Saturday, October 19, 2013

Philipsburg Manor & the Horseman's Hollow

The Philipsburg Manor is a place rich in history and also scares. During its peak in 1750 the manor was a hub for agriculture in the area. Goods could be bought, sold, and traded here. Acres were rented to European descendants for farming purposes. The area prospered well, as did the Philipse family who owned the manor. Sadly much of the hard work was done and profit was made through the degradation of others. The manor was also synonymous with slavery. Daytime visitors to the manor get a good look at life during the colonial era as well as a unique view into slavery in the north. But we didn't come here for a history lesson.

On nights in Autumn, the Philipsburg Manor transforms from historical education center to a haven for creatures, monsters, and misfits. The Horseman's Hollow haunted attraction is frequently rated as one of the tops in the country.

On a brisk October night my family and I braved the nip in the air and the chill in our bones. Waiting in line we could feel the anticipation building inside us. Myself, I can watch the goriest, scariest films without even flinching or being fazed. My enjoyment from these things is the amusement I get from my wife being scared. I know it's kinda demented. At times I purposely lead her right into the hideous creatures waiting around the corner. I do get a giggle out of how terrified she gets, but also get comfort when she looks for me to protect her.

Well, this night was gonna be a bit different. My teenage daughter was along for the trip. The anticipation she faced while in line, you could cut with a knife. Pacing around in line, chewing fingernails, asking me repeatedly "how scary is it?" My reply over and over "I don't know!" There was definitely some fear of the unknown inside her. No matter how many times we told her this is all fake, her fears continued welling up.

As we entered into the attraction I led the way with my two ladies in tow. They grasped each others hands as they gripped the back of my shirt. We dodged and darted our way around creeps and scares at every corner. Stalks of corn towering around, while strobes of light disoriented our vision. Black lights mesmerizing colors in our conscience. Strange hands reaching out to grab you, while screams of panic raged out around us. This was all too much for my daughter. Her breathing began to get a bit heavier, and the tears began to develop. My wife grasped her closer as I tried comforting her with words. We briskly began to rush through the attraction as quickly as we could. I couldn't help but notice everywhere we turned the same monster seemed to be there. I believe he recognized my confusion also. It was at this time that this ominous creature informed me he was an E.M.T. and asked if my daughter was gonna be okay, and if we wished to exit the attraction. We declined on exiting but felt better knowing this man was not trying to continuously scare us but was generally concerned for our well being. From that point on that dark figure waiting in the corners, was a sigh of relief for us.

Our visit to the Horseman's Hollow taught us all a few things. My teenage daughter realized she may not be as grown as she would like to believe. My wife learned that when someone is more afraid she can step up and fill herself with enough courage to escape danger. And I realized nothing can really scare me except the feelings I have for my amazing daughter and beautiful wife. Together we all learned that not all the people who act in these attractions are not just weirdos who get off on scaring people, but are people themselves. After relaxing our nerves with some warm cider, we all shared the most common reaction after being frightened... we participated in a bout of exuberant laughter.

No comments: