An old school building in St. Albans may just be the scariest place in the U.S.
That's according to James Bonnett, 38, who claims Scareview Grave School has a haunted house he believes is the best in the land.
Like many haunted houses, Scareview has spiders, skeletons, blood and gore. However, the addition of chainsaws, exorcisms, caskets, clowns and nearly 70 actors will be sure to frighten almost everyone.
Bonnett is a firefighter for the West Side Volunteer Fire Department in St. Albans. The department owns the building that was formerly home to Fairview Elementary before it closed its doors in 2002. Each year, the department constructs a haunted house in the building and opens it up to the public.
"I've been to many haunted houses," Bonnett said. "Many of them only have one theme. The haunted house here has a different theme in each room. We're all not scared of the same thing so it was important for us to make sure there was something different in each room."
The VFD begins prepping for the haunted house in January. The set up typically begins in May with the help of dozens of students, some of which are seeking community service hours.
"All the work we do is on a volunteer basis," Bonnett said. "It's good to see youngsters come here rather than be out on the streets. Some of the middle-schoolers that volunteer their time come up with great ideas for the haunted house . . . some ideas are crazy but it's always good to hear what the kids are thinking."
Walk inside the haunted house and visitors will be read their rights and a list of house rules. Don't mind the dead man in the casket, he's just for show.
Once a group is formed, they will walk through the building, checking out each room. Be careful — zombies or other creepy things may pop out from behind walls or curtains.
"We have between four and eight actors in each room," Bonnett said. "They wear costumes and they could be located anywhere. They will jump out and scare people. There have been adults in their 40s that have run out of here."
The haunted house has many strobe lights and is quite noisy. Most of the noise comes from the chainsaw room.
That's right. Chainsaws are included in the haunted house. Scary, right?
"If people are scared of chainsaws, this may not be the place for them," Bonnett laughed. "We obviously do not use the blades on the chainsaw. Our actors will put the chainsaw right in your face and it looks real and is an instant scare, especially with all the strobe lights flashing."