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Midvale Journal

Behind the scenes of Castle of Chaos

Nov 01, 2017 05:12PM ● By Ileana Brown

Stephen Harmon and son. (Ileana Brown/City Journals)

By Ileana Brown | [email protected]

As Halloween approaches, screams of terror sweep their way through the midst of Midvale. Here lies one of America’s scariest Halloween attractions, the Castle of Chaos at 7980 State St. 

The haunted house offers a unique walk through four levels of fear catering to the terrified and the fearless. With the option to choose how intense your experience will be, it will not interfere with the level your friends select. Everyone in the group will go through the haunt together. Each level is paired with a different colored glow stick so the actors know which victims have signed the waiver to be restrained and threatened and who to keep a distance from. 

“What more could you ask for?” local resident Makenna Shup asked. “I personally recommend not only to walk through Castle of Chaos, but to walk through level four, if you dare. ... Level two, general admission is just as frightening, but if you are looking for that jump and scare this October season I would go extreme. The hands-on experience will make you think twice about the darkness when you are alone. But don’t worry, I felt completely safe and the actors are very much aware of the level of intensity one can handle.”

What keeps the night at Castle of Chaos terrifying and entertaining are the actors and make-up artists, who work hard to scare people with their acting and make-up skills. Without them, Castle would be a ghost town. 

“The experience of scaring someone is thrill seeking,” actor Michael Harmon said. “I would compare it to rock climbing or skydiving. You get a kind of buzz or jolt of energy from it. Except for me, it is a lot more fun and energizing to scare. This is the most fun I have had in my entire life, making a 253-pound man hit the ground and curl up in a fetal position and cry. This is an addicting level of energizing.”

Harmon became involved in Castle at age 16 when boredom kicked in during his nights out with friends. He has been participating in Castle for 10 years now. Harmon encouraged everyone to come join the Castle family if you are looking to have a fun, thrill-seeking night. Especially if you are holding back any creative and wacky talents. 

Castle actor Eric Ransdell is another one of those thrill-seeking adventure guys with a few hidden talents just waiting to be uncovered. He walked through the underground attraction 15 times before he finally asked a security guard what he needed to do to start acting. The next day he showed up at 5 p.m. and, before he knew it, he was a part of the Castle family. He was given an intimidating military role where he made guests act like dogs crawling on their hands and knees.

“It’s really interesting because some nights it is really slow and other nights time flies by so fast we are already over,” Ransdell said. “Every night is filled with many unexpected encounters especially when it comes to the guest interactions. It’s really fun though, no matter what lies in store. There are a lot of stories of me making people crawl into rooms barking like dogs, it just comes with the military role, that’s really common.”

You must be at least 16 years old to work at Castle. Show up a few hours before doors open, sign a few papers with a parent or guardian present if you are under 18, do a quick audition and then you are set to act. Or visit their “Join Us” page on their website and fill out the contact form. Doors are open Sunday through Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to midnight on most days and closed Tuesdays. For more information on ticket pricing and deals visit