The Cult
1 Skimobile Road
North Conway, NH

Mount Cranmore just became your worst nightmare. After years
of producing the traditional walk through haunt, The Ghoullog, creator Lance Davis debuts an extreme, personalized haunt on the top of the mountain. The Cult is an hour-long  haunted attraction. You must walk
through alone. You will encounter violent and sexual situations. You will be
touched. It’s 18+ and requires you to sign a waiver.

Is it Scary?

Creator Lance Davis says, “The Cult is the ultimate in terror. It’s not for everyone, just for
the die hard. It’s for those who want the true experience of ‘real life terror’
to test your fears.”

The Raven and Black Cat
: I was one breath away from giving up my safety card and going home. I’ve
never been so uncomfortable in a haunt. Well done. 

2012 Walk Through

This is the experience as I can remember:

It’s the end of September, but it feels like the dead of winter
as I wait to be let into The Cult. I’ve been to extreme haunts before, but I’ve
never been to one at the top of a mountain. The bone chilling weather is slowly stealing my confidence and I’m getting nervous about what I’m about to experience. A military man approaches the gate and brings us to a debriefing area. We give him our
personal items and are told to sit. The man asks if we have any problems with
the following: darkness, heights, claustrophobia, eels, rats, bugs, needles,
being fully submerged in water… what the hell am I getting myself into?

given a red card on a lanyard. If we decide the experience is too much, we can give
up our “safety pass” and the experience will be over. One by one we’re asked to
walk towards the chair lift and follow the path. I board the chairlift and attempt
to prepare myself for the long, cold ride. The anticipation is killer. It feels
like the chair is moving at 2mph, did I mention I’m freezing?! It’s 24 degrees
out and all I can think about is how awful it will be to ride back down the
lift after being fully submerged in water. They won’t really do that, right?

I finally reach the top and stumble off the lift. I gaze to
the right- at the end of a dirt path there is a dimly lit cabin. I realize
someone is calling my name and hurry towards the front porch. I’m blinded by a
flashlight shining in my face. A man asks if I’ve ever done anything like this
before, and I say, “Yes.” Immediately I’m reprimanded for replying. I’m only
allowed to answer if the haunter says, ‘speak.’ Good to know. He shoves me into
a booth and faces me towards the wall. Headphones are placed on my head. “Don’t.
Fucking. Move.”  I can tell that there
are others in the booths next to me because every few minutes he’ll scream at
someone else to stop moving or drag someone inside.

After what seems like
eternity, the headphones are yanked off my skull and I’m being pushed into the
cabin. A doctor is in the entryway. He asks, “How much do you weigh?” When I
tell him he asks, “Are you lying?” I shake my head as he grabs a vial. He opens
my mouth and shoots liquid into it. Instantly, a bag is over my head and I’m
swept off my feet. I’m being carried completely perpendicular to the ground.
The attacker carries me outside and slams me up against a wall. My legs are
spread uncomfortably wide, and a man tells me not to move. I freeze, listening
for any signs of my torturer. Suddenly, he presses his entire body into mine –
so hard that all the breath is squeezed from my lungs. My heart begins to
pound. I’m finally released and placed on a chair. Construction ear muffs are thrust
on my head. I hear the sloshing of water. Suddenly I’m being sprayed and my
gloves are soaked. I wait. When it seems my attacker has disappeared, I
experience a terrifyingly loud thud as someone smacks the earmuffs.

The earmuffs and bag are removed and I’m being forced back
inside.  A girl says, “follow the string.”
I’m shoved forward to follow it through a tunnel and into a different medical
office. Straight ahead a television plays static. To my right is a table with
medical instruments, urine and blood samples. The doctor asks me to take a
seat. A camera is pointed towards my chair- I’m being filmed. He pours
something into a Dixie cup and says, “Drink.” It’s warm, salty and utterly
disgusting. My gaze wanders towards the urine samples as I gag.  I hear the snapping of latex gloves; he opens
my mouth and uses his fingers to poke and prod at my gums. Soggy cotton balls are
shoved into each side of my mouth. A plastic bag is placed over my head. The
light of the camera combined with the fog from my breath makes it impossible to
see what he’s doing. I feel my sleeve being lifted and a slight pinch on my
arm. Blood is smeared across the plastic bag and my arm is bandaged. The doctor
whispers, “Whatever he says, whatever he does – Don’t tell him where I put it!”
He asks me to pick a number, I choose two. He removes the bag and shoves me
through the second door in the hallway.

 I wait in the small,
dark space hoping my eyes will adjust to the darkness. I feel someone approach
me from behind. They begin to gently caress me, getting closer, smelling my
hair, my neck. I’m shoved out another door and into an S&M chamber. Death
metal is blasting. Another victim is handcuffed to a pole in the corner with a
bag over his head. My captor is a shirtless man wearing an S&M dog mask,
with a collar and a leash. I’m thrown onto a dirty bed and my attacker crawls
on top of me. He tells me there’s two ways to survive, “Give up your card or
fuck the devil.”  He asks, “Where did they
hide it?” My silence causes him to search my body. He gives up and pulls a bag
over my head.  I feel him bind my wrists,
the cuffs are looped through a ring over the bed. He whispers, “Are you afraid
of bugs?” I shake my head no, hoping that might be a deterrent to what torture
he has in store for me. “You’re going to enjoy this.” The bag is lifted off of
me and my captor is holding a cage of cockroaches. He grabs one and thrusts it
towards my face. I close my eyes and the hood is pulled back over my head. My
shoe and sock are removed. I’m immediately aware of the cockroach crawling up
and down my leg. Fuuuuuck. I’m freaking out, and trying to keep it together. I
begin to breathe when he finally removes the bug. My hood is pulled up, and he
asks for my card again. I shake my head no and the hood is immediately pulled back
on. This time the cockroach is placed under the hood! It’s crawling on my neck.
I lose it. Expletives are erupting from my mouth. My torturer reminds me that
speaking is not permitted and rips a band aid off his nipple and places it on
my mouth to emphasize the point. I switch tactics. Remaining as still as I can
actually seems to work! He removes the cockroach and starts to untie me. I’m
lifted off the bed and pushed up against a wall. The hood is removed and I see a tunnel. Inside is my boot and sock. I crawl in put them on and enter
into a kitchen scene.

A 50’s style housewife is setting up for a tea party.
Children’s drawings decorate the walls. She keeps trying to have a conversation
with me but I can’t speak, so the scene seems pointless. She announces that
it’s time for tea, so we pretend to sip tea out of demitasse cups. She asks
if I’d like milk and cookies. I nod and she brings out a plate of cookies
covered in fake cockroaches. It’s a completely lame attempt after the real
cockroaches in the last room. Suddenly a man appears with a syringe of milk. He
throws a bag over my head, lifts my sleeve and I feel a pinch as I’m given my
‘shot’ of milk.

I’m ushered into a dark room. The hood is removed and a
flashlight shines on a handwritten note. It says,          

Find the Bowl

 2. Get the Key

 3. Unlock the Door”

I love this! I confirm that I understand and the light goes
out. I drop to my hands and knees and start searching for a key. The floor is
covered in dirt. I run into a person who yells, “wrong way!” I turn and place
my hand on something small, hairy and mouse-like. Finally, I find the bowl.
It’s filled with fake worms. As soon as I get my fingers on the key, someone
yanks it out of my hand and shoves me through the door.

A girl opens 2 trap doors and leads me into an underground
coffin. As I crawl inside, I glimpse fake spiders. The doors are slammed shut
and I’m left in the dark to ponder if there are any real spiders inside with
me.  Just in case, I hold my head above
the ground. I’m not sure why I think that will help me, but if feels like the
right thing to do. A few minutes later there’s a loud banging from underneath
the coffin floor. I feel the coffin rolling and I emerge in a different room. A
girl pulls me out and tells me to get on the floor and crawl over to a chair. There’s
a table with a telephone and a few objects under a sheet. They ask for my pass,
and when I refuse they say, “Then we’ll have to mark you.” The sheet is rolled
back to reveal a machete, a blowtorch and a branding iron. The girl lights the
blowtorch and begins to heat up the iron. The guy grabs my neck and asks if I’m
sure I want to go through with it. I nod. As the iron approaches, a bag is
pulled over my head and what feels like a staple gun is pushed up against my
neck. The guy whispers, “If you ever tell anyone what happened here, we’ll find
you and kill you.” I’m pushed into the freezing air. The hood is ripped off my
head and the man shouts, “Get off my mountain! GO!” I stumble back toward the
chairlift to ride back down to safety…and the bar. 

What We Loved

The Cult skillfully builds anticipation before the haunt begins. Having a list of possible scenarios that I had to agree to (both
on the waiver and verbally) really had my imagination going. I spent almost the
entire chair lift ride imagining how terrible it will be if I had to ride back
down after being fully submerged in water…with eels. I love it when I’m given a
task in a haunt. Having to find the key was challenging and interrupting me before
I completed all the tasks made the startle scare more effective. I don’t think
I’ve ever had to ingest anything for a haunt. Even though I saw the urine samples
on the table, it never occurred to me that the Dixie cup would be filled with a
warm, salty, DISGUSTING beverage. It was both shocking and disturbing. The
cockroaches were TERRIFYING. I’m not even really afraid of bugs, but I
definitely don’t want them crawling on me. I loved that I was given battle
wounds; the staple gun was dipped in ink, leaving a black mark on my neck, and
the ‘injection site’ was covered with a ‘bloody’ bandage.   

What Could Be Better

I liked the idea of the hidden medical implant and keeping
it a secret, but certain scenes – particularly the 1950’s housewife scene – muddled
the plot. Be clear about why we’re going through the experience, it grounds all
the craziness in reality. In the beginning, there should be music/static in the
headphones to block out outside noises. I could hear what was happening with
other victims and as a result knew what to expect. I loved the idea of ‘marking
us’ with a branding iron, and the blowtorch was definitely intimidating, but as
soon as the staple gun touched my neck it was clear I wasn’t being burned. Use
ice to make the gun so cold that it feels hot on the skin. I think there was a
missed startle scare opportunity: after you take the chair lift back down you
have to walk through a dark field back to the haunt area and it would be the
perfect moment for one final scare after victims think the experience is over.

Final Thoughts

The setting is terrifying, the actors are committed and the
scares are uniquely disturbing. If you’re looking for an extreme haunted
experience, The Cult is everything you’ve been waiting for.

The Cult 2012 Season

September 28 – October 28

Ticket Information

General Admission: $30.00

Age Requirements

No one under 18 permitted and you must walk through alone.

2013 Update

Cranmore Mountain Resort chose not to bring back The Cult for the 2013 season. Ask The Ghoullog Creators to bring back The Cult in 2014!

Contact them now on Facebook or Twitter

Additional Information

A Connoisseur's Compendium of Haunted House Reviews, Victorian Horror, and All Things Dark and Macabre.