Markoff’s Haunted Forest

October 26, 2009

One word: amazing.  For those of you in the DC area, if you haven’t had the luxury of traveling out to Poolesville, MD to visit Markoff’s, you need to.  I, for one, do not by any stretch of the imagination watch scary movies.  After watching The Shining in college, I vowed to never watch another scary movie again and have stuck to that vow.  Now what possessed me to want to walk through a haunted forest, I have no idea.  But the drive and $25 downpayment were well worth it and then some.  Let me explain.

We finally arrive at our destination last night after Dave so kindly stopped to allow me to pick up a two cheeseburger meal from McDonald’s on the way.  I’m finishing up the burger and have a few fries remaining as we walk up to the entrance.  I wasn’t expecting to be scared immediately upon arriving at the place, but low and behold, this dude dressed up in a scary costume decides he wants my fries.  I wasn’t expecting anyone to scare me at the door, so pretty much ran away as soon as I saw him and tried to hide behind my sister.  Note to newbies:  they prey on the scared.  It’s like a bully will prey on someone who can’t stand up for themselves and who they know will be bothered by the bullying.  So, if you don’t want to be bothered, simply try laughing in their face like my sister was doing and you might be okay.  I, however, decided to run and hide, naturally.  For some reason this ghoul wanted my fries.  So instead of offering up a few, which would mean allowing him to stick his bloody hands in my fry container (OCD dilemma), I just gave him the whole thing.  After getting the fries, he decided to prey on other victims, and we could see him eating the fries the whole time.  At one point he even put the entire container up to his mouth to finish them off.  For some reason, this was hilarious to me.  I knew this was going to be a good time.

I don’t feel like being an ad for this place, so I won’t go into detail about what else they offer while you are waiting to go into the forest, but for an extra fee, you can do a zipline, rock climbing wall, paintball, haunted hayride (I would venture to say this is safer than the forest), and some sort of bungee jumping thing.  Personally, I was content drinking some hot apple cider and sitting by the fire.  You really couldn’t ask for a more appropriate fall activity.  After a while and depending upon the crowd, they will call your number and you enter the haunted forest with your group.  Let’s just say I can’t imagine going in this thing alone, or even with just two people.  I would say the bigger the group, the better.  We had five so were good to go (or so we thought).

We have a battle about who is going first since the entrance looks pretty ominous, until the girl at the gate tells us that we need to move.  So naturally, we make the biggest guy go first (blog: Matt).  Matt is reveling in this whole thing, and basically leads the pack the whole time.  His girlfriend, (blog: Helen), is more scared than I am.  I didn’t realize how scared she was until she literally started crying at one point.  At that point, we were pretty much in the middle of the trail and stuck, but she demanded to be brought out of the forest.  She had actually researched protocol before going to the forest, and had learned that if you say “STOP” to them, they will stop.  Unfortunately for Helen, her “STOP” apparently meant “GO,” and they continued to torture her until Matt told them they needed to stop.  I don’t know if it was the chainsaws or people jumping out left and right, but something snapped in her and she just was not having any more of it.  Luckily, this was at the end of the trail, because I was seriously starting to fear for her life.  While it was scary, I wasn’t exactly fearing for my life simply because I had learned a trick.  If you plug your ears, you won’t be as scared by the sudden sounds.  Sure, maybe this took away from the experience a bit, but I was not about to have a heart attack on the trails of a haunted forest.  It was still pretty damn scary.

I must say that even though I planned this trip, I almost bailed on it myself, mainly because I wasn’t feeling 100% and it ended up being two couples and me.  I didn’t want to be the fifth wheel.  Luckily for me, I did not feel like a fifth wheel at any point along the ride.  This was because we were all linked together arm in arm through the entire walk for pure safety purposes and peace of mind, which ended up being a good half hour or so.  Not only that, but we all emerged from the forest when it was over in a sweat, like we had worked out or something.  Scared shitless.  That about describes the experience.

Lessons learned from the haunted forest: (1) go.  I am tempted to go back this week it was so good; (2) Don’t act scared, they will prey on you if you do; (3) “STOP” doesn’t work in many instances, you are pretty much screwed; (4) even though they are not supposed to touch you, they will; (5) never, in any circumstance, go alone or with only one other person – the larger the group the better in terms of scare factor; (6) they like french fries; (7) wear layers – it’s freezing outside but as soon as you start walking through the forest, you will work up a sweat from pure adreneline; and (8) try plugging your ears to prevent heart attack.  Works like a charm.