A few months back a cryptic press release was sent to many horror outlets announcing the upcoming “Tension Experience”. The release indicated that this was a kind of “haunted experience” which have grown wildly popular in big cities over the past several years, but it said very little else and gave no details of what the haunted experience would be. Just last week, a very select few were allowed to take part in the first ever Tension Experience.
Blumhouse.com is thrilled to have first hand testimony of the wild and creepy events that The Tension Experience is inflicting on the select participants. Industry editor, director, and horror buff Andrew Kasch tells us in his own words just how f’ed up and weird The Tension Experience has become for those involved!
Andrew Kasch: I’m kind of hesitant to write to you about my experiences, since this organization seems to know every move I make…
Last week, I received a cryptic e-mail from a group called the OOA Institute about something called The Tension Experience. I’m a sucker for these immersive haunts which have become really popular in Los Angeles…so I went to their ominous website where I eventually found an e-mail list to sign up for. Over the next day, I received several e-mails from OOA. They are some shadowy religious organization that promise true enlightenment. I uncovered some hidden messages in the content and eventually found a phone number hidden on their website. I dialed and was met with a friendly woman on the other end:
“Hello, OOA Institute.”
I tell her that I wish to be enlightened. She asks me a series of questions: “Are you over 18?…Are you religious?” and then takes my personal information. Then she schedules a live “consultation” with them for Friday. “Come alone,” she says.
Over the week, I receive a series of creepy anonymous phone calls. Some laughing. Music playing. I posted an announcement of my wife’s pregnancy on Facebook and a minute later, the phone rings and a creepy voice says “Congratulations!” and hangs up. The night before my consultation, a girl calls me: “This isn’t what you think it is! These people are not who they say they are! Do not let them take you into the Red Room!”
An hour before my consultation, they call me up and tell me where to drive. And this time, they don’t sound so friendly.
I wind up at a creepy isolated warehouse, nervous as all hell. I’m the only one there. A strange but kindly woman comes out of the building and gives me a waiver to sign. Then she takes me into the lobby and talks to me for several minutes about what potential I have. She tells me I’m an excellent candidate and talks to me about the senses. She sniffs me and says I smell like “Popcorn.” (Very appropo). The whole time, a silent secret-service-looking guy sits next to me and makes a series of weird grunt noises.
They make me shut off my cell phone and lead me inside the warehouse. It’s almost completely empty save for a table with some objects and two chairs in the middle. I sit down and the security man watches me for several minutes. Suddenly, the office door in the back flies open. I see a young girl run out crying. From a distance, I can tell that the room is RED!
An intimidating older gentlemen comes out of the room and introduces himself. We talk for several minutes and he asks me a series of random questions, half of which I can’t recall due to my nerves. This all feels incredibly strange. He snaps a polaroid of me and writes the word “MIND” on it and places it on the table. He tells me to empty all my possessions out. Then he tells me to go over to a dry-erase board and write the one thing on the table I can’t live without. Thinking about all the stuff I placed on the table, I write “Keys” since they’re the one thing I need to escape if things get crazy. The man suddenly becomes furious. “Of all the things you chose, it was something material…when it was your mind that you can’t live without! You worthless piece of shit!”
Of course! I should’ve known better. He tears into me and tells me to collect my things and leave. I walk out feeling like I did at the end of every nervous job interview I ever failed.
In the parking lot, the crying girl is in hysterics and arguing with the strange woman from earlier. She runs directly up to me: “Can you give me a ride out of here? This is too FUCKED UP!” We jump in my car and I leave the event with her as she cries and calls her friend to come get her.
“Just pull over and let me out,” she cries, “This is all too fucked!”
As she jumps out of my car, I stop her. “Wait, what did you see in the Red Room?”
“They showed me a picture of you!” she says and slams the car door.
Now is where things get REALLY weird….
Hours later, I hear from several friends who went through their consultations. And every single one of them has a completely different experience. All of them are veteran haunt junkies and all come out excited and paranoid. When I ask each of them if they saw a girl leave the event, they say “No.”
Now I’m completely freaked out. Was that girl an actress in the show? Or was that for real? I can’t even tell where this experience begins and ends anymore. I’m completely paranoid.
So I do something drastic: I decide to drive back and stakeout the event. I need to know if this girl was part of the show or a real frightened “candidate.”
I park across the street from the warehouse and watch. I see another candidate come out of the warehouse, get into his car and leave. No girl.
Suddenly, a man in a dark suit leaves the office. And he starts walking across the street…TOWARDS MY CAR! They know I’m here!!!
I freak out and drive away. And then my phone rings. It’s clearly the man who “interviewed” me earlier: “Andrew, Andrew… Our relationship is based on trust.” *click*
It’s clear by now that the OOA knows my every move.
That night, I get another phone call from them. They want to know what the girl in the car told me. I’m hesitant, but I tell them what happened. And they hang up.
This concludes what The Tension Experience calls “the preface” of my story. Over the weekend, they send me another e-mail asking me if I want to continue to “Chapter One.” And I do. God help me.
I’ll say this much: I’ve done a lot of haunts and immersive theater events. But this is the first one that has me looking over my shoulder. I have no idea who is watching me and who is in on it. And no idea what will happen to me in the time leading up to April 1st, a date which is displayed prominently on their website. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next.
EDIT: While typing out this e-mail, I got an anonymous call: “They are watching you! They are everywhere! Watch out for the blue car!”
I look out my window just in time to see a blue car drive off across the street. And I work at a giant studio. How did they know where my office was?
I’ve officially gone down the rabbit hole…