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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

DC’s ostensibly favorite International haunted house attractions of Halloween season 2020 *

* (Halloween countdown post #7)

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Horrorland (Barcelona, Spain)
‘Horrorland, the “first scream park in southern Europe,” has announced it will open its second season on October 4 with eight new attractions -double the original number-, two new multipurpose areas equipped with the latest technology, and an extra 10,500 square meters. The horror theme park located in Cercs, in the Berguedà county in central Catalonia, will also expand its staff numbers from 140 to 170 employees, and this year will stay open for an extra 18 days, until November 16. The theme park opened to great expectation for the first time in October 2017, selling out its initial round of 22,000 entrance tickets and attracting attention from over 30 media outlets, including Reuters and CNN, who went to cover its opening. In fact, such was Horrorland’s success last year that the lease to use the premises was extended until 2022, and it also won a leading prize for theme parks, the PAC awards, which recognized the initiative as “the best innovation for Spanish theme parks in 2018.”‘

 

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Halloween at Frankenstein’s Castle (Darmstadt, Germany)
‘Darkness you can feel, darkness that will creep inside you. Those who want to see how the real world and the twilight world merge with each other should see Burg Frankenstein. The only Halloween in a 1000 year-old castle ruin. 12 scare zones that will strain your nerves. Over 100 creatures are lurking on the site. Cold sweat and adrenaline turn the visit into a physical experience for you. The newly conceived Halloween party at Burg Frankenstein is scary, eerie and even more ingenious, and captivates brave guests under its spine-chilling spell. Shows and ghoulish action that lets your blood run cold test the nerves of the visitors. The cold sweat of fear is in the air, adrenalin races through your body – not for the faint-hearted – and yet the ultimate Halloween party thrill.’

 

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Lost Souls Alley (Kraków, Poland)
‘We turn your worst nightmares into reality. We provide a brand new meaning of fear. The world you’re entering through an old scratched door is filled with your worst fears that await you in every dark corner of our haunted floor. It’s a road full of darkness, challenges, dilemmas and sacrafices. We blur the border between reality and fiction, and all of that because you wished so.

‘The Lost Souls Alley, founded in 2013, is the first interactive haunted attraction in Poland. Choose one of the versions of the show and find out if you can pass the challenge. On your way you will face fear, fight for survival, doubt and even pain and physical violence (according to chosen version of the show).’

 

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King Queen @ Le Manoir de Paris (Paris, France)
‘Bienvenue dans la dangereuse Panam City, ville de tous les excès. Ici, aucun justicier masqué pour vous protéger. Vous êtes seul et sans issue face à la menace ! Depuis quelques temps, un nouveau poison se répand dans la ville et s’infiltre en vous pour libérer vos pires instincts. Qui se cache derrière ce venin fatal ? Les habitants sont terrifiés. Seul indice, une signature omniprésente, « KQ ». Vous sentez que vous perdez vos repères ? La folie commence à vous gagner ? Il semblerait que la mutation est déjà en marche et que vous soyez la prochaine victime !’

 

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The Manoir Maudit (Laval-Sur-Vologne, France)
‘The Manoir Maudit is a unique place, an El Dorado for thrill seekers! Immerse yourself in this huge interactive haunted house of over 1000 m², the only one in FRANCE to have both a café restaurant and a shop (masks, make-up, decoration, esotericism …). A team of experienced actors, made up and costumed like the characters of the best horror films, draws visitors into a whirlwind of fright. The house has 20 richly decorated thematic rooms, equipped with animatronics and special effects.’

 

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Nightmare in Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)
‘NIGHTMARE IN BUDAPEST” IS AN INTERACTIVE HORROR THEATRE, OR RATHER A JOURNEY INTO THE REALM OF DARKNESS IN THE STYLE OF THE AMERICAN HAUNTED HOUSE AND MAGIC CASTLE RIDE. OUR AIM IS TO CREATE A TERRIFYING, ADRENALINE-FUELLED, SPECTACULAR AND THRILLING RIDE, WHICH WILL LEAVE OUR BRAVE VISITORS, BETWEEN THE AGES OF 14 AND 99, WITH A LASTING MEMORY. Our “stark raving” performers await our thrill-seeking, fear-hungry visitors in an environment of unique sets and props over 400 square metres (25-30 mins), with special sound and light effects. Are you brave enough to enter and face your fears?’

 

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Horror Clinic (Arnhem, Holland)
‘Een virus verspreid zich over de wereld. Maar wij hebben een anti vaccin… En jij bent ons proefkonijn… Zuster Annica is klaar voor de volgende groep proefkonijnen. Eindelijk zijn ze met het vaccin bij het moment dat het op mensen getest kan en mag worden. Door het kopen van een ticket ben je verzekerd van een doorloop door het testlab richting de ruimte waar je het vaccin krijgt. Probeer het mortuarium maar even over te slaan.. deze proefkonijnen hebben het niet gehaald….’

 

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Terror Mall (Wigan, UK)
‘Exciting news… Terror-Mall returns in a Covid safe environment. Where could possibly be safer than “The Infirmary”??? In this new dystopian future following “The Diesease”, all subjects must be processed to find their place in this new society. Will you be fit for purpose??? Maybe you will end up on the chopping block!!! Welcome to the Infirmary. The Doctor is waiting.’

 

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Sessions House … of Horrors (Spalding, Lincolnshire, UK)
‘For one week only, The Sessions House is transformed. Haunted rooms and terrifying scenes will test your nerve as you travel through the house and grounds unguided in groups of 6. The cells are plagued with tormented souls and the archive tower has been abandoned as people have ventured up and never returned. Actors with the sole desire to haunt your memories, light & sound FX designed to create hair-raising moments and a setting which has lived through the dark times of modern history will combine to give you a uniquely unforgettable experience. The Sessions House of Horrors is open from Monday 26th – Saturday 31st October.’

 

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Wailibi Belgium Halloween (Wavre, Belgium)
👿 9 MAISONS HANTÉES :
‘▶🆕 The House of Silent Jill 📖 Croyez-vous aux phénomènes paranormaux ? Si c’est non et que vous pénétrez dans cette maison, vous risquez fort de changer d’avis… et de voir le monde sous un autre œil ! Jill Vandermeulen, présentatrice de RTL TVI, mais aussi youtubeuse réputée avec sa chaîne Silent Jill, décline son concept digital dans le parc en créant une maison qui offrira une expérience inédite à ceux qui n’ont pas froid dans le dos. Venez-y si passer des nuits blanches ne vous fait pas peur…

‘▶🆕 Nagulai (dans le thème d’Exotic World) 📖 Testez votre résistance physique dans cette nouvelle maison hantée où erre une princesse indienne qui fut jetée dans un donjon pour être tombée enceinte d’un homme autre que le sultan fou amoureux d’elle. Dans ce puit froid et noir, elle est morte dans des conditions extrêmes, mangée par des corbeaux… L’histoire ne s’arrête pas là, car, selon une légende indienne, toute femme qui passe dans l’au-delà de façon non-naturelle revient sous une apparence effrayante, capable de tourmenter les âmes sensibles. Et Nagulai est assoiffée de vengeance… Qui osera franchir les portes de la vieille ville sur laquelle elle a jeté sa malédiction ? Claustrophobes s’abstenir…

‘▶🆕 The Curse of Amun (Sûrement derrière Toutankhamon comme Virus Z1 anciennement) 📖 Dans les musées, une fois la nuit tombée, il se passe des choses terrifiantes, c’est bien connu. Dans celui-ci, qui se consacre à l’art égyptien ancien, les événements qui s’y déroulent terrassent les visiteurs. Mais quelle est cette malédiction ? Les momies sont-elles possédées ? Quelles créatures étranges s’y faufilent dans les allées ? Si vous visitez le lieu, sachez que vous pourrez ne jamais en sortir, et si, par bonheur, vous en échappiez, vous pourriez connaître cauchemar sur cauchemar à jamais.’

▶ Bloc H
▶ Mine Blast
▶ Quarantine
▶ Panic House 4D (Cinéma 4D)
▶ Blood Bar (Bar)
▶🆕 Trick Or Treat (Enfant)

😨 6 ZONES EFFRAYANTES :
▶🆕 Karma World
▶🆕 Exotic World
▶🆕 Fun World
▶ District H
▶ Metamorphobia
▶ The Circus

 

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Prague Fear House (Prague, Czech Republic)
‘Fear House in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, had been high on my list for some time – and specifically their solo Hardcore tour. Several extreme-haunt-minded friends had wholeheartedly recommended the place, while urging me not to underestimate the intensity. Online, I found a number of reviews, showing off bruises and strongly telling people to avoid the place. Still – I thought “How bad can it be?..” Fear House is a horror bar and haunted house smack in the middle of the center of Prague, an area that attracts hordes of visitors and sightseers. The bar is delightfully tacky, with dark, gothic interiors, spooky lighting, and gooey candy eyeballs garnishing tiki cocktail mugs. Clearly, a tourist trap, and definitely not an ultraviolent extreme haunt hiding in plain sight.

‘…well. About half an hour after signing a waiver, I was dragged back into the bar, soaked in fake blood. Half of my tongue was numb, and parts of my face felt like the blood might not all be fake. Conversations of people casually having a drink fell silent, as I was presented at my table, trapped in a headlock by a beastly butcher and subsequently dragged away again into the bathrooms. A few minutes later, still an absolute mess, I had trouble trying to relay my experience. Partly because I was seriously taken aback by what had just went down, and had no idea where to start. Partly because of a tongue that was still slowly coming back to life, leaving me to lisp my way through my incoherent story. I have swam a fair bit in the full contact haunt waters, and some of those waters had been pretty deep – I can assure you, that hardcore tour was no joke. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this shook.’

 

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Insomnia Haunted House (Kyiv, Ukraine)
‘INSOMNIA Haunted House is not a quest, it is a new attraction, a realistic show in which you become the main actors of a horror movie in reality. Your main task – to find the way from each room in complete darkness, holding one flashlight at all. This is not a quest … this is the reality that has prepared you a mission for survival. A new format of the show, something that was never seen before, tortures and psychological pressure will be a real trial! You’ve never been so close to your phobias! Only for people with strong nerves!’

 

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Kowagarasetai Haunted House (Tokyo, Japan)
‘Kowagarasetai is the Japanese haunted house and horror event production company that is behind the first-ever drive-in haunted house. Located in a big garage in Minato-ku, Tokyo, the experience involves the guests playing a ghost story through the car radio. Of course, in order to make the experience even more lively, ghosts and zombies jump out at the vehicle randomly. Kenta Iwana, Kowagarasetai’s founder, said he knew the good-old traditional house had to be a thing of the past amid the pandemic. He said, “When I read that drive-through theaters were making a comeback, it was my ‘aha’ moment.” The concept is rather simple, you drive your personal car into the parking garage in a nondescript building and the company makes you feel like you’re stuck in a car during a zombie outbreak for $75. If you don’t have a car, you still can enjoy the experience by the vehicle provided by Kowagarasetai for $85.’

 

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Obaken Haunted House (Tokyo, Japan)
‘As the name implies, Six Exits is a series of six rooms, each with a puzzle that must be cleared in order to advance to the next. All the while, you’re assailed by bone-chilling sights and sounds, which won’t do much to aid you concentration. The very first puzzle we faced also required a bit of fine motor skills, which can be pretty difficult to utilize when you’re trembling with fear. Each room has a time limit, and if you go over, that’s the end of your game. Embarrassingly, we couldn’t even crack the first puzzle in the allotted time. Thankfully, though, Obaken has a continue system (although technically it’s the much more violent-sounding “revenge” system). Adult admission costs 800 yen (US$7.90), while high schoolers get in for 700 and younger kids for 600. If you run out of time, though, you can continue from where you left off for an additional 200 yen. Since we weren’t ready to go home with our tail between our legs, we decided to give the first puzzle another crack. This time we cleared it and then got through the second room, too, before finally getting stumped in room three. Aside from the continues, another video game-style touch is the option to request fewer ghosts before starting, in case you’re more in the mood for a light scare than full-on trauma. Yoshizawa tells us the goal of Obaken is “to let people feel like what it’s like to be the main character in a horror movie.” With up to 200 customers a day coming on weekends, that’s a pretty big cast, but the haunted house definitely delivers on its promise, right down to the high mortality rate of its would-be heroes. Only about five percent of players clear the entire game, and as of yet, no one has done it without continuing.’

 

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Everland Horror Maze (Seoul, South Korea)
‘By far the most terrifying and spine-chilling experience is the Horror Maze. You pay 5,000 KRW to walk in the dark in groups of four to six and bump into many different types of ghosts and ghouls that’ll have you letting out blood-curdling screams, as you try and find your way out. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.’

 

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Hysteria Haunted Attraction (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
‘Visit Hysteria, Dubai’s first extreme haunted attraction, located in the Dubai Mall. The scene: a 15-room mansion where ghouls and other ghastly creatures roam the halls in search of innocent souls to torture. Walk through dimly-lit rooms and dark corridors, and appreciate horror film quality sets and makeup artistry. Themes many change with the seasons.’

 

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Hotel Psycho (Vienna, Austria)
‘The somewhat different ghost train! In the dark, heroes and those who are still trying to become one, are trying to make their way across the “Corridors of Horror”. But watch out – youll need strong nerves as nobody knows where the scary road is leading! Zombies and even worse monsters are lurking behind blind bends and squeaky doors. Some “hero” has already turned as pale as clay and left the dark sheepishly… So, who will be brave enough and have the courage to face all these challenges until the end?’

 

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Fright Nights at Hedgend Maze (Melbourne, Australia)
‘As dusk falls on Halloween night, you are invited to make your way through Hedgend Maze with only a lantern to light your way. Whilst in the maze, you will encounter stumbling, ravenously hungry, flesh-eating zombies and their only goal is to eat you! Be advised that Fright Night is claustrophobic, intense, extreme, disturbing, vulgar, self-depricating and aggressive. Fright Night may use adult language, fog, strobe lighting, and small spaces. It is not recommended that the following people attend this attraction: people with medical disorders, women who are pregnant, people who have epilepsy, people who are easily offended, people who are claustrophobic or suffer from any other phobia.’

 

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Spookers (Kingseat, South Auckland, New Zealand)
‘Spookers consists of four themed attractions – Haunted House, The Woods, Disturbia and The Fog. Each attraction is theatrically themed with realistic props, lights and sound. Our terrifying monsters will hide in the shadows, chase you with a chainsaw and make you scream bloody murder. Sets and rooms are regularly updated and refreshed as new scare ideas are integrated into the experience. Step into Spookers and become engulfed by darkness, fear and heart-pounding terror. Spookers is an award-winning experience of laughter and unbelievable horror. Don’t be fooled – you are not safe until you manage to escape. Try your luck at running past these frightening creatures of the dead, as you navigate your way through the number one Haunted Attraction in the Southern Hemisphere.’

 

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Maze of Fear (Moscow, Russia)
‘Scary sounds, shaky lights, unpredictable traps and the atmosphere of Hollywood horror movies – the darkness of Maze of Fear catacombs is broken now and then by the screams of horrified yet happy visitors. Do you have the guts to face your fears?’

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ‘Delicacy’ is a nice descriptive. Everyone, Mr. Ehrenstein’s long-running home sale continues, and he is still greatly in need of the income it could generate. If you’d like to help out a stellar guy and help yourself out in the process, you can see some of the great items he has on offer by returning to yesterday’s post here and scrolling down into the heart of the Commenting Arena. Thank you. ** Misanthrope, Hey, G. Are you the Hulk? I like the mental image of you easily crossing the Atlantic to Europe via giant leaps from one cargo ship to another cargo ship. Yeah, maybe not the green part though. Flesh coloured makeup? But, in all seriousness, how did the scan go? Hooray, you’re going to do a Halloween haunt thing! Cornstalkers, huh, let me see if I can get a quick look at it. Hold on. Ah. ‘Cornstalkers Trail of Terror’, yes. Looks good, looks fun. I want a full review afterwards. Don’t forget. ** Brian O’Connell, Hi, Brian. Yeah, it takes a whole lot of laborious searching to find escorts like that since 90% of them just write that they have big cocks and tight asses and are nice guys, but it does seem to be worth the scouring. Glad they entertained you. You have so many great things to discover ahead of you. Kind of envious, although there does seem to be a never ending string of exciting discoveries out there. Yes, about Greece. Some people say it’s because there are a lot of refugees there, but how that  is a problem, especially since Greece seems to crowd them together in scummy camps on islands’ remotest parts, is beyond me. Racism is the weirdest thing ever. Well, I obviously highly encourage you to hit that corn maze, dumpy or not. Granted, I love amateurishness, but some of the best haunts I’ve been to were the ones that tried to do a lot with a little. Whatever good vibes I’ve got are coming your way as we speak. Weekend plans of note or excitement? ** Daniel, Oh, my god, ha ha, there you are. And it’s a fucking gif! Thank you, man. That’s awesome. Oh, shit, so sorry about the being laid off status. That you are far, far from alone amongst my chums is no comfort, obviously. I can’t even imagine: the disorder. Same even in sunny, laid back LA, say my SoCal friends. Ugh. Hugely onwards and upwards. Thanks again, Daniel, always a joy. ** Bill, Hi, B. Yeah, that was a pleasant surprise. People here are very pissed off about the curfew, but they’ll just have a long debates about it and follow the rules. That’s kind of the French way. It doesn’t hugely effect me since my bedtime is 10:30 pm most of the time, although, as I think I said, a lot of very cool events have been scuttled. Heat wave in SF again? That is spooky. I don’t believe I’ve seen that ‘Skin’ film before. Huh. Thanks a lot. ** Steve Erickson, My only knowledge of Ben Shapiro was an interview he did with Christine Amanpour, and what a creep. Interesting about ‘Possessor’. I wasn’t expecting much. I think it’s even in theatres here. If so, I’ll hit a matinee. Oh, did you see the ‘Chicago 7’ movie? Any good, if so? It’s playing here, and I don’t remember reading anything good about it, but that trial and those guys were big to me when I was a teenager, and so there’s a certain inherent allure. The Greek director you’re referring to is Nico Papatakis. I should actually a post about him, come to think of it. ** Okay. Today I turn my Halloween haunt curator side to the world at large and offer those of you around the globe who seek scary entertainment — and those of you in North America who want to know how the rest of us do haunted houses — some tips. Hope they help. See you tomorrow.


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10 Comments

  1. Haunted House attractions are imaginative and delightful. What I truly despise are these TV shows about allegedly haunted houses with teams of self-styled “experts” who act as if every distant squeak was a manifestations of the “paranormal.” Strange things sometimes happen in all sorts of places — and so what.
    Can’t speak for the French National Character re Covid restrictions but here in the U.S. the right has gone bonkers. To do anything for one’s fellow man — like wearing a mask — is anathema to these creeps.

  2. Dennis, Yes, that’s the one, the Trail of Terror. Meant to link it yesterday and forgot. 😮

    Should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

    Unfortunately, I’m not the Hulk. :'( But the scan did go well. Painless, noiseless. They inject you with a radioactive isotope and then with Lasix, a diuretic. You end up pissing like a racehorse for the rest of the day. I’ll be picking up the disc Monday to take in to my doctor on November 4.

    You’ll get a full report, yes. I WON’T forget that, hahaha.

  3. Hey Dennis. Read Candy over the last two days and it was a hoot. Very funny and raunchy. The ridiculous bounding from scene to scene reminded me of Myra Breckinridge.
    Have a great weekend. – Ian

  4. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

    I have a framed “Last Temptation of Christ” poster signed by Marty going fo $175.00

  5. I can’t say I’m up for another zombie apocalypse haunted house, but I’d totally check out the Hedgend Maze event. Some of those Obaken shots look like outtakes from the movie “House”, haha.

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Possessor, but it’s not viewable out here yet, argh. The recent dark movies I’ve seen have been disappointments (The Antenna, Carmilla).

    Bill

  6. Interesting to see all the local variations on the Haunted House, and it’s good that the UK is represented by a couple here. I do think the dystopian sci-fi angle of that Wigan attraction is a most compelling backstory too. I think of Wigan as being a sad old place these days, what with a football team in financial trouble and a large local Brexit vote. It’s good that their creativity can still win out somehow.

  7. Hi Dennis,

    Sounds like an incredible list of artists, between those 3 that’s already huge. Well deserved on yr end though, obviously reflective of yr skills! Fingers crossed NYU comes through with the goods when the time comes. I really was laughing imagining Thurston reading it, from what I know of him he’d relish getting to play a fictionalised version of himself. Sounds really trippy to watch happen. I can also only imagine what kinda things John Waters gets offered – I recently learned that he has a cameo in an Alvin and the Chipmunks film and makes a joke about Pink Flamingos? Really confounding to think about that.

    Hope you enjoy the album – obviously no problem if you don’t either though! Writing wise, I have experience doing art and film theory/criticism, but I’ve been moving towards fiction and trying to do more of that. I’ve been unemployed throughout COVID so I spent my time completing the first draft of a novel that’s like speculative body horror about cruising and film theory, so I’m hoping to try do something with that eventually. But I’m also just writing some short things too.

    Yeah I’m in Sydney, moved here recently and I really love it, though it’s starting to get hot here and it’s brutal in peak summer. It’s strangely relaxed here with the pandemic, like obviously gigs and stuff aren’t happening, but we have really low numbers and they’re all relatively contained. Bummer about the curfew for you, but based on Melbourne who just had hard lock-down it seems to do the job pretty well, so hopefully there’s some comfort in the relative success of that. I can’t say I know too much about Parisian pandemic measures, but I’m guessing it’s a lot better than the US? It sounds really nightmarish there, so I also hope it’s nice knowing yr not there, though also sorry for all yr friends/colleagues/family/etc stuck in the states.

    As always, sending my best.
    Gus

  8. I didn’t have access to TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 till it started airing on Netflix today. Aaron Sorkin is not a fave, but Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman is inspired casting.

    My life would be so much richer if I didn’t know who Ben Shapiro is.

    I got my glasses today, and now I’m dealing with the awkward adjustment to a new prescription.

    Scariest haunted house: the killer furries wielding chainsaws in Spain!

  9. Brian O’Connell

    October 17, 2020 at 6:19 am

    Hey, Dennis,

    More haunted houses, and just as impressive as the American ones. As I mentioned last time, I find these “extreme” ones fascinating and more than a little frightening. My eyes widened when reading about the Prague Fear House. Part of me wonders if it’s just a fiction to hype people, but those bruises look real. Crazy stuff happens in the world, I guess.

    There is an awful lot to discover. Half of the time I’m overwhelmed by all of the things I want to read and see and listen to and so on. I’m glad to know that that, at least, doesn’t run out. Indeed, this wonderful blog is living proof of that: that there’s something to discover every day. (Thanks again for all that.)

    Yeah, I don’t think the amount of refugees would quite explain it—it might be a contributing factor, but I don’t think the mere presence of refugees would facilitate such virulent hatred. I mean, I’ve been doing quite a lot of reading this year re: fascism and nationalism and all that, and I still don’t fully understand what causes these feelings in people. Like you said, it’s the strangest thing. (And one of the worst.)

    It was my younger brother’s seventeenth birthday today, so we’ll be celebrating that this weekend. Hopefully seeing a few people on Saturday (including, alas, a pretty heterosexual boy for whom I have ever-unresolved feelings; such are the melancholy follies of my youth, yadda yadda yadda), which will be nice. I actually think it’ll be a good weekend, better than usual—certainly more active than usual. I hope it goes well for you too. Have fun at the Parc Asterix!

  10. These are cool, I’d love to go to a haunted house/park/maze. I also think the Christian “hell houses” might be amusing. Out of these I think Sessions would be cool, kinda like Silent Hill.

    I sent my book to the outlook address I had, hopefully it was the right one.

    In case I’m not back here before then, Happy Halloween!

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