With Halloween behind us, it would be easy to assume that haunt season has come to an end. Fortunately, for me, the ride continues. Throughout September and October, I have witnessed many of the new mutations that have sprung up and evolved with the various adaptations of haunts that exist in Los Angeles, yet I still manage to get surprised by the ingenuity that certain haunt operators are able to conjure up from nothing but a small budget and their vivid imaginations.
Case in point was last week when I received an email from the operators of FEAR IS WHAT WE LEARNED HERE inviting me to experience a waking dream… alone. Quite the coup for me, as I have since found out that this haunt runs on an invite-only basis, leading one to believe that these operators aren’t in it for the money — more for the art and passion of what they do. It is not easy to obtain an invite to this experience, and eager enthusiasts may be asked to solve puzzles and piece together parts of a metaphoric jigsaw to find a way to get in to this tantalizing operation. It is this type of cloak and dagger approach that has the haunt community talking, and people are desperately trying to find a way to obtain an invitation.
With the ‘golden ticket’ clutched firmly in my hand, I went into this elusive affair, unknowing of what it was about and what to expect. In the days leading up to my visit I was sent emails asking me about my fears, as well as the request that I keep a dream journal. The evening before my jaunt I received a set of very specific instructions on where I was to go, where I was to park, and how I was to behave. Upon finding the location — which is quite the journey in itself — I was asked to sign a waiver, then was swiftly ushered onto an outdoor bed. Taking my shoes off and having a balaclava and headphones placed on my head as well as an LED headlamp, I lay on the bed and let the dream begin. You can catch a glimpse of my bizarre experience here:
I do not want to spoil the adventure for others, so I will do my best to relay in a reflective and vague summary: this experience is what I would call part performance art — part uplifting human experience, and part post-rock experimental music feast. In other words, it was an utterly beautiful evening that left me pondering life as well as leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of elation. Sound plays a huge part in this truly visceral and immersive experience, and as you walk through the pitch-black plastic-coated corridors, it is littered with dreamlike moments and visuals.
The beautiful score is in synch with your every move and moment, live-mixed with aplomb by the very talented Bryan Noonan. The shows creators, Jarred Laos and Nicholas Sherwin Jr must have really paid attention to their dreams and kept meticulous journals on their moments in REM sleep, as they have successfully succeeded in creating an experience that is like a beautiful dream that you have the good fortune of remembering. That’s not to say that this experience does not have its share of shocks and frights as well…
If you want to try your hand at getting a highly sought after invitation to THE DREAM, you can follow @whatwelearnedhere on Instagram , or visit their website.