City ghost houses—pay and get scared

By Nihar Ranjan Beura
Just try to recall those famous lines, “Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite”. This phrase has been used time and again in several Hollywood horror movies to make movie-goers stick to their respective seats in fear. But fear factor apart, they also let their hairs down with friends and family in watching those movies. In that case, horror movies remained the only stuff for people who take pleasure in getting scared, for a longtime. Like its Hollywood counterparts Bollywood movies of horror cult also remained a must go for ghost lovers—take the example of movies produced by Ramsay brothers’ production house. But since then the world have come a long way. Technology has revolutionized all spheres of life and this zone of horror-appetite is not the exception. Now you need not to go a movie-theatre and by a ticket to watch a movie to get scared. You can get a ‘ghost house’ right in your city with affordable price to pump your adrenaline in just 15 minutes or less.

Yes, we are not talking about Disneyland’s Haunted mansion located in Southern California in United States of America to take the advantage of technical expertise to get scared. We are not even moving to any of the Indian metro cities like Mumbai or Delhi or much closer Hyderabad or Kolkata. You can get two ghost houses right at the heart of Bhubaneswar—one is operating inside BMC Bhawani Mall in Saheed Nagar and the other is located inside BDA Nicco Park. These are absolutely creepy places with a lot of supernatural activities—but yet human controlled and non-harmful.

Let’s start with the popular one, the ghost house located inside BMC Bhawani Mall was started its operation in 2014. It came as a part of a number of similar projects started by its owner in other cities of Odisha like, Rourkela and Sambalpur. Named initially as “Scary House,” it became a major attraction for mall visitors in general and ghost lovers in particular. Erected on 1500sq ft of area and equipped with hi-tech machineries, this ghost house provided visitors with a real life experience. Once getting into this pitch dark zone guys and gals get bitten by live performer ghost artists accompanied by creepy monsters, spooky rooms and Goosebumps inducing music.

Talking about the success of this enterprise, Dibakar Behera, Centre Manager, Scary House said, it was the third project of the owner after similar centres at Rourkela and Sambalpur.

“It was the third Scary House centre after Rourkela and Sambalpur and as it is located in the state capital we made it more technically sound. We use sophisticated sensors for artificial ghosts operating inside it to give people a lifetime experience,” Behera said.

To simplify the statement of Behera, the ghosts present inside the Scary House are of two types one is the live ghost—a actor donning ghost attire and trying to make people get scared—and the machine ghost which operates according to the movement of the visitor through a sensor.

“Our three centers are of different themes in terms of the ghost design, ghost movement. Besides, entry and exit horror music in these three centres are also different”, added Behera.

To talk of Scary House located in Bhawani Mall, it features Bed Ghost, Drum Ghost, Hanging Ghost and Box Ghost with a masked man with ghost attire. But this list is not complete as there are a lot of things happen inside this pitch-dark ghost house which is beyond words. One of those is a dead-body in mortuary. It stands altogether when you go near it. Similarly, another room is equipped with a ‘ghost lighting arrangement’. You go into that room and your teeth and nails appear like that of a monster. Just amazing, isn’t it?

But if the scary house offers so much of horror, is there any sort of hazardous effect of it and is there any precautionary measures prescribed by the centre management for visiting it. Yes there do exist, informed Behera.

“We allow children above the age of 7 years to visit the ghost house. Moreover, people with heart ailments, pregnant women are not allowed,” Behera cautioned. He consoled later by saying that, nothing untoward happened since the starting of the centre and the pitch dark room has two emergency exit doors.

Without being able to give the exact number the visitors per day, the manager said, each day hundreds of people visit the Scary House which has changed its name to become “Horror House” in 2016 to make it more appealing for common man.

Though the name was changed the price has remained the same. It costs Rs 70 per person for one round visit. At a time only 3 persons are allowed inside the “Horror House”. The centre remains open from 11 am to 9 pm.

Standing as a proof of the horror house’s popularity, one can see a number of college-going students making a queue before the counter of it.

“We do visit the Horror House with friends. Though not regularly, this remains a major attraction for us after watching movies in Inox as it is located right in front of the exit gate,” said Umesh a student of a private engineering college. He added, it is a creepy but amazing experience.

Anil, who accompanies three others and just came out of Horror House expressed happiness and said, it was a lifetime experience.

“I had visited another ghost house in Cuttack Baliyatra recently, but this is absolutely spooky, the technology used here is beyond imagination”, said a frightened looking Anil.

While the Bhawani Mall Horror House remains the private enterprise with a history of only 3 years or so, the lone competitor of it is operating inside BDA Nicco Park since 2006. Known as “Haunted House” it is the second destination for guys who love to get haunted by ghosts. But largely it remains a second destination for using old technology. But the Administrative Managers Mahendra Kumar Nanda disqualifies such mindset. He says football of at least 300 people every day speaks volume of its popularity.

“You just can’t ignore visit of 300 persons each day and their number goes up to 2000 during the pick season,” Nanda claimed. He added, “the Haunted House of BDA Nicco Park uses sensors guided ghosts as well as live actors who thrill the visitors to the optimal level”.

As far as the Haunted House of BDA Nicco Park is concerned it comes as a part of the package including several other amusements like, 4-5 types riding, gaming, and boating with a cost of Rs 150. It simply makes it a costly affair. Similarly, the park operates from 10 am to 8 pm.

“We have some plans and proposals to upgrade the technology for the Haunted House and add “Crazy Mirror” effect to it to make is more popular,” added Nanda. He also claimed that the machineries used in the Haunted House are less hazardous in nature so there is no restriction for visitors in terms of age or health condition.

Whatever may be the case, the “city ghost houses” provides an alternative form of entertainment for people. While watching a horror movie is time consuming, these ghost houses are a must go for ghost lovers. One gets more involved to its environment inside these ghost houses as compared to watching a movie inside a theatre in a monotonous manner. So, what are you waiting for?