|Updated: 10/30/2012 9:25 am
||Published: 10/29/2012 10:14 pm
“We found that if you reverse the things that make people comfortable, it typically make them uncomfortable,” said Rhett Holmes, the owner of The Hex House in Tulsa.
Holmes and his team of designers manipulate the senses to create a scary and entertaining atmosphere in the haunted house.
“It’s a whole other level here,” said Holmes.
Holmes tells FOX23 a focus is placed on architecture, sounds and colors at the Hex House to heighten the feeling of fear.
For instance, low and vibrating noises are played though out the haunted house instead of music.
“It tends to just give people this odd sense of foreboding and dread,” said Holmes.
Bright and awkward colors are used instead of natural color palettes to distract the eye and room shapes and hallways are constructed against the norm.
“People prefer to walk on straight lines and grids and our entire building is thus built on a triangle system to confuse people,” said Holmes.
He says the reaction from patrons varies; some cry, some scream and some go silent.
“When people get scared they do funny things,” said Holmes.
The outward reaction may be different, but the physiological response is generally very similar according to Dr. Frank Gaffney, a cardiologist at the Oklahoma Heart Institute.
“The stimulus is fear and the fear response is the adrenaline,” said Dr. Gaffney,
Dr. Gaffney says the body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. The reaction is known as “Fight or Flight” and Dr. Gaffney says that your body may be triggered to react by the Haunted House.
“That’s why it literally feels like your heart is jumping out of your chest because it is ready for action,” said Dr. Gaffney.
Dr. Gaffney says a normal healthy heart can beat up to 220 times a minute when a person is scared.
In addition to an increase heart rate, Dr. Gaffney says that person’s pupils will dilate, their mouth will become dry and hair stands on end.
Dr. Gaffney says the body’s stress response system is usually self regulating. He says your body will typically return to normal once the perceived threat has passed.
Holmes says it’s the thrill and the adrenaline rush that keeps people coming back year after year.
“I think everybody enjoys a good scare in a safe environment,” said Holmes.