and leading her to safety rather heroically, if I do say so myself.
A few more rooms, a few more frights. Despite knowing full well this was all just a bit of orchestrated fun, I have to admit that I was absolutely terrified; every flicker of light, every breeze on our necks, every moving shadow made us jump and scream.
After what seemed like eternity, we spotted the welcoming white light of the lobby in the distance. We were on the home stretch. Suddenly a ghost started to give chase and we simply sprinted it to safety, spilling out onto the lobby like a bedraggled group returning from war. Omri was standing over us, laughing in what appeared to be sadistic pleasure. With the confidence of safety, we slowly began to join him, our giggles morphing into to bellows of relief.
I looked at my watch and only 15 minutes had passed! It had felt like an eternity, but as our hearts slowed and sweat cooled, we regained our sense of humour. “The most important thing for me when it comes to The Castle, is that I make people happy,” Omri smiled. “You made it in good time and you seem to have enjoyed it. Do you know some people faint in there? You were to about 70% fright level, imagine 100%.”
I went in full of swagger and came out humbled by fright. But oddly enough I now want more! It was thrilling and great fun…though I recommend immediately grabbing a beer afterwards to help calm the nerves.
Children are allowed if accompanied by an adult, and the fright level can be adjusted upon request. Recommended group size is six people.
UPDATE (October 2017): The Castle has now moved to Le Dta’wan456, 86-86/1 Sridonchai Road (At the end of the Chiang Mai night market, near Pantip Plaza Mall)