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Why is that Monster So Scary!? 5 Terrifying Characters You Will See in Your Local Haunted House and The History Behind Them

The following article about terrifying haunted house characters is sponsored by The Haunted Forest. Come see some of these characters yourself this Halloween Season at the Haunted Forest in American Fork! 

Terrifying Haunted House Characters

If you’ve been to a haunted house during Halloween, you know some of the characters that are often incorporated into the scary experience. But do you know the history behind them? Here are 5 terrifying haunted house characters you will see and what the history is behind them.

Disclaimer: some of this content may be disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.

1. Insane Asylum Escapee

There is something so terrifying about a mentally deranged person who has escaped a psychiatric hospital. The biggest question you face is, what are they capable of? Early in the history of the United States in the 18th century, mental health facilities started to be incorporated into traditional hospitals. But with the 19th century brought new concepts of mental health treatment, even promising cures in what was called “moral treatment”. Larger mental facilities were formed that housed some of the worst of these people, away from their families and away from a normal way of life. Essentially, they were prisoners. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that these types of asylums started to be phased out in order to try and make poor mental health something that a person can live with and treat themselves.

2. The Movie Killer

Ed Gein

We’ve all seen these movies! Norman Bates from Psycho, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, even Leatherface (the chainsaw guy) from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These characters (or often ones themed after them because of copyright issues) are regulars in haunted houses nationwide. We may be familiar with their terribly grotesque stories. But did you know, all of these characters stem from just one guy? Ed Gein was known as the Butcher of Plainfield, Born in Plainfield, WI. The son of a very strict mother, he became attached to her as a young boy and held on to it his whole life. He gained national notoriety after a couple of grizzly murders when it was discovered that he had been exhuming bodies from the local cemetery. Think that’s bad enough? Nope. He’d been making furniture and clothes using the body parts.

3. Troubled Little Kids


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Whether it was Damien in The Omen, the Grady Twins in The Shining, or Regan MacNeil in the Exorcist, film has latched on to the creepy kid to horrify audiences. Kids have been used in scary movies and in popular culture for years. One of the first mainstream movies featuring a terrifying child was called The Bad Seed from 1956 in which a housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight-year-old daughter is a heartless killer. When the Exorcist came out the idea of possession, even in a child, scared everyone. We find children scary because of their innocence. There’s just a spookiness in a child being anything but angelic and innocent.

4. The Supernatural Beast

This is a broad category, but think of anything with horns, hoofed feet, and a pointy tail.  These are some of the scariest characters to us because we have been raised believing this matches the description of the ultimate evil. This can send chills down your spine just thinking about it.  In many Cultures, there is some variation of the image of this character, but it is most notable in Christianity. Interestingly enough, the image of goat legs and facial hair comes from ancient pagan depictions of their ultimate evil. Horns became a popular depiction of evil in the Medieval era.

5. The Evil Clown

A Clown is a staple to any haunted house this season. Why? Well, have you seen clowns? They’re terrifying! Ok, some people really love clowns though. So why do we find them so terrifying? Well as Benjamin Radford, author of Bad Clowns says “It’s a mistake to ask when clowns went bad because they were never really good.” Sad and bad clowns have existed in European culture since the 1700’s in characters from famous books by the likes of Charles Dickens to the famous tragic clown Pagliacci from the opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

More recently clowns have made a resurgence because of the mini-series and more recent movie ‘IT’, where a supernatural clown preys on young children. This re-energized fear has fueled the nightmares of kids and adults alike for several decades.

Do You Want To See Some Of These Spooky Characters?

The Haunted Forest is one of Utah’s most terrifying haunted houses. It’s also one of the oldest and longest haunted attractions in the state!  It’s a REAL forest, with REAL spooks!  Get ready to howl at the moon under the brisk fall skies!  Come and experience much more than a Haunted House—come explore the eerie Haunted Forest! With new attractions this year, the Haunted Forest starts spooking visitors at 7:30 every night but Sunday, now thru Halloween.

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