#Travel: Why screaming at Dubai’s only Haunted Hotel is good for you

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When was the last time you screamed, involuntarily? The type of screaming that shakes you to the core, leaves you breathless, and in a state of heightened awareness.

Inside the world’s largest indoor theme park, IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai, which covers an area in excess of 1.5 million square feet, a haunted hotel is nestled among the adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, thrill rides, Cartoon Network characters, MARVEL Super Heroes, and life-like dinosaurs.

The Haunted Hotel brings a surprising dose of horror to otherwise a family-friendly destination. Cautionary signs remind guests that they’re not allowed to touch the actors in the unique attraction as it is a criminal offense. But, why would I want to touch the actors?

“Flight or fight perhaps…”

I whispered into my friend’s ear as we entered The Haunted Hotel. At that point, I wasn’t scared. I was amused. That changed quite quickly.

The unique experience, which is rated 15-years-old and above, is one hundred per cent immersive. In The Haunted Hotel, the walk-through attraction doesn’t require anything mechanical to take you through. You need to count on your own legs and will to get to the end of the experience. Without giving too much away, live actors interfere with the guests as they walk through.

So here I was, gripping on to my companion’s arm like my life depended on it, standing in a room that resembled an old rickety elevator after a disfigured Bell Boy welcomed us, the floor shook, lights flickered, shrieks and other eerie sounds played faintly in the background, and it suddenly got cold as another door slid open. And then, just like that, we began to… scream. Well, mostly I did.

Running through dimly-lit rooms, perfectly outfitted like your imagination’s most haunted building, and full of actors screaming at the top of my lungs, I began to question my decision of volunteering to walk into The Haunted Hotel.

“It’s not real. You’re not real. It’s not real… YOU’RE not real…”

I chanted out loud in between intermittent screams. The more scared I got, the louder my chant.

SCREAMING IS GOOD FOR YOU

My initial experience with The Haunted Hotel was admittedly shocking. I was amazed at how immersive the experience was. From the actors, décor and design, sounds, lights, sickly stench and even special effects – everything about the hair-raising experience played with my mind.

Dare I say I left Dubai’s only haunted hotel with a heightened state of awareness, re-energized, and a sudden burst of creativity? For the following hours, I was continuously aware, conscious and alert. Entering The Haunted Hotel is like consciously going “mad” for ten minutes straight. If you have internal tension that has been accumulating or need to unload repressed emotions, a walk through The Haunted Hotel will safely, though horrifically, release all of this energy.

In fact scientists have found that screaming can be good for you. Screams activate the fear center of the brain by triggering heightened awareness, which often is required for meditation and stimulates creativity. According to this new research published in the journal Current Biology, screaming serves as a cautionary warning and induces heightened awareness for the screamer and listener to respond to their environment.

So if you’re feeling a bit stressed, in need of some inspiration, or even looking for some thrill, instead of booking a stay at one of Dubai’s glamourous hotels, a visit to The Haunted Hotel might be exactly what you need. One thing is for certain, you definitely won’t die from boredom with your new spine-tingling memories!

 

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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