Aptly this is my th13teenth blog (see what I did there?) and it’s Halloween week. Last Thursday and Friday I spent at Alton Towers Resort for their annual scarefest, there were certainly some brown trousers after that!
The thick clouds above were beginning to darken. There we were in the gardens of Alton Towers, walking towards a grand Georgian all glass conservatory. But this wasn’t no ordinary manor house, this was the sanctuary.
(eerie organ music perhaps)
We walked into the glass building and immediately met with a stale musky smell. To our right a small shrubbery area with dead plants, all of them plastered with spider webs and dust. The windows decorated with faded white curtains all around. A piercing buzzing alarm sounded for an instant forcing me to look ahead. As I did a group walked through the large security gate, a nurse dressed in all white slammed it behind them.
I then knew in moments that would also be my fate.
50’s style health posters were plastered all around saying things such as ‘A smile a day, keeps the doctor away’.
This creepy looking nurse explained to us what would be happening. She took her time and there were many awkward moments of pause.
“Do you understand sir?” She asked me as I smelt the stale musk in the air.
I simply nodded as my eyes met hers. She smiled as the piercing alarm sounded again. A green light mounted on the gate meant it was time to enter the sanctuary.
The nurse opened the gate and we walked forward. Met by a narrow green corridor it continued for a stretch. As we walked the foulest stench could be smelt. It was as if the floor hadn’t been cleaned in years combined with rotting cheese. Maybe a hospital that hadn’t been cleaned in years.
Shuffled to a small opening we were met by what can only be described as an institutionalized doctor. After some shouting and erratic behavior he explained the procedures carried out at the sanctuary and his support for them and for someone called Dr Kelman.
“Do you know what this light means?” He asked pointing to one of the two lights, this one being green.
We presumed it meant things were good.
“But do you know what this light means?”
Obviously bad things. Then it illuminated and the doctor opened a large door. It was now time to go inside the sanctuary.
Walking through the many rooms of this ‘sanctuary’ it was clear to see this certainly wasn’t one. From every corner we were approached by ‘patients’, some snorted at you, others would shout, whilst the odd patient would get close enough to hear you breathing.
Continuing onwards we came to a narrow bright white corridor with screens at height. There was a distinct smell of apple pie as it was displayed on the screen. A wet spray then hit us as the white became brighter and brighter. Different colours flashed making it very disorienting and seeming as if you have gone mad.
Through a plastic sheet we continued and that was when we came to some wooden stairs, but they led down.
“Don’t go into the basement.” I remember numerous patients saying to me during the walk.
This is where the numerous ‘surgeries’ took place. It was safe to say they were failed surgeries to ‘correct’ a patient. The voice of this doctor Kelman sounded, asking why his patients didnt respond and to ‘get corrected, get corrected’
Tension was building and building as we came past an operated body that had obviously failed to be corrected.
‘Get corrected, get corrected’
Then we were outside in the open again. The scare maze had finished!
After my experience in the sanctuary I can happily say I was corrected!
Yes I am talking about one of the great scare mazes at Alton towers. Last week I made the voyage to the UK’s greatest theme park. ‘Theme park’ is the only way to describe this place as the various rides and attractions are incredibly detailed and even more so during their annual Halloween scare fest. I recommend it to everyone, and they even reply on twitter. These guys build worlds, and the sanctuary felt like I was walking through a horror movie in real life.
As much as it was scary the experience was intriguing to say the least. I do love a good scare and this is as close as one will get to a horror movie. I did also experience the terror at the towers scare maze which was equally as good.
If you go down to the woods today…..
Not being a roller coaster fan I set myself a goal upon this visit. Ride at least one of Alton Towers worlds firsts. There is a few to choose from but mine was roller coaster 13. A rather unknown ride set in the eerie nearby woods. As you walk along the queue in remote woodland a mini van taken over by a growing tree can be seen.
Before I knew it, I was riding the various ups and downs of th13een. But as we came to an ascent we stopped abruptly. Was this part of the ride experience? No we were stuck*. After ten minutes the ride continued and into a dark building we went. The sound of wood snapping all around us and then a sudden drop in complete darkness. Yes this is the worlds first roller coaster where the track and carriages drop together onto another track!
There we were going backwards in the dark. For someone who doesn’t enjoy rides too much this was just right for me. And it’s a world’s first!
*Side note : The ride did get stuck for around ten minutes, in this time we were looked after and reassured, I was asked at least twice If I was ok. After the ride we were then given fast track tickets to skip the queue of a ride of our choice, see below: