Friday, October 20, 2017

Harvest Time at Fearshire Farms

Hey......you wanna see something really scary? 

It should come as no surprise to those that know me that yes, this is one of my favorite movie lines, from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Such a simple line, yet such a brilliant addition to the overall work. It sets the proper tone for the movie and will give you a taste of what's to come. I actually found the scene for this line on YouTube, which you can find here. Go ahead, take a look. I'll wait.

What did you think? Pretty cool, huh? 

With Halloween right around the corner, we can see Fall starting to make an appearance. Fall, a traditional time of harvest (or reaping, "may it do ya"). What are we harvesting, though? Pumpkins? Apples? With all the ghosts, goblins and other spooky things running around, maybe something else is being harvested. Something more sinister. Could it be souls? Or maybe it's just human flesh, "fresh meat," that's on the menu in some of the more creepy places. 

So, wanna see something really scary, or creepy?

Fearshire Farms in Angleton is one such creepy place. They don't even try to hide the fact that it's "harvest time." That alone should give you an idea of what you'll be in for should you decide to pay the Fearsons a visit. And I highly recommend you do pay them a visit if you want to experience some spooky fun. We first experienced Fearshire Farms a few years ago when my scuba club, Bay Area Divers ("BAD"), attended as a group. We had a great time and decided right then and there to make this an annual outing for the club.




Welcome to Fearshire Farms




Fearshire offers three main attractions: A haunted house, a corn maze and another building that has been both a "crazy carnival" and now offers an "unhinged" experience. I'll provide a little more detail on the main attractions shortly. The resident spooks aren't just in the attractions, though. Oh, no, that wouldn't be much fun! There are roaming creatures of all sorts that will interact with you while waiting in line or walking between the attractions. Yes, some will even pose for a selfie with you if you ask nicely. 

What I really appreciate about this place, though, is their central courtyard, so to speak. Here you will find a covered pavilion where you can sit down and watch a classic scary movie, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, food concessions and the Fearshire Beer Garden ("liquid courage" as they call it). They offer a family-friendly "Halloween hayride" as well. Take your time and enjoy these extra amenities between visiting the main attractions and make a night of it. 

Their food concessions vary from year to year, and we've had choices from a local food truck to on-site barbecue. That being said, Cindy and I have to enjoy these food choices when we make a second trip to Fearshire, as when we go with BAD our tradition is to meet as a group at Giovanni's Italian Kitchen, in Angleton before going to Fearshire. 

A quick aside here about Giovanni's. For the past three years, we BADdies have met here for dinner as a group and have enjoyed the food. There's usually a crowd of us, so we allow a good two hours before heading over to Fearshire. This gives us a good chance to visit and catch up on what's been going on since our last event.



Dinner time!



On our most recent trip this year, I chose the "South of the Border pizza," which has pepperoni, bacon, and jalapenos. The sauce had just a hint of sweetness to it, and the crust was perfectly done. I would definitely order this again.


South of the Border pizza



Cindy opted for a shrimp and chicken ravioli with roasted garlic. From the looks of her plate, she enjoyed that entree as much as I enjoyed my pizza. If you've read any of my blogs on cooking or eating, you know I don't do shrimp.....can't stand it.....so I didn't sample her dish.



Chicken and shrimp ravioli



Our other members chose a wide variety of entrees. I got to sample the spicy sausage lasagna, and want to order that scrumptious dish as well. Between the bread and dipping sauce, salad and entree, we more waddled than walked out of Giovanni's and drove the short distance to Fearshire.

If you do like we did, and ate beforehand, no worries. You can find lighter treats and desserts as well. Hey, that'll work! Hit the haunted house, and relax with some hot chocolate and cookies afterward before exploring the corn maze. 

Want even more convenience? No problem! Why wait in line when you get there to buy tickets? Just buy them online and go to the will call window to receive your wristband. You can purchase admission to one, two, or all three main attractions, plus the hayride. Not feeling that adventurous? They have that covered as well. For $5, you can enjoy the central courtyard while your more intrepid companions are traipsing through the corn maze or groping their way through the haunted house. Feel free to hang out and watch the scary movie and listen to the screams coming from the maze. Are those screams of fear or pain? Maybe, just maybe, your companions will return and tell you what the saw. 

What was that about a wristband? 

Yes, wristband! Depending upon what you purchase, you'll receive a wristband with detachable tabs that will grant you admission. Don't remove these tabs! The attendant at each attraction will need to do this. I like this idea, as it will save you from having to keep up with paper tickets.


Fearshire wristband
photo courtesy of Jenna Contenta


Until you actually make it to Fearshire Farms, you are welcome to accompany me and my fellow BADdies on a virtual tag-along during our most recent visit. I'm happy to report that all of us made it out intact, at least physically. Are you ready? Take my hand and have no fear. I promise you'll do just fine. At least I hope so. I think....

We've purchased our tickets online, and picked up our wristbands from the ticketing office. Let's proceed onto the actual grounds. Are those screams we hear in the distance? I believe they are!

We are first met by Delena. This charming lady will explain the general rules of Fearshire Farms and present an overview of what we can expect. She'll happily answer any questions you may have about the attractions and or clarify anything that you are unsure of. For the past few years, she has greeted us like long-time friends. As we approached her this time, she started waving enthusiastically and proclaimed: "My diver friends are here! So happy to see you again!" What an awesome way to start our evening!



Glad to see you, too!



Delena will ask you a few survey questions after your visit, so try to remember if anything was especially good (or bad), and she'll duly note it. Over to our right is the covered pavilion where you can relax, watch one of the movies playing and have a snack. You won't be visited by any of the roaming characters, so no need to keep your guard up.



Have a seat and watch the movie





Walking past this we enter the area where the main attractions are. We'll pass under the Fearshire Farms arch. Our group just loves photos, so let's pause for a moment and pose for the camera. Still with me? Good! Stay close and you'll do just fine. Maybe.



Here we go, BADdies!
photo courtesy of Jenna Contenta



From here, it's your choice which attraction you want to visit first. The closest attraction is the haunted house. Depending on the growing season, the corn maze may or may not be close to the haunted house. It is an actual cornfield, so depending on the weather during the year it could be in the "front" part of Fearshire, near the house, or the "back" part of the farm. This year, due to all the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, the corn maze was adjacent to the haunted house. There was practically no line for the corn maze, so we decided to venture there first.

Fearshire describes their Dead End Corn Maze on their website, which I'll quote directly here:

"Here on the Fearson’s Farm, the corn grows tall and thick. No one really knows what goes on within the dark depths of the Fearson’s Dead End Corn Maze, but there have been many a night full of strange sounds and foreboding rustling. You can even hear the strange popping noises as it grows. If you are brave enough to enter into its dark pathways, be prepared, natural creatures are not the only terrors to be encountered in this maze. The Dead-End Corn Maze is full of twist, turns and downright frightening creatures. The corn can grow to over 8 feet tall, thanks to the blood and bone –meal fertilizer. Remember to wear closed toe shoes and appropriate clothing. You are on a real farm in a real corn field and some of the things that scare you might not be human, but could be real animals and you don’t want them to mistake your toes for a yummy snack."

Sounds exciting! Let's do this! Come on, it's OK. Just stay close to me and you'll be fine. As we approach the entrance to the maze, the screams of the victims, I mean "guests," can be heard somewhere in the corn. Was that howl some hideous creature or a person? I guess we'll soon find out. Before we enter, though, we must surrender the first tab on our wristband. You did remember to keep them intact, right? Good!

Welcome to my corn maze!
photo courtesy of Jenna Contenta




At each attraction, the "gatekeeper" (not to be confused with the keymaster) will collect that attraction's tab from your wristband and remind you of the rules. These rules are pretty much the same for each attraction, so you'll hear them multiple times tonight, assuming you survive each one. You'll hear something like "No running, no food or drinks, no photography...." Fair enough. This spiel, though, totally reminds me of a scene from the movie Turner & Hooch. I couldn't find a YouTube clip of the actual scene but found a user-submitted version that will do. Just click here and you'll see what I'm referring to. 

Yes, I'll wait, just like I did for the first clip. 

Watch it and you'll see why I always add "This...is not your room." when they are done. Most of the time I just get a blank look. Once in a while, though, I'll get a knowing nod and a smile, but not always.

See what I mean? Hilarious! Well, at least to me, it's hilarious.

Here we go! Straight ahead, then a left. No, wait, that was last year. What's that dark shape ahead?

Annnnnnnd, we're done! We survived! Surely you didn't think I was going to spoil anything with a full description, did you? Nope, not gonna happen! I'll describe each attraction's general appearance, but you'll just have to experience the real thing in person. It's definitely much more fun, and scary, that way. 

I will say, though, that having a newbie with us makes it more fun. We had a few first-timers with us and watching them experience Fearshire for the first time was entertaining, to say the least. Remember me mentioning earlier that some of Fearshire's creatures walk amongst the guests between attractions? 


Don't look behind you, Cathie!
photo courtesy of Jenna Contenta


That being said, we "veterans" can't take anything for granted, though. Fearshire will change each attraction from year to year to keep things fresh. My wife is famous for her earsplitting screeches, and it's a wonder she hasn't dislocated my shoulder as hard as she's pulled on my arm while going through the various haunts. Her grip strength is amazingly strong, especially when something jumps out at her. Ouch! Maybe Fearshire can hire her as "the hand mangler" or something like that. 

Are you OK? Do you need a minute or two to let your heart rate return to normal? Excellent! Let's proceed to the haunted house, or "Fearson's Farm House," as it is more properly called. This is a real, actual house, not a set. It's not just a single-story house, either. You have TWO stories of spookiness to survive. Fearshire's website describes it this way:

"On the outskirts of Angleton stands an old 1900’s farm house. This farm house has many rooms, each with its own dark secrets. Be prepared for ghostly encounters and new terrors as you climb the stairs and pray you get back down intact.

No one is sure when the family that lived there came to the area. Some say not until the 1900’s and some say they have always been there. Whatever the case, everyone agrees the Fearsons were eccentric and downright strange. The family kept to themselves and wasn’t known to be very sociable. Strange tragic deaths seemed to plague each generation. With each new calamity the townspeople would began to whisper about what possible curse could have befallen the family to make their lives so miserable. Some say the property was cursed by a slave of old man Fearson. Some say the tragedy lies within the mystery of Mrs. Fearson, who loved another but was forced by her father to marry Fearson. Still there are a few who believe it is just plain old bad luck. One thing is for certain, gloom and despair hang over the property like a heavy cloud. It has been said that late at night you can hear the anguished cries of those that lived there as they mourn the terrible loss of their loved ones.


Every year some adventurous souls seeking excitement work up the nerve to tour the old homestead. They are anxious to see if they can make it through the house with everyone in their group accounted for at the end. They never do. Some disappear and are never heard from again. Those that make it out usually end up in a mental ward for a while and are never willing to speak of what they saw. Do you dare to enter Fearson’s Farm House?"

Wow! If that by itself doesn't set the mood for a spine-tingling adventure through the house, the sentence immediately below it definitely will:

"*NOTE* In the event of extreme paranormal activity during the tour we will evacuate and close Fearson’s Farm House to the public"

Wait, whaaaaat? You mean there could be actual real ghosts in that house? 

Hey, let go of my hand! Or at least don't squeeze so hard! That's Cindy's job. I understand your fear, though, and it's well founded. This is not a place for the faint of heart. The creatures inside prefer a more healthy heart, or at least that's what I've heard. There you go again, grabbing and clutching me and we haven't even made it inside the house yet. Come on, you can do it.

Can you feel the evil presence inside?



Since we had such a large group ("n=12" in nerdspeak), we had to split up in groups of 3 - 4 for each attraction. Our first set of BADdies went up to the front door, were greeted by one of the resident spooks, and was let inside. I don't think they were in there more than half a minute before I heard the first screams. 


Come in, if you dare!
photo courtesy of Jenna Contenta

Our group was next, and true to form, there were new horrors to behold. The route through the house is different than last year, and some of the rooms are completely changed. You ever wanted to know what it would feel like being in a horror movie, trying to find your way through a haunted house? Let Fearshire take you there, to that dark place in your mind. 

Done! Two out of three attractions survived with no body parts missing. Your mind, on the other hand, may need some repair after your experiences. The only thing worse than leaving part of your mind or soul behind is bringing something extra out with you. Hopefully, you won't have one of the spirits in the house decide to accompany you home. Just sayin'.....

Let's take a quick break, now, and relax in the beer garden. Some of our group will choose the "liquid courage" option, while others will have water or soft drinks. Either way, your throat will thank you for it, as all the screaming you did surely didn't do it any favors. The night we visited the Fearsons was warm and muggy, so that ice-cold bottle of water I had hit the spot.


What'll it be?




Our group made their selection and gathered at a nearby table to sit, relax, and tell tales. "Wow, when that <spoilers deleted> jumped out at you in the <spoilers deleted> you must've jumped a foot!" "My ears are still ringing from when you screamed right next to my head." Here, have another one and tell me all about it.


The survivors tell their tales


Hey, where are you going? We're not done yet. We still have one more attraction to go. Come on, you can do it. That's it. You've made it this far, so what's the worst that could happen? (other than your soul being stolen by that <spoilers deleted> in the next attraction) Oh, relax! I was just kidding! Come back here and face it with us.

Our final test tonight is called "Unhinged." Last year, a "freaky carnival" occupied the building that Unhinged now calls home. Several of us have made multiple trips to Fearshire Farms over the last few years, but this one is new to all of us. Cool! Their website describes Unhinged with the following:

"This year at Fearshire Farms® the Fearson’s barn has been transformed into our newest attraction “Unhinged” As you enter the “darkness” of sleep followed by the “dream state”, be prepared for your darkest nightmares to become reality. New scenes and scares are lurking around every dark turn. Unhinged will test your every sense and weakness. Once you enter, you will be at the hands of your own Fears as you attempt to find your way out of the nightmares. Watch out for the Boogieman!  What is real and what is your imagination will torment you till you break down, lose your mind and never want to sleep again."

You might want to take one more opportunity for a little more "liquid courage" before setting foot inside this one. Then again, you can brag about facing your fears head on, without any enhancements. It's up to you. Make up your mind, though, as our group is about to head over there. We don't want whatever's inside there to be any hungrier than they are now.

Well, that was, ummmm, different! Unhinged is very aptly named, and after going through it, you'll say the same thing. For me, anyway, I'll call it my favorite of the night. As much as I'd love to describe it, I'll leave it up to you to experience first-hand. 


We made it!
photo courtesy of Jenna Contenta


Jenna loves her selfies, and I'm glad she does. She was generous enough to share her photos with me and without them, my blog wouldn't have the same impact. Looking at that photo reminds me of something from the Blair Witch Project. Dave looks like someone tried to turn him into a newt. Oh, wait, wrong witch. Hey Fearshire, what do you think? Could y'all do an attraction back near your hayride with a Blair Witch theme? I'd love to talk about my ideas with you. Not like they need my help, though. Honestly, they've done a fantastic job without my help.

So there you have it, y'all. I'm glad you got to virtually hang out with us as we had fun being scared at Fearshire Farms. I'm already looking forward to next year. Before I wrap this up, though, I want to give a special THANK YOU to Tim of Fearshire Farms. With this being their busiest time of the year, he was very gracious with his time and provided some background info on Fearshire for this blog.

Have you ever been to Fearshire Farms? I'd love to read about your own experience in the comments section below. What about other similar attractions in the Houston/Galveston area? I've seen billboards for Phobia and others. Please tell me about them in the comments. Share your stories of screams and shouts. And how many subtle movie or pop culture references did y'all catch? I hid a few throughout the blog, and I know there are some who will find them all. I'm looking at you, John Myers!

Coming up in the next few blogs will be my contribution to Eric Douglas' annual Halloween Flash Fiction, an overview of our upcoming trip to Cleveland (OH) and going back into time at the Texas Renaissance Festival. While in Cleveland, incidentally, we are booked for another haunted attraction that I'll describe in detail. That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. From now until the rest of the year, my ambitious plan it to produce a blog about every seven days, more or less. 

Hang on, y'all, it's gonna be a wild ride!

Until next time......


carpe cerevisi



DISCLAIMER:
I am not affiliated with Fearshire Farms or Giovanni's Italian Kitchen in any way. I receive no compensation or favors in any form from either of these establishments. This blog represents my opinion only.


I feel it prudent to add this disclaimer to many blogs I write that appear to be a "review" of a given establishment. Those familiar with my blog know I rarely post negative remarks or comments about anything because I only blog about things I enjoy. For my new readers, I hope this clarifies why I write what I do, and why I post these disclaimers as a reminder. 





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