I found out about Heretic overhearing someone talk at media night for another haunted attraction. I was immediately intrigued by what I heard so I decided to look it up and came across a contact for the creator Adrian Marcato. I was able to sit down with Adrian and conduct an interview. I was fascinated by the things he said so I decided to do some more research and came across elaborate stories and pictures having to do with murder and violence. You would think these things were very disturbing, but in the way they were presented they actually were very poetic and artful.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend my first Heretic experience. I received emails telling me to reply back that I understood everything. The emails said to wear clothes that I wouldn’t mind getting ruined. A time was set on a certain date and i was to wait under a street light on a corner in LA.
When that day came I emailed Adrian and told him how anxious I was and that I was feeling a little apprehensive. I knew this was something I wanted to go through with though so I went to the corner where I was supposed to wait, dressed in ripped jeans and an old shirt. I was expecting to have something happen to me like I had heard from other reviews such as being kidnapped by people and being put into a trash filled van. Instead I was met by Adrian himself in a friendly manner who took me across the street to an unassuming building.
To set the premise, Hex is based on a dream Adrian had once when he was sick. The experience takes place mainly in one room where there’s a bed that was used in actual murders. It is said that when you lay in this bed you have terrible nightmares.
While we were walking across the street Adrian was talking about how Heretic was different from other extreme haunts and was talking about the haunts he himself had done or wanted to do. We entered a room just passed a door that was dimly lit. He asked me if I was ready and if I had any aggression issues. He also asked me if I remembered the safe word “Awake”. Then he opened another door and i was brought into a room that was filled with fog and barely lit.
As soon as I entered a man dressed in a suit walked up to Adrian and Adrian began whispering something to him. This caused me a little concern. Then I was brought over to a table where I was asked to sign the standard waiver. Sitting at the table was a girl in a hoodie who started getting upset over what was stated in it. “What is this? It says you can die. I don’t want to do this”, she said angrily and concerned. “That’s just the standard waiver” said the man in the suit. “I’m not going to do this” the girl yelled. Then she got up and headed for the door I had just came through and started screaming for Adrian. The man in the suit and her started to struggle. The girl was dragged over to another door and pushed into the dark where you could see the silhouette of someone who definitely looked menacing.
“Sorry for that, shall we carry on” asked the man in the suit to me. I finished signing the waiver, handed it to the man and he immediately took out a video camera and note pad. “We know why you’re here. You know what’s going to happen to you tonight, don’t you” he asked. This is when I started to get a little worried. Adrian and I during our interview had talked about many things during the interview and I found out we both had a fascination for the Deep Web. I had heard some horror stories that had happened over the Deep Web and was wondering if this was going to be one. These thoughts honestly crossed my mind: “Was I going to go through some kind of occult initiation”, “Was I going to get seriously injured or worse yet maybe even murdered”.
The man started to ask me questions about sleep. “How often do you dream?” “Do you sleep alone?” “Do you remember your dreams?” “What’s the worse nightmare you can remember?” “Do you have rape fantasies?” I answered these questions as honestly as I could. Then he pulled something out of his jacket pack and said, “Erik, I need you to trust me”. It was a pink pill. “What the hell is this?” I asked. Very calmly and casually he said, “Oh, it’s just something to sedate you and make you hallucinate”. Oh great! I was going to go through an extreme haunt alone where there’s a haunted bed that’s been used in murders that I’ll probably wind up being put in and I’m going to be sedated and hallucinating? The man then told me that I was going to go through some aggression drills to get the pill working faster. I assumed this was to have a paradoxical effect like drinking Red Bull and vodka.
We left the room where i had signed the waiver and he took me to another room where there was just a door and a hallway. He told me to put my hands against the door and started breathing heavily. As soon as I did this the girl from the previous room falls out of a room I didn’t see on the side and throws up all over me. This was all before the main part of the show. Then I’m brought into a second room where a man in a black ski mask starts putting safety gear on me and the man in the suit hands me a mask. I’m led to a black curtain that I’m to go through. It seems to be a bare room with not much in it. “Find the baseball bat” the man in the suit says. I tell them that I found the bat. “Now go to the other corner and break everything as hard and fast as you can”. I go to the other corner and find some objects that I start swinging and pounding away at. After a while the man in the suit says, “enough, now come back out here”. I come back out, the safety gear is taken off and I’m led to another area where I see the bed. “You know what to do now” says the man in the suit. “Oh shit!” I thought, “things just got even more real”. I lay in the bed (which is soaked) and decide that at this point I’m just going to relax and let whatever happens happen.
A naked man and a girl approach the bed. The man stands behind me while the girl gets on top of me and straddles me. The man and girl start whispering in my ear, “no one knows your here” “no one cares about you” “he’s coming”. The girls kneed are implanted deeply in my rib cage. I can’t breath and grasp for breath. “shhh, don’t make sound, no one can hear you, no one cares about you” the girl says as she covers my mouth. She starts ripping at my flesh and slapping me in the face. “he’s coming” she says again as they both leave. Before they do though the girl swings a dimly lit overhead light. I can’t see anything but shadows. Someone in a demon mask then approaches the bed and gets on top of it. He starts throwing me around, puts my face in the blood soaked bed and then chokes me. He then completely rips the shirt that I’m wearing.
I’m then brought to a gurney that I’m placed upon and the sides are lifted. Once again the girl gets on top of me and starts clawing at my skin and slapping me in the face. Then she vomits blood into my face. It gets in my mouth and my nose. The man in the ski mask then helps me get off the gurney and takes me to another door that I go through and I’m in a lit lobby.
The experience is over. Waiting for me is Adrian with a big smile on his face. “That’s it?” I ask. I didn’t realize how much I had actually enjoyed this. The time seemed to pass extremely fast. What’s weird is that once my initial fear had ebbed I had actually felt extremely calm and serene. I don’t know if I had an out of body experience during all of this, but I was able to be completely immersed and forget about all the horror and fear in the real world. Once the experience started I never felt overly scared of in danger. I didn’t have to use the safe word. Yes it’s extreme, but the actors do their job extremely well. Everything was beautiful in a macabre kind of way. I was one of the lucky people who got to see Marcato’s nightmare brought to life. I was worried I would maybe get some kind of spiritual attachment from the experience and especially that haunted bed. That didn’t happen. In fact I got the best sleep I did in a long time that night.
After talking about the experience people told me that that’s “crazy” and “too much for them” and that they would never do it. They asked me if I would do the experience again. My answer is a definite YES!