Phobia is not for the faint of heart

Phobia Amman brings the terror of a nightmare to real life, claiming that most people fail to make it five minutes into the terror-inducing attraction. (Photos: Zaina Zinati/Jordan News)
AMMAN — A nightmare can play out in multiple situations. From a frightening dream that induces anxiety and terror to an evil spirit that oppresses the sleeper. Whichever form a nightmare takes on, it’s almost certain that a person will experience a nightmare in their lifetime. But for those that are wide awake, and want to consciously experience a nightmare on par with lucid dreaming, you only have to go as far as Abdoun.اضافة اعلان

Phobia Abdoun is 1,000sq.m of pure terror. The game invokes the worst of a person’s phobias in 45 minutes; that is if you can get through the time frame.

Upon arriving, the employees are fully in character and do not break from the role. Immediately they ask you to sign a waiver, which states that they are not liable for anything that happens within the game. If legally foregoing your safety doesn’t raise your anxiety, the next bit will. 

Phobia Amman brings the terror of a nightmare to real life, claiming that most people fail to make it five minutes into the terror-inducing attraction. (Photos: Zaina Zinati/Jordan News)

There are two themes: mental asylum and zombies. For the particularly daring, mental asylum is sure to scratch that adrenaline itch. 

The employee informs the players that most people don’t make it past five minutes, which I thought was impossible. They use scare tactics to add to the fear of the game, which is what I thought the five minutes claim was. 

Upon our descent into the madhouse, one of our group members deferred. The sheer terror of what awaited us was cause enough to back out. Two of us were left. We were given specific rules. The patients in the asylum are blind and attracted to noise, so rule number one was to be as quiet as possible. Sounds easy enough, until you see an actual patient.

Rule number two was that any time the doctor comes in, you are supposed to squat down. The doctor holds a taser with him, and if you think he won’t tase you, you are in for a surprise. Tasing is included in the waiver that you sign at the start of the game. If at any moment you feel as though you’ve had enough and you want to quit, you raise both of your hands. The catch is, you’re still in the game until someone comes to get you, so the horror game becomes a waiting game.  

Upon entering the first room, we came across multiple gurneys with stained sheets and blood all over. The lights were flickering, and the medicine-green walls make the player feel as though they are in an actual horror movie. Once the door closed, we heard a bang, not 13 seconds in and my partner and I raised our hands. We were escorted out. The five minutes claim not a scare tactic. The setting is so frightening that we could not even start the game. 

An hour later, we regained our courage with the help of two tour guides who agreed to go down with us. So, here we found ourselves again in the first room, gurneys and all. One door closed, and another opened, and immediately we found the doctor in front of us. Three of us squatted, while one was so frightened he forgot the rule. We heard zaps followed by an electrical blue light. He was immediately tased, which does in fact hurt, a lot. 

We somehow found our way into a second room littered with mental patients. At this point, you feel as though you are watching something out of a horror movie, while at the same time being immersed in it. 

It’s an out-of-body experience so profound, I was frozen in my place. The strobe lights were so dizzying that a patient across the room was in front of me within two flickers. The lights add a freeze-frame effect to the entire experience entirely similar to a horror film. I was frozen in my place. The patients were screaming, and banging on the walls with crutches. The lights, and the sounds coupled with the fear, overstimulated me so much that it triggered my fight or flight response. I instinctively responded with freezing.
Consciously, you are aware that it is just a game, but when it all starts, rationale and logic are completely forgotten. Many rooms and tunnels later, we finally made it out. The experience altogether was incomparable to anything I have ever experienced before. For those that don’t scare easily, five minutes of phobia will change your mind. 

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