Monday, October 31, 2016

storms are brewing in your eyes

The winds blow, the leaves fall, the bright year giving way to the dark, as it always has, as it always will. Whispers through the open windows, to listen, focus, heed, and with a smile I turn away. Not all their messages are meant for me, after all.

This has been a tumultuous spring and summer, full of dizzying heights and heartbreaking losses, and far too few moments of honest contentment. Strangely, in the midst of a rather savage relationship upset--the Train Wreck Love Life strikes again, as it always has, as it always will--I find contentment in the chill in the air, the hint of wood smoke, the laughter of children, the taste of store-bought sweetness on the tongue.


Tonight we will welcome the ancestors with good heart and open spirit, and bid farewell to recent shades. Tonight we will scavenge through remaining holiday candy and watch terrible horror films and gasp and giggle at appropriate moments. I'm still not sure if I'll make it into SL today, because of these things; I wanted to cover at least a few more haunts, but I may have finally run out of time.

So I will wish you all the blessings of the season, instead. Now is the time to stock up for the winter, pull out the sweaters and the blankets, air our homes of summer's swelter. Now is the time for candles, lanterns, stories around the hearth or the fire. Now is the time for the rich stews, the warmed wines, the spiced ciders. Also apple crisps, which we may not have time to bake up tonight, but do sound yummy and amazing.

The veil thins, and other worlds will be within our reach, if we desire to peer through. If we ask the right questions, we may learn things, but we need to be very sure we wish to learn. The wheel turns, as it always has, as it always will, fortunes and fates of all flavors going round and round.



Blessings and safe journeys to you all.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Daddy's Haunted Hideout

Next is Daddy's Haunted Hideout in Unique Falls. If ever there was proof needed of the growing popularity of the DD/lg phenomenon, it's the fact that here we have a haunt named after Daddy, and earlier, we had a haunt named after his (or another Daddy's) babygirl.



I rezzed into heavy brush, or unharvested corn stalks, or...whatever. Dead, taller-than-me weeds of some kind, anyway.



When I finally found my way out, I passed a tree rife with climbing skeletons...



...and remnants of a roller coaster. Do these two things go together?



Floating ghosts and hooded figures patrol the crypts.



This was a curiously old-school--like, a prop from many, many years ago in SL, definitely showing its age--prop, and I can't decide if it worked or detracted.



Simple but effective headstones...



...and in the one 'haunted house' on the property, this intriguing casket room.

It's not a bad haunt. It's better than average, but...outside of getting curiously lost at the start, it was just another haunt in the group of haunts I've done over the past two months. Not bad, just...not outstanding.

and that one, let's just keep walking by

(Continued from part one.)



There was another room devoted to art, or at least, was formerly rented to an artist, and...this and the wallpaper? Were the only safe images to take. Apparently the artist was quite irked with his nude model...



In the third room, an exorcism was taking place. I tried not to disturb the priest's concentration.



The last room was devoted to a UFO enthusiast's worst nightmare or greatest hope--being present at an actual invasion of UFOs, outside the hotel.



Just remember--that UFO you thought you saw out the window? You didn't actually see that. Be well, citizens.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

you shouldn't look this one too long in the eye

I returned to the Haunted Silent Peacock Hotel because I received word they'd added...or, at least, opened...more of the attraction to the public. Four rooms, to be precise.



The first one was themed around the Addams Family. Very romantic honeymoon suite, for the gothically inclined.



The only problem was, the room was really dark, so I played around with Firestorm's photo filters until I got an effect I liked.



This actually looked better filtered than 'natural', but again, only because of the dimness of the room.



Next up: the Mad Scientist's Lair, complete with wandering monster and electrical arcs from arcane equipment.

(Continued in part two.)



some are born mad, some achieve madness, some have madness thrust upon 'em

(Continued from part four.)



She calls the stone children to her, and offers solace and solid comfort, but it does not seem to work for anyone still bound in flesh.



Behind this stone saint, the fog moves, is lit with a febrile glow, and her plinth seems less a refuge, and more a dire portent of things to come.



Past the graveyard is a small shack with shelves of potions and mystical ingredients. No one was present, but when an attempt is made to read the dusty, faded cards, a glowing circle of protection still activates for the reading.

Is it to keep spirits out? Or flesh in?



A strange, neutered angel points the way to the cave. The opening to the cave is dark, and there are odd chitterings heard inside.



The lamps that light the way, at least through those cave passages smoothed by the hands of men, seem to be incandescent skulls, dripping magma. Are these lamps alive? Could they be saved? Were they penitents mounted willingly, or prisoned souls burning in torment?

And further in, the skittering...the sounds of many legs...and the presence of giant, foreboding webs...


I can't recommend this one enough. I have no idea if it operates year-round, though I suspect it does; I have no idea if it's intended as a roleplay sim or not. I do know that every inch of it is steeped in melancholy and the whispered passage of dark things. I know that the caretakers are attentive, but do not seem to interfere.

If it weren't for all the spiders, I could live here. Do make time to see it, if you have the inclination.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

to see these lovely freaks of nature for a limited time

(Continued from part three.)



Other shadows move on upper floors...but they are indistinct, unsettling but immaterial.



Who keeps the candles lit?



You find the asylum's small chapel, but it's to no deity you recognize. And the stray cat that has made its home here...two heads, and so thin...how has it survive in this place?



A small crypt lies just past the asylum, but again, it's a startling discovery to find a carved stone bas-relief of Mayan, or perhaps Aztec origin. Why is it here?



In the cemetary proper, more statuary, but at least one hold's a saint's relic, some forgotten martyr's skull. Which one? And why here?

(Continued in part five.)

a portrait of insanity, approached with pure humanity

(Continued from part two.)



Stepping through the doors of the Ironwood Asylum is something of a psychic disconnect. It's dark, dusty, and abandoned, but there's a familiar song playing over and over, one that speaks to light, not darkness...or does it?



There's a shadow on the wall, gesturing, and it stops you in place for a moment while you struggle to remember that shadows are not supposed to move.



There is art on the walls of the asylum, but it's of the type that disturbs, instead of enlightens.



This is the music-box that's playing the song. The sigil atop it, however...is it Ozgin? Andras? It's hard to tell, even with a flashlight, in the dim dusk that pervades Ironwood Hills.



And on the floor, inset in small mosaic tiles, an image of two trees, root to root...an allegory for split minds? For the division between worlds? The separation of spirit and flesh? What does it mean?

(Continued in part four.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

step right up, we've something here for everyone's enjoyment

(Continued from part one.)



There's a carnival on the other side, the tents collapsing under years of neglect, the grass grown tall and sere.



Some of the toys follow you with their glass eyes. Some menace you without a single move. Some talk back, and you're never sure how to answer.



There used to be a sideshow, but if any of the attractions are left, you haven't found them...



Images of sculpted solace abound, but they didn't help the former residents, now, did they?



And there's a strange, mystic symbol above the tower at the aslyum...you dread finding its source, but you're drawn to investigate anyway...

(Continued in part three.)

accept our hospitality, indulge in abnormality



You awake in a dusty back store room. You don't remember how you got here. When you rise, you hear distant vintage music, and see a room full of damaged mannequins. Was this where you were meant to be?



Welcome to Ironwood Hills.



There are signs of civilization, but nothing recent, nothing untouched by time and nature.



The few others you see, well...they either ignore you, or...they've long since passed away.



Your only answers lie through the mouth of a screaming man...what will you find on the other side?

(Continued in part two.)


Monday, October 24, 2016

but now the story's done, it's just history

Hit a couple of disappointing, why-did-I-port-here haunt experiences, so had nearly decided to give up for the night--until I saw this. Apparently it's set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Interesting.



They definitely didn't have tricycles in 1692...and no one had even envisioned Saw.



It's a decent enough altar layout.



Help who? And with what?



A TV on the floor. I am disappointed.



Why does this small graveyard say 'Private' if it doesn't even have a gate?



Okay, this was mildly impressive. A flame-tinted, glowing pentagram tracing itself on the wooden floor of one of the cabins.



And in another graveyard area, wraiths carried skeletons around in circles.

This one does not come recommended. Every time they get something right, they do three more things wrong. Perhaps I was letting my bad mood from the previous two haunts affect me, but I was expecting a historical recreation of Salem, and instead, I got this mishmash of time periods and nothing that made effective sense in the least. Let's all just move on.

looking likely I'm thirty, and feeling one hundred and ten

Took a bit to find it--the port dropped me off at the club itself--but down the hill, through the trees, I found a small haunted house ride. And it's not on Adult land.

Let's go see.



So, I had to click the panel that rezzes out a car a couple times, but once it did, and I got in, the ride started immediately. And it is FAST--about the fastest haunted ride I've been in this year.



Inside's a pretty standard collection of haunted decor, a lot of things we've seen before, blood splashed liberally along the walls, cobwebs, blood pools, et cetera...but the difference is the speed with which everything passes by.



It feels very old-school--not in the sense of old SL, but in the sense of those little carnival rides found in small towns, where everything's sort of rickety and creaking, but it's still fun? It's that kind of feel.



And in the middle of the ride, a set of surprisingly realistic textured tombstones. Impressive.



It took me around twice, because I didn't have time to jump off, and at the end of the second go-round, it launched me into the air, where I landed at the foot of the stairs to the upper section. There's not a lot of upstairs to see, the main draw is the ride--but it's a good, if short, ride to take. I recommend it, I thought it was a lot of fun.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

then he rode away, and he rode away, and he died

(Continued from part one.)



It took me a bit to realize that the haunt wasn't the blasted hellscape, but accessed through the teleporter on the wall of the cabin with the vendors. Hmm. So our first location is a fairly trashed hospital.



I did not join their group in order to use the 'sex morgue'. No thank you. And I am NOT talking about what was in the hospital's jail cell.



Off to the next section, which is a far more traditional haunted house.

Why is this particular clown everywhere this year? And here, it doesn't even make any sense. Not that there would be much more sense to be made, had they placed it in the hospital set...



And who's this large fellow? No idea, but he was standing guard upstairs in the haunted house.



I'm next? Where have I heard that before?

Oh, it's not a terrible haunt, it has some okay moments, and a couple of good photo props, but there's more cliché than content, frankly. Still, for completionists, I'm including it, to go and see.

he said lady, where's your dark undercoat?

Why are there so many haunts this year on Adult land? Is it just that people happen to own more Adult land now in SL? Or are there really that many people turned on by wraiths and corpses?



At any rate, tonight found me in StoryBrook trying to make sense of a blasted hellscape littered with charred, yet still moving bodies, and scattered fires burning through the cracks in the dark ground. Great. It's a haunt based in Hell?



And I won't lie, the description worried me:
"Adult Haunted House,sex, all evil things welcome. You must be wearing tag to use sex equipment. Not for the good at heart. Ultimate costume shop! haunted house, hangout, halloween avatars, sex morgue,spells,,interactive"
Exact quote from the events listing, punctuation--or lack thereof--intact.



There are bodies everywhere on this little parcel of Hell, so, so many of them...and parts of them...



Lava, lightning, what else, earthquakes??



That's just asking for trouble. Unsubtle.

(Continued in part two.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

but I'm still, I'm still an animal

(Continued from part one.)



One of these mannequins...is moving.



Well, that's certainly unsettling.



That's even more unsettling.



Why does she seem so calm? Doesn't she know what's behind her?



You know, I am really not liking this particular spider. I'd like it very much if it stopped showing up, thank you all so much.



The Silent Hill caged, hanging figures do not fit in with the rest of the haunts on this lawn, but...it's so busy around this bend in the path I almost didn't notice.



And the final section of the haunt is sitting for a bit, and asking questions of a crystal ball.

So, is it worth it? Well, there's a lot of walking, and before the walking, a lot of rowing, but it is an experience. Is it child-friendly? That's a more difficult question. The swamp portion, definitely. The house, well, barring some mannequin nudity and jumpscare sound effects, it's...mostly...safe. But after the escape from the house? It's all zombies, hanging bodies, and cannibalized body parts, and I don't think that is at all safe for kids--pretend or not.

Somewhere, a disconnect happened, between "Keep everything purely PG" and "Make it the SCARIEST haunt ever!" I'm not saying don't go, just don't go expecting a clean, safe, bloodless haunt. Because you won't get it.

I change shapes just to hide in this place

Oh, boy. Something listed as the "Halloween Interactive Haunt Scariest Haunt yet!" at the Almost Home Adoption Agency? Which, far as I can tell, is on a General sim. This could be dire.



Welcome Emilly Orr to The Haunt of Herston Canyon. Please, read the signs and get prepared accordingly before your ride. Thanks for coming!

Sure. Thanks. I'll be sure to read all the signs.



If this is a haunt appropriate to "all ages", does that mean kids are more accepting of crucified skeletons than full-grown adults? That's interesting.



Oh, it's another ride? Interesting. And wau, there are a lot of rule cards.



It was raining heavily the closer I got to the docks. and it seemed to be my job to take a boat out...into the canal...in the rain...to go through the ride. Great.



Well, getting soaked to the skin wasn't fun, but I have to admit, the canal was pretty. And it was sort of soothing, in a strange way, the sound of the oars through water, the sound of the rain.



Then I had to jump out of the boat, into the murky water...and clamber up onto a rickety dock section by this fellow.



At the end of the pier, I found a house. And painted on the wall of the house was this cryptic message...and a room full of doors.

Oh. I have to find the right door. Drat.

(Continued in part two.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

for you, for you, I would even trust the devil for rebirth

(Continued from part one.)

The house may be simple, but outside, there's a swirling, misty gateway to the roller coaster. And that, my friends, is worth a donation to the upkeep of the haunted house all on its own. It is amazing.



I mean, I've been on haunted rides before, and believe me, this year the rides have been better than any year previous in SL's history, and this one now tops my personal list.



Keep in mind, I chose six from the images I'd snapped along the way, and I didn't even come close to getting everything.



There are so many different effects, but sometimes, the trick is, it only looks good in mouselook. This one? Mouselook, straight camming around, doesn't matter, it all looks good.



Are there places where the textures don't line up perfectly? Sure. But you're seriously not going to care.



The gravestones outside the ride are even more fun.



So, three separate areas--an okay, if small house; a fantastic spookhouse ride; and a really funny set of epitaphs in the cemetary. I highly recommend you take this one in before it disappears, because it is well worth your time.

for you, for you, I would bring down the heavens on this earth

"'Tis the season to be creepy...fa la la la la, la la ah AAAAAAAH!"

Today finds me in Templeton Cove, looking for their haunt. It's not clearly marked from the port-in point.



I guess it's over this direction?



Ah, there it is. Just past this tree.



Oh, that's adorable. They're dancing.



Hmm, a nursery without spectral children and cribs? Just blocks and a hobby horse, and one abandoned doll. How odd.



Still tired of seeing this particular ripped mesh statue all over the grid this year, but at least this pose suits the setting--she's sitting, watching spirit orbs fly out the window while whatever's trapped in the mirror tries to get her attention.



And not only is there a body on the bed, not only is it wrapped in spidersilk, but there's not a trace of arachnid activity in the rest of the room. Now that's creepy.

(Continued in part two.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

'cause we're young and we're reckless, we'll take this way too far

This one gives me legitimate concerns. Why? Well, their place description might have something to do with it:
"Beautiful beach, free sex, porn studio, hotel. Concerts, events. Halloween, Haunted House. Chagen Productions, porn studio, beach, nude, free sex, clothing optional, bondage"
Yeah...so...'beach' is mentioned twice, 'porn studio' is mentioned twice, and 'Halloween' and 'Haunted House' are only mentioned once each. Along with 'nude', 'free sex', and 'clothing optional'.



It's no surprise to say it's on Adult land, right? Okay.



Or that there's a gazebo covered in spiders, because really, on a beach, where else are they going to be drawn to build giant webs?



I'm not saying I've never run into fog on a beach. It's happened. I'm just saying it seems odd with palm trees.



There's a floating baby in the well...



and signs of either people moving in, or people moving out, of the main house.



The house does need an exterminator, though. Maybe one who carries a flamethrower.



And upstairs, I found the same two sculpts I've been seeing all year. I know the girl in the chair is ripped from American McGee's Alice, the sequel. The other girl looks so very familiar, but I can't quite place her.

So, is this a good haunt? Well, it has some nice touches. The scorpion and the giant spider are definitely creepy. Most of it's just jumbled together, no rhyme or reason. No story, not even an invented one. So I'm not saying it's bad, just...average. I'd recommend it for completionists only.

got a long list of ex-lovers; they'll tell you I'm insane

The Farmer and the Dead is a haunt on another Adult parcel of land. But before I actually explore anything, I want to make a few things clear.

Here's the blurb from the landmark:
Halloween fun for ALL ages! Zooby give a way, Cornfield Maze and trick or treat hunt, Pumpkin patch w/ prizes, UFO and more. For those enjoy the more graphic horror the haunted house is for you!
Sounds like a kid-friendly haunt, right? For the most part, at least?

And these:


are vendors selling clothing and costume items sized for child avatars.

Why, then, are these booths--selling childrens' items--found on ADULT LAND?!? Within walking distance of a place that has not one, not two, but three different warning signs for "graphic" content?

Do let me know, because that just feels...skeevy, to the point of not wanting to continue through the haunt. Tell you what--you want to go to an Adult land where kids are apparently welcomed with open arms, feel free, but that is so not my scene. I get hassled enough for being short and occasionally doll-like in Adult spaces when I am one, I don't need to deliberately incur reactions in people who think I'm there with ulterior motives. Ugh.



Beam me up and out, I'm so done here.