Head Copy Editor
As the season of fright approaches, it can be difficult to choose how exactly you wish to spend your fear in order to get the most terror for your time. The surrounding area offers many opportunities for thrills and chills, with one of the top horror attractions on the East Coast virtually at our fingertips.
Founded in 1993 by brothers Jim and Gene Schopf, Field of Screams is on an expansive 33 acre farm in Mountville which, on top of all the food and games, features four haunted attractions to give those brave enough to face them the thrills and chills of their lives.
Nocturnal Wasteland is the newest attraction at Field of Screams, and it’s far from just another walk through the woods. Guests are sent in staggered groups through a terrifying community of bloodthirsty creatures and sadistic monsters whose sole mission is to find the outsiders and torture them. Visitors are forced to watch fellow captives be tortured, and while they may escape the physical trauma, the psychological horror will last forever.
The Den of Darkness is three stories of sheer and utter terror, with blood drenched butchers and frightening forms popping out from every corner. Those foolish enough to enter the once regal Garden Hotel are met with the stench of the morgue and the knowledge that they will be the next victims in a string of murders that litter the hotel’s history.
The Frightmare Asylum draws upon psychological fear as it toys with agoraphobia and claustrophobia to create a sense of terror amongst even the most stoic of guests. The path twists and turns through the Applegate Mental Asylum, which was closed down due to the malpractice of the doctors and nurses. With the inmates left behind to wreak havoc, Frightmare Asylum is an infrastructure that is both haunted and haunting.
Last, but certainly not least, the Haunted Hayride provides twenty minutes of non-stop terror, the likes of which has never before been seen. Those daring enough to step into the hay wagon and place their lives in the hands of the driver will fall mercy to whatever creatures choose to prey upon them. Without revealing too much of the scares to come, the Haunted Hayride certainly gives visitors the fright of their lives.
When he was a sophomore at Millersville University studying to be a teacher, Jim Schopf and his brother Gene decided to start a haunted hayride on their family farm. With cornfields and tractors aplenty, the only thing they needed were the performers. Jim gathered the Millersville wrestling team, and this group of twenty-something men set out to give their friends the scares they desired, often times switching costumes in the field while jumping from station to station.
This homemade attraction has since become the Haunted Hayride, Field of Screams’ signature fan favorite.
“We’re always looking to expand and get bigger and more elaborate,” said Jim. “As the years pass we continue to grow more sophisticated and more professional. We’re one of the first haunts to open and one of the last to close.”
As far as the future, Jim said he hopes to turn a nearby structure into a dine-in restaurant. Not to worry, because even though it may provide a respite from walking, the conceptualized eatery will provide no rest from the fright that is signature of Field of Screams.
Field of Screams is open on weekends through Nov. 9. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket window, or ahead of time on the website at FieldOfScreams.com.