By day, Ashland Berry Farm is filled with local families buying pumpkins and enjoying hayrides through fields of corn. You can hear the sound of children laughing, excited for Halloween. But, come sundown, Ashland Berry Farm becomes one of the darkest places imaginable.
Just 40 minutes up the road from Richmond in Beaverdam, Virginia, Ashland Berry Farm is a privately-owned working farm known for their 20 dollar “All-U-Can Carry” pumpkin promotion. It is a destination for families who want to enjoy a crisp autumn day in the country. At night, Ashland Berry Farm transforms into a giant house of horrors called “Haunted Evenings.” They have set up four of the scariest and most realistically terrifying exhibits, called Booger Woods, Frightmare Hall, Realm of Tortured Souls, and 3D Dead End. Their website warns, “All persons enter the haunts at their own risk. Anyone with a weak heart, high anxiety, or back problems is advised not to enter the haunts.” I would urge people to take this advice, as this place is actually terrifying.
At 3D Hall, I had to wear 3D glasses and attempted to make my way through a maze of pool noodles hanging from the ceiling, moving towards a bridge that seemed to be spinning. It is meant to be disorienting. I had to fight intense dizziness and battle a rotating landscape. As the maze went on, I came across various rooms filled with neon furniture, nearly debilitating me. I couldn’t clearly see that the ghouls had blended in with the room. As I tried to make my way through, I turned around and found myself jumping because a person had crept up behind me. I wondered where he came from but could not figure it out. At the end, a clown sneaked up and asked me to return my 3D glasses. My friends and I made our way to the hayride.
During the hayride across a muddy field heading towards Booger Woods, my friends and I were anxious about what was waiting for us. The hayride ends at a path lit by torches. I followed the path until I entered the first of many houses. Navigating through the houses was like navigating through an obstacle course, because it was pitch black, and part of the time I was crawling on my knees. Clowns and ghouls jumped out from nowhere and terrified me and other unsuspecting visitors, and then they retreated back to their hiding places. I could hear people screaming over the sound of chainsaws but could not see them, as I was surrounded by complete darkness the entire time.
Frightmare Hall is like going to an insane asylum combined with a prison because there is blood smeared on the walls and crazy mannequins seated behind bars. It is hard to tell if the figures are real or not. While I was focused on trying to figure out who was behind bars, another prisoner scared me from behind. It was an intense experience. Occasionally, if I turned around, a clown would be following me. As I walked through the final door, thinking I was free of the craziness, a large masked man with a chainsaw chased me out of the house onto the path.
The most terrifying experience happened in the last house within Booger Woods. I was greeted at the door by a clown, who escorted me in. I got the sense he wanted to kill me. After feeling my way through pitch black alley ways, I stumbled into a room and was immediately blinded by a strobe light. It was confusing and disorienting. It was hard to be certain where I was in the room. I quickly noticed I was surrounded by corpses hanging from nooses suspended from the ceiling. There were rows of corpses, and it was impossible to see an exit. People were screaming and in a panic. Suddenly, a clown with a chainsaw started to chase me around the room. I was constantly banging into corpses, screaming, and looking for an exit.
I have to say I was relieved to find the door and make my way back to the hayride.