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ScareCo Haunted Attraction
Historic 16th Street Station, 1601 Wood St., Oakland
Reviewed 10/10/14 by Hauntmistress
Location, location, location! They say that’s very important when looking to buy a house. It’s also true for haunted houses. And ScareCo could not have found a better location. Sure, it’s off the beaten path and they are not going to get drive-by traffic happening upon them, but if they can get the word out and get people to seek them out, they just might have magic on their hands.
ScareCo is located in West Oakland’s historic and abandoned 16th Street train station. The station, opened in 1912, served as the final, western-most stop on the Pacific Railroad. Damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the station was decommissioned in 1994. Since then, the station has sat empty and deteriorating. As unfortunate as that is, it makes for a great haunted house. The main room is immense, with high ceilings, detailed windows, and long, old wooden benches that very well may be the same ones that were installed in 1912.
ScareCo’s attractions are Platform 13, Dexter Morgan’s Contact, Cleve Hall’s Ultimate Kaiju Encounter, and The Last Ride. We tackled them in the order that ScareCo recommended. So first up was Dexter Morgan’s Contact.
Dexter Morgan’s Contact capitalizes on the haunted feeling of the train station by putting you into a ghost hunt. You enter a dark room and sit on one of the aforementioned wooden benches. You are then treated to the host (well played and entertaining, although a bit hard to hear at times) taking about the case of the 4:45 p.m. train departure to Grand Island, Nebraska, Oakland’s sister station. There was a terrible accident and the spirit of a departed soul still haunts the station, and may be in the room with you. This was a really fun experience. It was about seven minutes long, but it seemed longer. Inanimate objects move and fall, the seats vibrate, lights flicker, and the room goes pitch black a couple of times. Something touched me once in the darkness and it was thrilling to wait and see what was coming next.
Once we were let out of Dexter Morgan’s Contact we made our way to Cleve Hall’s Ultimate Kaiju Encounter. This was a short trip (about three minutes) through the construction of a new train tunnel where a giant monster, also called a Kaiju, has escaped. The “resident Kaiju-ologist” who did her “shpiel” before we entered kept sheepishly laughing while taking to us. She needed to sell us a bit more on the experience. But the actor who greeted us when we entered was wonderful, with his changing voice and scary appearance. But after that, there really wasn’t much to this one. A huge Kaiju tail wagged at us in one scene, and a movie scene of a flying Kaiju was projected onto a screen in another scene. And that’s pretty much it.
Next was The Last Ride. It is a motion simulator ride in a coffin. If you’ve seen any of my other reviews, you know that this is where I draw the line. But my companion was brave and went in and he said they did a good job of making it seem like he was actually being buried alive. He said it starts out with a burial then takes you on a ride to a funeral home, and then to be buried. He said you could even smell dirt.
Lastly we entered Platform 13, the main haunt. It is designed to take you through a haunted train, from boarding to disembarking. We walked through well -appointed rooms like a closet, a bar, butcher/meat locker, passenger compartment, and more. Some rooms were more befitting a traditional haunted house than a train (a werewolf, clowns, hospital…), but it all worked nonetheless. The actors were menacing and never missed an opportunity to scare us. The haunt took about seven minutes for us to get through (and I walk pretty fast).
As we traversed from one attraction to the next, there were two roaming actors that were terrorizing people in the main room. They were both very well made up and in character, with one sliding on the floor toward the legs of unsuspecting guests!
There is ample parking. At first I wondered why we had to park slightly away from the entrance, but it turns out the last attraction you go through ends near the parking lot. The parking lot has security because the area is rather remote.
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