Local News

Church Sends Message of Real Life; Some Say It's Too Real

Posted October 29, 1999

— Some people are getting the scare of their lives and one Wilson church says it is for their own good.

Organizers of Hell House say they want to send a message about reality, but some people say it is a little too real.

Some scenes inside Hell House are so graphic they cannot be shown on video, but inside the Farmington Height's Church of God in Wilson, the scenes are all too familiar.

The experience is more powerful than anything someone would see in the movies or on television.

A young girl gets an abortion.

A drunk driver and his victims.

A school shooting.

It is enough to scare anybody -- child or adult.

"Unfortunately, this is reality," says Scott Sauls, a youth minister at Farmington Heights Church of God.

Sauls says he does not want to scare anyone.

"Our goal is to wake people up to reality. A lot of people are desensitized and think these things can't happen to me. The school shooting could happen in Columbine, but it's not going to happen in Wilson," says Sauls. "But in actuality, it could happen in Wilson."

"I think it's in amazingly poor taste," says child psychologist Dr. Robert Mankoff. "I would be very cautious about bringing younger children to any of these things."

Mankoff says the scenes in Hell House could send children the wrong message.

"The danger is that these things can overstimulate and overwhelm children, and may inadvertently give them the message that these things are fun or acceptable."

Leaders at the church say they have been urging people not to bring children under ten years of age.

But for those who have experienced Hell House, they say the will not forget what they saw.

"It is so real. I'm a high school teacher, and it was so real," says one visitor of the Hell House.

It was very realistic," says another. "It told a lot of the truth."

Hell House is trademarked nationally by a church out of Colorado. It has been around for several years and are located throughout the country at around Halloween.

As many as 5,000 people are expected to go through the Wilson Hell House when Halloween ends Sunday evening.


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