Beware of what lurks at Sasebo's Fear Factory
Stars and Stripes October 30, 2004
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Judging from Wednesday evening’s dress rehearsal, those attending the 2004 Fear Factory at the Hario Housing Village Gym from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday will see evidence that sleepy Sasebo has its fair share of deranged weirdos — at least on Halloween weekend.
Visiting the annual haunted house should be a freaky — and at just $3 per person, frugal — night out, organizers said.
About 70 people — half of them volunteers, and the rest having some connection to Morale, Welfare and Recreation — are creating the mind-boggling adrenaline rush, said event coordinator Efrain Gracia.
“By day, I’m the manager of the Galaxies Club here on base,” Gracia said. “And by night, I transform into everybody’s worst nightmare.
“For $3, it’s an awesome bargain, and we even have a ‘Pumpkin Patch’ just for the little kids we don’t allow in the Fear Factory,” he said. “You even get a snack included in your ticket price.”
Not, presumably, from the massive jar full of eyeballs awaiting visitors in one of the rooms. Instead, MWR usually serves hot dogs, candy, popcorn and soft drinks each year to those exiting the haunted house.
“Here in Japan they don’t really do very much in the way of Halloween activities, so to be able to do something of this magnitude, of this size, is one of the ways we can provide a little bit of what people from the base are accustomed to back home,” Gracia said.
The end of the Fear Factory tour will feature a big finale, although Gracia declined to disclose details. He did say, however, that the chainsaw-wielding goons that enlivened past Fear Factories would be absent this weekend because they “have become passé, really.”
Two major contributions came from volunteers, including a bizarre vortex tunnel created by James Jackson from Sasebo’s Bowling Center. The second is a strange “gravity house,” built by the Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, Sasebo Detachment.
“This is the first time I’ve been involved in a haunted house. … I mean, I went through a couple as a kid, but I’ve never been a part of creating one,” said volunteer Petty Officer 2nd Class Neil Dyer, from Assault Craft Unit One.
“I was listening to the radio when I heard they were looking for volunteers and I thought it might be fun. So I came out here and everybody had a bunch of ideas, and it’s turned out great,” he said.
“Some of it actually comes from my demented mind,” he added. “They always give me a hard time when we’re working here. They say, ‘You’re sick. What’s wrong with you?’ It’s all fun though.”