Panic Point Analysis


Mary May and other LRHS students visit Panic Point. They love being scared by the actors and decorations. Used with permission by Mary May.

Some people hate clowns, the dark, jump scares, or surprises. So what happens when all these factors are put into a single place? Panic Point is ‘NC’s best haunted house’, located in Youngsville, North Carolina. Open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from September 21 through November 2, people of all ages can come visit for the scare of their life.

People know Panic Point for its six attractions: Haunted Forest, Howling Hayride, Dark Trail, Killers in the Corn, Menacing Maze, and Carny Crypt 3D. Each attraction involves multiple jump scares by the actors, spooky music throughout the walks, and intriguing costumes and decorations.

Haunted Forest is by far the best selling and most thrilling attraction. The line to enter the Forest can be up to two hours, but the result is always worth the wait. As a group enters, they begin the half-mile walk through the forest, passing through the Butcher Shop, Voodoo Shack, the Junkyard, Pallet Maze, Serial Killer’s Cabin, Clown House, and more. The trail between pop-ups is dim, and no flashlights are allowed, so this is an easy way to increase fright in individuals.

Panic Point also includes two haunted maze attractions, with one factor separating them. Killers in the Corn is a maze which includes actors hiding behind any object waiting to jump out, and chase you with a weapon of their choice. The creators of Panic Point describe this attraction as “just a short walk into horror on a trip to your own personal horror movie. As the wind passes through the stalks they whisper an invitation to go deeper, farther into the path of pain. But it’s not the wind or the stalks that will get you. It’s living, breathing, and terrifying killers await you inside this trail of terror.”

The second haunted maze attraction is the Menacing Maze, which gives individuals the opportunity to find the end of the corn maze with no lights, directions, or scares. Menacing Maze is an extreme hit as thrill-seekers enjoy seeing which comes first: fear or the finish line.

The finish line is a huge goal to cross, especially with the Dark Trail. The biggest fear factor in this attraction is how the trail is pitch black, with only a rope on either side to help you find your way. Open since 2011, the only thing that is the same about this attraction is the rope. Each year, the background story of the trail changes and new features are added, making it a different experience each time you visit Panic Point.

Next is the Carny Crypt, created only in 2018, has already been given the name “the Freakshow”. If you hate clowns or the circus, this attraction is definitely not the one to attempt. The journey through is not very long compared to the other attractions, but Carny Crypt is sure to leave you with some disturbing memories.

Last is the Haunted Hayride. During this attraction, about 25-20 people are seated on a large wagon, with an aisle in the middle. As the tractor pulls you through the different scenes, actors will follow you, banging on the sides of the tractor, and walking up and down the aisle bringing fear to each passenger.

Most people hate being scared, so why are people so captivated to adventure through Panic Point? In an interview for Time, Margee Kurr, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh, explains that “We think it’s very similar, at least at a physiological and neurological level, to the runner’s high experience, where you’re really pushing yourself and your sympathetic nervous system is in go-mode. Once you’re out of the scary situation — one where there was never any real threat to begin with — feel-good endorphins course through the body. It is a reprioritizing of energy, of focus into the body. You’re grounded, not being caught up in thinking.” Essentially, after being scared ‘half to death’, the release of emotions after the attractions have ended turn into a release of feel-good emotions, almost as if your body has accepted that there is no real factor to be feared of.

“I like the release of emotion. I mean no one actually enjoys getting scared but its the suspense that really builds up because you expect to be scared but you have no idea what they’re going to do or what’s going to happen” said Mary May, a senior at LRHS. At Panic Point, each attraction is completely different. For example, ‘Menacing Maze’, involves no actors or jump scares, but simply is the individual psyching themselves out, expecting fear but receiving nothing.

On the other hand, the Howling Hayride has actors coming from all angles to walk up and down the wagon, calling your name or even sitting next to you. “I love the Haunted Hay Ride and I also love how they can get up in your face and just really scare you,” said Sophia Hernandez, a senior at LRHS. “It is really cool how they can say your name and follow you around, it really adds to how scared you can become”.

Located at 2808 Cedar Creek Rd, Panic Point has been a hit attraction since 2011. People come to Panic Point because they see the scares and release of emotion as calming, and something really exciting to do. Unfortunately, Panic Point is only open for a month and a half each year, but for that short time the line is sure to be out of the park.


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