DAILY REAL TALK: The no BS / no lies list of the Top Haunted Attractions on the east coast

You might have figured out that I go to a lot of haunted houses. 4000 miles of them every year to be exact.

I was tired of the BS online where scare actors from this haunt or that haunt would post fake reviews in order to sway customers incorrectly to their event.

I am the equalizer. I cannot be bought because my money comes from outside of this industry. I will not review someone who tries to bully me into lying to you.

Here is my early 2015 list of what haunted attractions I feel are a cut above the rest. These are the places that I recommend to friends when I want to be sure they will have a foolproof great night out.

The front of House in the Hollow, Bucks County, PA

The front of House in the Hollow, Bucks County, PA

NOTE: These are listed in no particular order. I can’t choose a favorite or rate one over another. They all bring it. Being on this list is like winning the Olympics of haunted attractions. Also I haven’t yet gone to all of these this year yet because even though I helm (Re)Generation Who, I do not own a TARDIS. Shows can change year to year.

1. Field of Screams – Lancaster, PA: FoS always delivers a brutal, high energy evening of 2 haunted houses, 1 hay ride, and 1 outdoor walkthrough. The midway (which is free to enter) is full of food and entertainment and second to none.

2. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum – Spring City, PA: Pennhurst has a modest start in 2010 but has grown to be one of the most brutal haunted attractions in the world. They always deliver. Hard.

3. Hotel of Horror / Altered Nightmares – Saylorsburg, PA: These guys are ART. Brutal, deranged art. When you go through this one you’ll notice something different than everyone else and that includes scareactors who are given the freedom to create complex backstories to their characters. You won’t find Boring Chainsaw Man #6 here. That guy will have a name and unique elements about him. These guys are always on point. The also have a museum of macabre historical mortuary equipment on site.

4. Reaper’s Revenge – Scranton, PA: We are currently working on this review right now, but we were absolutely blown away by them. They have literally the best hayride I have ever seen. Each attraction is staged elegantly and the actors are beyond fabulous. Never before has a single haunt been a contender for BOTH our Brutality AND Innovation Award at the same time. WOW. I did not expect that. This is the kind of haunted attraction that someone in my line of work hopes to find but rarely does.

5. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride – Glen Mills, PA: Bates Motel practically defined the standard that the bar is set at in haunts. Each attraction is tight. From the staging, to the scares, to the funny elements in each where they, mess with you. And yes, they can touch you. You’ll experience a haunted hayride, a corn maze, and the Bates Motel itself.

6. Halls of Horror - Palmerton, PA: Halls of Horror has the kind of brash IDGAF that I appreciate. Don’t go here if you are sensitive and don’t bring kids. They are on the batshit crazy side and they don’t care who they offend. And THAT is why I love them so much. This year we will try Blood Experience where we will literally get covered in blood as we go through.

7. Busch Gardens Williamsburg Howl-O-Scream – Williamsburg, VA and Tampa, FL: Busch Gardens Williamsburg is more on the “something for the whole family” side, but that’s not a bad thing. This year they jacked up the intensity of their event with 3 new haunted houses that are aimed at haunt fans like myself. We were impressed. The review is currently being written. The best part is that you can bring the non-haunt fan of your family and they will be perfectly happy taking the shows and immersive dining experiences external from the haunted house. Everyone wins. The Tampa location is normally more intense and aimed at teen+. We always enjoy it.

8. House in the Hollow – Bucks County, PA: These guys did somethign no one else did. They build a high tech haunted house that changes it’s path per night and integrates you into it. I have never in my life been so impressed with the craftsmanship of an attraction like I was here. Anything from flying ghost effects to moving passages – I can only compare it to a more scary Disney’s Haunted Mansion, which is was clearly inspired by. (Aren’t we all?)

9. Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA: A haunted house inside a historical prison. If that weren’t enough, it’s near a ton of great restaurants and you can tour the prison during the day. Always solid.

It looks like Pennsylvania is leading the pack. It must be something in the water. Read my full Haunted Attraction Review page for more reviews of haunts on the east coast. If I haven’t reviewed yours and you feel you deserve to be listed with these big dogs you can invite me to review your attraction by sending me an email from the top nav bar. You’ll get an honest and fair review that helps you and the fans from me, an acclaimed Marketing VP who runs her own events and knows her shit.

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 I’m losing my sight and it’s not OK – thoughts on ICL and cataract surgery

I’ve said this on Facebook, but it’s about time I went public with it. I’m slowly losing my vision and it’s really tearing me apart.

I have been working with a team of doctors since July to try and find a solution. So far there has been no good progress.

It all started out innocent enough. I am a -26 – legally blind without eye correction. My quality of life is pretty tough. I have trouble recognizing people. They no longer make contacts that fit me correctly. In reality wearing contacts has always been hell because they have to be so thick they suffocate my eyes and I have to wear them for like 20 hours a day so I end up with frequent infections. I’m using some shitty lenses that cause a bad halo effect and block off much of my field of vision, but it’s better than glasses. Glasses won’t let me see properly due to the concave distortion the lenses have at that high a prescription. So I’d be able to see OK only straight ahead. The rest is distorted like a fun house mirror. With glasses I can easily walk into walls and trip over things, like chairs. I don’t feel OK wearing them if I can’t hold someone’s hand like a child.

I can’t read most menus that restaurants post on the wall without taking a picture of it and zooming on my phone or asking Harknell to read it to me. That’s pretty embarrassing because it looks like I am illiterate or something. Whatever. I can drive, in theory. I can’t read street signs easily.

I decided to get Implantable Contact Lens surgery (ICL). This would have gotten me from a -26 to a -9 or -5 at best. Still not great, but I’d be able to use regular contacts and glasses. For me that would be huge.

I went to my retina specialist to get clearance for ICL surgery. Luckily my retina was good, but he found that I have early onset cataracts caused by my high myopia condition. So THAT is why I have noticed a change in my vision recently.

I went to 2 ICL surgeons. 1 guy was a total asshole with the worst bedside manner ever. The other one was nice. Both had an element of sales which alarmed me, but that’s surgery in America for you. Unfortunately the nice guy was pushing that I get ICL with the cataracts even though I was aware that ICL may exacerbate them faster. The asshole doctor said it was a bad idea. I’m going with the asshole’s opinion and not getting ICL.

So now I am in a situation where my eyes are clouding over. Normally cataract surgery is no big deal. They remove your eye’s lens and insert a new lens. SURPRISE I am out of range for the multifocal interocular lens implant that I need. The only one that comes in my range would fix my distance vision but completely obliterate my close up vision. This means bye bye iPhone unless I’m grafted to reading glasses that I pull up and down like robocop. That would be a huge downgrade in my quality of life.

I got to see 2 more surgeons next week. I hope for some good news but it has been very demoralizing. I am the type of patient who stumps most eye doctors because I really am that blind. I have a list of specialists to whom I will reach out to on Tuesday if this goes bad.

If anyone knows of a Dr. House level eye surgeon who knows this stuff and also may be able to comment on if better options are available in Canada or the UK please email me at Onezumi at Onezumi dot com. It’s my eyes – yes I’d fly to another country to handle this if I had to. It would be nice to avoid another nonproductive doctor’s appointment and to know that the person I’m seeing won’t say “Holy shit” and pass me off to another person in their bureaucracy.

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 For real footage of me practicing guitar with the metronome this week… ;D


Thanks for the video link, Angela Pritchett.

Angela wrote the best Doctor Who cookbook ever.



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 METAL GUITAR REAL TALK: I am currently in metronome hell; I am disappointed in some women I’ve met recently

Hell yeah. Metal guitar. I love studying this.


You may not know but comics were not my first love. Before I started making comics it was all about music. At the time I did not have the resources and support to be able to study music. I was able to draw and type “fuck” a lot so I made comics instead.

I love the idea of making people laugh or entertaining them.

I’m also a big supporter of the idea that you should do what you CAN DO NOW rather than nothing at all. So I made weekly comics.

I no longer make weekly comics and probably never will because the treadmill is something I hate a lot. I actually get nauseated when I think about doing that ever again. Standalone project? Sure. Treadmill? Fuck no.

Today I am in metronome hell. I am working on studying scales and playing with the metronome. Scales are relatively easy. Playing with the metronome is not. But I enjoy it. I apparently am one of those weirdos who loves scales and music theory. I’m not good at it since I didn’t even know how to hold a guitar 8 months ago, but I’m loving it.

I am taking a break from the “click click” sound to write to you all and to also decide if I like this band or not:

I have also been disappointed with some women whom I have met recently. Look, it’s a given that I’ll eventually get dudes trashing me for playing metal guitar. You can just look at any number of women who post progress videos on youtube to see that in action.

So it pisses me the fuck god damn off that so far it’s mostly been women to mess with me over this. One guy accused me of not being a “real guitarist” already via the internet (not face to face). I was like whatever dude, been studying for 8 months. Check your mini dick in the coat closet.

I expect that shit. What I didn’t expect was women screwing with me to my face – in person.

JFC, guys. A significant god damn number of women have felt the need to trash me to my face in real life for studying metal guitar. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even want to talk to women I don’t know about what I do until I figure out if they are a narrow-minded dumb ass. Guys I meet in person are 100% supportive toward me so far. Usually they want to talk gear with me or play with me.

I feel like, “Et tu, Brutae?”

I was chatting with a woman (whom was my hair stylist that I’ve now fired) about studying metal guitar. She was like “Ewww! Why would you DO THAT?!”

I’m like fuck you, you sloppy-brained fuck cow.

But instead I just smiled.

I was talking with another one a few weeks later and said that after guitar I want to play around with bass. She was sarcastic nasty like “Yeah then you can learn a few more things and be an entire band LOL.”

In my head I was like, “How about I rip your arm off and shove it up your ass?”

What I actually said was, “Maybe I actually will.” Because for real, I might play a lot of instruments.


It’s unexpected and upsetting to me that other women have so far been the biggest and loudest group of people to try and marginalize my desire to do more with my life creatively.

I don’t care if what you do is something I’d never do – I’d never tell you it was weird.

Life would be so much better if people didn’t subscribe to the idea that we should limit ourselves based on what is “proper”. I don’t care who I am or how old I am or what TV tells me I should be doing with my life after college graduation – I am and will continue to do whatever the hell I want and people who aren’t down with that can fuck the fuck off. These type of women don’t need oppressors – they’ve internalized it and become worse than any negative male stereotype out there.

Why worse? Because they should fucking know better than to shit on someone else’s choice.

I advise you to also cut the dumb shits out of your life. Life is too short to not do what you want to do with it. I will not be the person who gets to be old and looks back wondering what could have been if I had done what I wanted to do. The time is now. Life is what you design – it’s got nothing to do with what any asshole – male or female – tries to tell you.

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 The surprisingly awful source of my work ethic that almost killed me was Anorexia and Bulimia

My work ethic is legendary. It kind of has to be to achieve what I’ve achieved. I work 16-20 hour days regularly. I work a day job then come home and work on 2 conventions, personal projects, and metal guitar practice. I hope so badly that the day is coming where I do not have to do this. I hate it. But I have to do it because no one else is going to build my business but me. I have to run it. I do it well and I do love my job.

People often ask me how I do it. They assume that I’m more skilled or more SOMETHING than they are. The answer isn’t that I was better. I was actually worse than almost everyone.

I was so severely anorexic and bulimic when I was in High School that, had friends not intervened as if it were their job, I’d be dead today. There is nothing awesome about that situation.

I’d never be one of those assholes who posts medical or health advice online as if they are a doctor. I am not a doctor. Those people who post bullshit science online in the beauty and health industry are morons. My advice to you if you have problems that plague you such as this is to first always see a doctor and follow his or her advice first. This post isn’t medical advice. This post is simply the advice that I gave myself that worked for me. Use what is helpful and discard the rest.

I’m good at finding positives in shitty things that happen to me and using them to move forward. Perhaps that is the definition of insanity, but that’s how I work. I believe in understanding my own weaknesses and owning them. I also do not personally subscribe to the “I have a disease” mantra. It’s not a cold that will passively get better. To my personal brain dismissing something as a disease would excuse me from my personal active involvement in fixing the problem.

“I have a problem and I’m going to address it – I will not wait for it to get better.” – Oni Fucking Hartstein

So what do I know about me?

I am stubborn. I cannot be changed or moved from my position or habits easily. I also can’t seem to change my innate desire for perfection and control.

What did I know about the situation?

The people around me were telling me that I sucked a lot and that I had to be perfect. My impulses to be perfect got out of control trying to meet a goal that was impossible to meet. This was my brain’s attempt to fix me from sucking. It was killing me instead.

How did I address it?

The first thing I did was I remove myself from the situation causing this. After years of trying to cure me didn’t work, I decided to stop trying to “cure” myself head on. That Oni is a tough bitch when she sets her mind to anything and no one, not even Oni can get past her. So where else can we reassign that skill? Every bad food impulse I had, I’d mentally channel and transmogrify (yes, I kind of maybe stole that from Calvin and Hobbes) into doing something positive instead. Work. Art. Eating healthy. Seeing friends.


I simply flipped something bad on it’s ass and made it work for me instead of against me. It didn’t happen overnight. It happened over 5-10 years. Every day another small success. Every day sometimes huge failures. Get up and try again.

For the first 5 years I’d tracked how long it’d been since puking or hurting myself. After some fits and starts it got longer and longer between episodes – until it was gone. I don’t even know when it left. Bye, Felicia!

I haven’t had a negative episode with food for over 10 years and in those 10 years I’ve built a god damn empire on “transmogrified energy”.

I don’t claim to know how to treat other people. I am not a doctor. I don’t know shit. I only know me. But in my case, the only way I was able to do anything was to understand who I was and that I was not broken or sick. I was simply using my energy in a way that was variant to Good. Reassign it! It’s like when you apply for a new job and they ask you what your transferable skills are. Maybe you can use your skill writing tutorial blogs at your old job to now write technical manuals at your new job.

My transferable skills is my focus and drive. At my old job I tried to kill myself with it. At my new job I use it to accomplish things instead.

I’ve been a normal human being that eats regularly for so long that I can’t even remember how long. I’m a lot happier, healthier, and I even look better.

So my advice is first always see a doctor and follow his or her advice first and foremost. If nothing else works perhaps consider not trying to cure things that can’t be cured. Maybe it’s just your energy shooting off into the wrong place. Bring the energy ball back and re-fire it in the right direction. Own it. Own yourself. That’s what worked for me, anyway. There was nothing special about me. I just understood how to objectively look at myself. I firmly believe that you can do what you set your mind to if you are honest about it and address things head on.

Then again, subtlety was never my strong suit.

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