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Dispatches from House of Shadows

Editors note: These first person encounters come from Outlook reporters Jodi Weinberger and Katy Sword, who experienced the House of Shadows — a full-contact haunted house in Gresham. To read the story in full, visit here.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Outlook reporters Jodi Weinberger and Katy Sword walk into the light at the end of the tunnel in the House of Shadows haunted house.

From Jodi Weinberger:

I grabbed fellow reporter Katy Sword’s arm and pushed her in front of me. From the moment we walked into the House of Shadows she had gone from coworker to protector. But my plans to go through the West Coast’s only full-contact haunted house with eyes blissfully closed, and brave Katy leading the way were soon foiled as we were grabbed, separated and dragged through the scariest haunted house in Oregon.

“I’m going to die,” I screamed, exercising my right to pithy hyperbole in the extreme environs.

For a work assignment, a life seemed like a lot to risk, yet we pressed on.

The worst part, or really the best now that the moment is behind me, was watching Katy plunge into a foam pit screaming, “There is no floor” and knowing I would be pushed off into the abyss next.

Buried up to our armpits in foam blocks, we struggled through and I clung to her on the other side, only to be separated again moments later by a maniacal clown.

With Katy nowhere in sight, I called out for photographer Josh Kulla to take the lead, but ever the diligent employee, he responded only by pointing his camera in my direction and firing the shutter.

Eventually we did find the exit, or rather the exit found us as we ran through, chased by a bloody man with a chainsaw.

Would I do it again? Probably not. Once in a lifetime is enough for me.

Would I recommend it to anyone as a must-experience Halloween festivity? Absolutely.

From Katy Sword:

Walking through the House of Shadows was like a childhood fantasy come true. As a kid, I was the first to volunteer to dress up and be covered in fake blood, jumping out and scare others at local haunted houses.

The thrill of hearing chainsaws roar to life and waiting for a zombie or other scary creature to jump out from behind the next turn has always thrilled me.

I’ve made it my personal mission to seek out the scariest haunted experiences I can find since I moved from Idaho to Portland and that dream was fulfilled when I found the House of Shadows in Gresham.

I was excited, but skeptical. Could it really be my new favorite haunted place?

Yes, yes it could.

Fellow reporter Jodi Weinberger may have started this experience fearful for her life, and I giddy with excitement, but by the time we reached the exit, I had been legitimately, wholly terrified.

This was mostly because at one point two large men grabbed me and locked me inside a chest freezer, but also because there was no predictability, unlike many typical haunted houses. The actors’ commitment to the experience is why I will continue to visit every year.

I would tell the owners not to change a thing, but the best part of the full-contact premise of House of Shadows is that it ensures that no two trips through the scariest haunt in Oregon are ever the same.