On Saturday, September 30, the countdown clock finally reached zero, as fans, freaks, and curious onlookers gathered at the doors of the former Bally’s gym on Military Trail in Boca Raton, just south of Glades Road, to experience the thrill that is Enigma Haunt. Celebrating their sixth year as a professional haunt, the family run attraction has gone to new heights to amp up the fear for 2017.
This year, as last, the event consists of three haunted mazes; Pandemic, Into Oblivion and Realms of Terror. Although the names remain the same as 2016, the haunt has been rehashed to incorporate some with new and exciting technology, as well as old fashioned freakiness.
Below, each haunt is rated based on its level of theming, and general scare factor. The ranking is based on a scale of 1-10.
Haunts (descriptions courtesy of EnigmaHaunt.com)
- PANDEMIC : From Touring the Everglades, last surviving podcast as of August 5, 2016:“The last update we received—as pilfered from an abandoned station by our bravest journalists on a food run—is that more is to be feared in the swamps than the zombies themselves. Before Broward PD turned ghost town, 911 dispatchers reported calls of neighbor-on-neighbor violence. Cannibalism. Humans eating other humans. It appears the deerstalkers, a band of outbreak survivors who refused evacuation—according to this headline—are hunting others who’ve also remained in their homes surrounding the Everglades and nearby parks. These hunters are…dear God…using the walking dead to help round up their prey. Their own neighbors.This article warns readers to lock up tight, to arm up tight and to remain vigilant. We at Touring the Everglades suggest you do the same, if you can’t find a way out. This will be our last podcast. It’s been an honor to share the apocalypse with you. Stay alert, stay away from the hunters and stay away from the dead. Good luck, Godspeed.”As researched and reported by Rachel Litt
Scare Factor: 9.5
After a brief encounter with Sammy, you are ushered into this freakish look at the life of your not so average Florida Cracker family. As such, it sets the stage for the rest of the event. Once again, Jed the Butcher and his cadre of misfits create an heir of foreboding and impending doom that will either leave you running for your life, or hoping that you aren’t the next thing on their menu.
- Into Oblivion : Little is known about what media terms “Pandemic,” the zombie epidemic that swept through the southern territories, and continues to spread across the globe mere weeks after the last known broadcast in South Florida. Speculation persists that the blame rests on ZombieX – the antigen born in the controversial trials of the now infamous “Swine Fever Project.” But recent reports of “eerie, green glow” and “new breeds” being sighted in our neighboring states – particularly those in the south – lead us to believe this is not a mutated inoculation backfire, but possibly the horrific result of a biowarfare test launch. Currently, all residents are undergoing mandatory evacuation and being herded into “safe camps,” where they will be tested for infection and separated for protection. A curfew has been enacted for the listening area, but be aware Pandemic is approaching quickly and without prejudice. Those left without shelter are urged to continue North. The following areas, what we’ll now refer to as “Into Oblivion” are declared a No Go Zone. Avoid these by any means necessary – there is no protection. Those of you outside the listening area – those of you in the South – we wish you luck.As blogged by Rachel Litt
Scare Factor: 8.5
This zone takes up the second half of the lower level of the haunt, and incorporates a wide variety of freaks and fiends who are desperate to either eat you, enslave you, or both! This year, the crazy clowns have moved downstairs, and with Otto Ringwald in charge, who knows what might happen!
- Realms of Terror: “She watches the hole closely, feeling the vacuum of the boundary portal sucking at her cheek, making her dizzy. An intake of foul breath enters her nose and the faraway wave of a thousand screams make their way into her head.Amara has been here before.Decades prior, Amara was found roaming the dirt bank. Wearing nothing but a mask of white gauze, her nails were tarred, black talons. Her lips were the blood red of a still-beating heart. She tirelessly recounted tales of other worlds, demons, and undead abominations. Lost, tortured souls scratching their way into her nightmares, tearing apart the boundaries to become her reality. These delusions finally led to her being institutionalized. Decades of treatment proved to be ineffectual and one day Amara suddenly vanished.Embracing her gift, she returned to the Realms and opened the portal. There she roams, bound to the hallways like sharp whispers hitched to the backs of nightmare shadows. Some say to help unsuspecting souls who wander through like trapped mice, others say she just returned home, to the honeycombed hell house of Amara’s Realms of Terror.”Accounts as reported by Rachel Litt.
Scare Factor: 8
Amara has been around for a few years, but this year we get a better glimpse at how twisted she really is! The fun starts as a crazed scientist vaults up the stairs to lead us into what is, of course, impending doom!
This second floor haunt consists of almost too many scenes to list, but let me try. You face a room filled with our alien overlords, experimenting on their human captives; another room where you are transported to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus; a satanic temple; a lunatic asylum; and, of course, our friend Amara.
The integration of the newly reimagined sets, filled with their amazing technological advances and truly gifted make-up made for an experience that should be a must-do for haunt fans everywhere.
Celebrating its 6th year, Enigma Haunt, 1751 N. Military Trail, was just ranked #1 in Top Haunts in Florida and voted as #2 nationally in The Scare Factor’s 31 Must See Haunt List, the only other Florida haunt making that national list came in at #17.
They will also be collecting goods for hurricane relief on Saturday, October 7.
Now that you’ve read a bit more about Enigma Haunt, are you ready to head down there?
Palm Beach Happening would like to congratulate Jill Wenig Guadagna on being chosen as the winner of the family four pack of tickets to the event. Hopefully she survives the adventure!
Saturday’s sojourn into the world of the undead is the first of many this Halloween season. On the fifth of October, we will be heading to the Behind the Scenes tour of Fright Nights, and hope to attend their opening day on the sixth. On the eighth, we voyage across the state to attend Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa. On October 14, we will be checking out X-Scream Halloween at G-Star. We might also be heading up to the Orlando area to experience the Shallow Grave! If we survive, we’ll let you know all the gory details!
Remember that Halloween is a time for fun and frivolity. It is a time to come out of your shell, and to acknowledge the mischievous spirit that resides within all of us. Be sure to keep following this column for news on other spooky events and more. If you know of another local event that needs additional undead light shone upon it, please let us know!