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Ribble Valley Hallowe'en experience bosses defend attraction
7:00pm Saturday 19th October 2013 in News
ORGANISERS of a Halloween festival have hit back after a rape charity said it was ‘horrified’ by the sexually explicit nature of one attraction.
The Scare Kingdom Scream Park, at Hawkshaw Farm Park off the A59 in Clayton-le-Dale, includes an over-18s section called ‘Psychomanteum’, where visitors are velcro-strapped to a bed and later have a sex toy waved in their face.
The Rape Crisis charity called it ‘degrading and humiliating’, saying it preyed on a woman’s ‘deepest vulnerability and fear’.
But organisers said it was a ‘consensual scare experience’ and it was ‘ridiculous’ to suggest it was anything to do with rape.
A female Lancashire Telegraph reporter has visited the attraction, set inside an old Victorian correctional facility.
She said she was: * Told to sit in a wheel chair by a ‘raunchy horror nurse’ with a dead foetus wrapped around her neck.
* Shouted at by a caged man threatening to chase her, with ‘plenty of sexual innuendo’.
* Velcro-strapped to a hospital bed by a whispering man, who then loomed over her.
* Had a pillow case put over her head as a man wearing a thong uttered words ‘too rude to print’, before waving a sex toy over her face.
Jo Wood, a trustee of Rape Crisis, said: “I am absolutely horrified that anyone can find it okay to prey on a woman’s deepest vulnerability and fear in this way in the name of cheap thrills, for who exactly?
“This is not about Halloween - or scares - it is about humiliation. It errs on the dark side of scary - the secret and hidden world of sexual abuse under the cover of ‘fun’ and ‘just a laugh’.”
But organiser Jason Karl, chief creative executive of AtmosFEAR! Scare Entertainment, said: “This is a consensual scare experience which has absolutely no rape content whatsoever. To suggest as such is ridiculous, especially as to our knowledge, this person has not even seen the attraction.
“The content in no way ‘preys on women’s deepest vulnerability’ – it is a carefully devised experience designed to take people out of their comfort zone and scare them, which, according to the feedback, it does.”
Psychomanteum is an optional extra to the main attractions at the park, and costs £3.50. Those who enter have the content explained and sign a disclaimer beforehand, while also being given a ‘safe word’ to say if they want the experience to stop. The website warns guests they will be ‘shocked and sickened’.
Mr Karl said it involves two male and two female performers, and guests were never alone with one actor.
He said performers stands over the visitor on the bed, rather than ‘climb on top of’, adding: “We have had many positive reviews and feedback from guests, none of whom have complained of being offended by their experience.”
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