My roommate and I were originally going to head toward Napa, and go wine tasting. I don’t usually have days off, these days. But traffic was bad, so we decided to turn back. Now, both of us are writers. My roommate is a horror writer and I’m more fantasy/sci-fi, dabbling in horror occasionally. So when we saw the signs for this “fear farm”, off the road near Davis, past a farm stand, we were intrigued. I took the road that would lead us there, a small dirt path. The place was abandoned.
When we first arrived, we saw the Fear Farm sign, hanging over some huge metal storage crates, and an old ice cream truck parked out front. There didn’t appear to be anyone around. This looked like the kind of place that Stephen King would write about. Children of the Corn came to mind, immediately. The ice cream truck was interesting because of the detail – fake doughnuts glued onto the hood, a clown tie hanging from the rear-view mirror, a couch inside that looked like a mouth. It was a writer’s paradise.
“Let’s look around and take some photos,” I said. So we did look around and take some photos, spotting a darkened building with messy paint on it, declaring it to be the “Blackout”. We ventured in, and everything was painted black – it was a twisted labyrinth of narrow corridors, and the fear we felt was real, because we didn’t know if there was perhaps someone hiding out in there, or not. We used the flashlight function on my phone and I ventured forth. But eventually my roommate got freaked out, and we turned back and left the Blackout.
We saw trucks with seats that looked ready to take passengers for hay rides. We saw old carnival booths, and painted signs, and in one area, lots of insulation made to look like cotton candy. We saw ticket booths with bars.
Eventually, we conquered our fear of what might be lurking in the metal storage crates, and took a look inside. In one, we saw a crucified skeleton. In another, we saw a huge pile of props, including what looked like the fake head of a vampire.
What became apparent, was that at one time, someone must have put a lot of work into all this. But now, it was in a sad state of disrepair and badly needed maintenance, with weeds everywhere, signs falling to the ground, and a lonely seat belt swinging in the wind, jolting us as it hit against the railing of one of the trucks.
At any rate, I’m sure we wouldn’t have had this much fun, or gotten this much inspiration for our writings, had we merely gone to Napa.
Leslie D. Soule’s words and photos