Each fall, terror descends upon downtown Elgin when Psychosis Haunted House opens its grounds to thrill-seeking visitors. Chosen as one of the Top 10 Haunted Houses in Illinois by USA Today, the 20,000-square-foot haunted house stations its actors at unexpected intervals, building suspense and fear so that each monster elicits a scream. For an extra fee, guests can choose to be "kidnapped" and hustled inside, where they wait hidden among the shadows until their friends or the pizza delivery guy finally finds them.
Tires burn in the street. Bags of trash sprawl on the sidewalks. Boards cover windows and biohazard signs are plastered everywhere you look. Something has gone seriously wrong. A nightmare has taken over Chicago Street, where a zombie virus has broken out and the undead wait around every turn. Luckily, the military has set up some safe zones, where the remaining humans?ever resilient?have started to party.
That's the very realistic-looking stage set by Nightmare on Chicago Street. In addition to up-close zombie encounters and an apolcalyptic landscape, the annual celebration of all things terrifying surrounds attendees with food, drinks, live graffiti artists, and two performance stages. It's there that DJs spin tunes and bands perform live through the evening. Horror icon Svengoolie has also been known to make an appearance, causing the zombies to grumble in giddy anticipation.
On tours from Haunted Hometowns, each traveler clutches an EMF meter, nervously waiting for a flash that detects electromagnetic fields, thus signaling the presence of paranormal activity. Meanwhile, a seasoned storyteller imparts gripping tales of murder, local legends, and ghostly encounters. Based on the books of ghost historian and storyteller Diane Ladley, Haunted Hometowns tours build on her four decades of research, as well as her intimate knowledge of the area and its rumored spectral inhabitants. Guides encourage participants to tote along their cameras so that they?re prepared to preserve the spooky sights along the way and catch photo-bombing ghosts in the act.
Evil Intentions Haunted House evokes the details of its site’s checkered past to conjure the stuff of nightmares. The area the haunted house now occupies has been plagued with creepy occurrences for more than a century. Since the 1890s the expanse has been used as the premises of a coffin company, a stomping ground for escapees from a nearby mental institution, and a gathering place for the occult’s summer softball league.
Starting in 2005, the Evil Intentions Haunted House team slowly transformed this troubled spot into a haunted house that comes alive with shrieks once night falls. Visitors can leave their cars in the free parking lot and gather in the indoor waiting area before exploring more than 20,000 square feet of tortuous halls filled with dark decor and costumed frights. Demonic clowns, faceless butchers, and cleaver-wielding lunatics creep around corners and leap out of hidden alcoves, scaring both passing patrons and the actual ghosts who occupy the building.