Students working at Scare Kingdom invited us down for the fright of our lives at Psychomanteum: Deeper Treatment. So we sent Hannah Brook, who willingly obliged.
The Sun newspaper labels the experience, as ‘The UK’s sickest attraction’. It definitely isn’t one for the faint hearted.
As I joined the long line of fellow thrill-seekers, I was slightly dubious, as I had seen the many negative comments and complaints about the attraction – which is now in its fourth year – previous visitors calling it ‘awful’ and ‘degrading’.
Valerie Wise, chief executive of Preston Domestic Violence Service, claimed that it ‘legitimises violence against people’. So, the Psychomanteum experience certainly seems to have had some bad press. If I’m being totally honest, as I stood and read the largely-printed terms and conditions on the wall, I almost decided against taking part.
First, warned that the attraction involves crawling through a claustrophobic space, and that ‘patients’ must be able to climb onto a bed quickly, without aid.
Now for the slightly more frightening part; the attraction is described as “graphically disgusting, offensive, sexually explicit, crude, vulgar and extremely adult in nature”, and you are warned that you will be touched, grabbed and forcibly moved, and will be hooded at certain times.
You enter completely on your own, and must comply with everything you are told to do, or you will be told to leave and you will not be refunded. It is also important to add that you are informed about a safe word, the word ‘sausage’, and that the use of this will result in you immediately being removed from the attraction.
Finally, it says that Scare Kingdom claims no responsibility for any short- or long-term psychological distress that may result from your taking part.
After a short while in the queue, I was greeted by ‘The Matron’, who asked me to sign the terms and conditions, and gave me a face mask – which I was instructed to wear at all times. As I looked around, I noticed that more men were waiting in line than women – something I found surprising as the complaints I have seen mainly centred around the degradation of females. After a relatively long wait, due to the fact that only one person entered in roughly two minute intervals, it was time for my turn.
I will not discuss what I experienced in the approximately six minute-long attraction – in line with the disclaimer, and also because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else.
Do I think the complaints and criticisms were justified? Absolutely not. The terms and conditions completely prepared me for the experience, and there were no moments that I genuinely felt unsafe as, obviously, I was aware that I would not come to any real harm.
However, I will say that, although the attraction was not ‘scary’ in the conventional way, I did feel very violated, and the description included in the terms and conditions could not have been more appropriate.
Many people have asked me if I would do it again, and I have said no – but only because I would already know what happens, so it would be pretty pointless. However, if I had had some kind of insight into exactly what happens before I had taken part, then I would definitely have chosen to do it – I do not regret doing it at all. If anything, it was a very interesting end to a wonderfully entertaining night.
I must reiterate though, that this experience is definitely not for the faint-hearted, or anyone who would be uncomfortable in a situation of the previously-mentioned description.
Have you been to Scare Kingdom? What did you think? Comment below or tweet us @UCLanPluto
By Hannah Brook