From “The Hell House Outreach Manual,” a 263-page guide to creating a “spiritually based” haunted house, published by the Abundant Life Christian Center (ALCC) in Arvada, Colorado, and sold last year to churches in forty-one states. Visitors to Hell House are guided through various scenes that depict “choices that can have an end result of ushering people into hell.” The abortion scene appears below; other scenes include a teenager committing suicide, the funeral of a homosexual man who has died of AIDS, and a car accident in which a father, driving drunk, kills his own family. The ALCC, which will host its third annual Hell House this month, reminds first-time hosts that “Hell House is not a glorification or observation of Halloween! This outreach happens during the ‘Halloween’ time of year because that is when the average, unsaved American is conditioned to visit haunted-house type attractions. Hell House simply capitalizes on the seasonal opportunity for the sake of the gospel.”
Demon. The demon is the tour guide through all issue-oriented scenes. The energy level and quality of the Hell House drama rests squarely on the demon’s shoulders. Throughout the duration of the performances, the demon’s voice needs to sound “unhuman.”
Chrissy, the girl who is having the abortion. Chrissy’s lines are few, but her impact is gigantic. She is one of the characters who will be talked about most by the visiting public. She cannot hold back or come across as being shy or embarrassed to be doing what she is doing. Screaming, crying violently, and convulsing all fall into her bag of tricks. She must play her part convincingly or the entire abortion scene will be flat.
Doctor. Gives the appearance of performing the actual abortion procedure.
Nurse. Assists the doctor with the overall procedure.
Assistant. Monitors the patient and the medical instruments.
Note: You may have a nurse, doctor, or someone else in the medical field who is a part of your church. These people will be a great resource for giving this scene the authentic look it needs.
Green or blue gossamer for the walls. Purchase fireproof gossamer if at all possible. If you can’t afford gossamer, check Target or Wal-Mart for green or blue paper tablecloths.
Complete medical attire (“greenies”) for doctor, nurse, and assistant
Complete patient attire for Chrissy
Examination table for Chrissy. If an authentic examination table cannot be located, pad a regular table for this character’s comfort.
Pieces of meat placed in a glass bowl to look like pieces of a baby. Do your very best to purchase a meat product that closely resembles pieces of a baby. The more real you can make that meat look, the more powerful the impact on every person who visits. The meat is going to get handled and moved around a lot. Be prepared to have someone purchase a “fresh prop” each day if necessary.
Theatrical blood. Because of the large amount of blood used in this scene and in others, someone should be responsible for mixing a vat of it each evening that Hell House is open. Store the blood in one location: Blood Central. A representative from each scene can come to Blood Central to pick up that scene’s supply. Be sure to keep your carpet safe!
Small vacuum with hose. Any small house vacuum will work. It is used primarily for sound. The sound, combined with Chrissy’s convulsions, leaves a definite impression.
As the tour enters the room, Chrissy is lying on the operating table; her legs are up as if in stirrups. The doctor is seated and appears to be performing the abortion. His medical instruments are clearly visible. Hospital sound effects are playing in the background. The moment the tour is within earshot, Chrissy begins crying. She is extremely distraught. Throughout the entire scene, the medical staff is cold, uncaring, abrupt, and completely insensitive to Chrissy.
Demon: You’re about to witness the product of young love, compliments of the back seat of a ’94 Camaro. (The medical staff is at work. Chrissy is writhing and breathing heavily.)
assistant: Chrissy, be still. This was your choice!
Doctor: (with extreme intensity) Val, I said I need more gauze! She is really bleeding.
chrissy: Why . . . Why . . . you said there wouldn’t be—
Doctor: SHUT UP! You pay the money! I do the work AND the talking!
Demon: And the killing!
Doctor: This is gonna hurt!
Demon: They’re convinced that a child is only tissue. But the truth is that that tissue has a brain and a heartbeat—and can feel his little arm being RIPPED off his body. (As the demon says the word RIPPED, the doctor yanks; Chrissy screams and jerks with pain and begins to cry steadily.)
chrissy: (incredibly emotional, barely understandable through her tears) You lied to me! It does hurt! You’re hurting me— (Chrissy’s words trail off as if she can barely take the pain. The assistant looks annoyed that Chrissy is not controlling herself.)
Doctor: (irritated) Chrissy, it’s only a medical procedure!
chrissy: (screaming and crying) Don’t do this, I want my . . . I want . . . MY BABY! (The nurse places the first piece of bloody baby in the glass bowl just as Chrissy screams, MY BABY! Chrissy also reaches for the bowl as she says that phrase.)
assistant: You should have thought of that a long time ago.
Doctor: We’re going to sedate the next one who comes in here like this. (The vacuum is turned on and Chrissy shakes and convulses. Her entire body rattles as the vacuum removes the final pieces of her child.)
Demon: It’s just too bad that I didn’t get YOU! (The demon points at someone in the tour group, looks right into his or her eyes, and holds the pose for a dramatic second or two. The demon then quickly changes gears and cranks the energy back up.) We must keep moving! There’s much more to enjoy! Follow me . . .