Mom upset about religious haunted house

October 29, 2011 9:49:30 PM PDT
A local church is using a haunted house to get what it says is an important message across. A local mother says her children not only heard the message, but they saw it as well -- and she is not happy about it.

Linda Ybarra says she bought tickets to Hell House in Pasadena for her family this weekend. She didn't expect that her son would see graphic scenes about going to Hell if they didn't accept Jesus as their savior.

Ybarra says she and her 14-year-old son thought they'd get a good scare this Halloween at the haunted house, and she expected "the usual Halloween things. You know, zombies and ghouls and goblins. That kind of thing."

But the horror fan says the experience her family got inside the haunted house left her feeling violated. She says she is upset that -- under the guise of an ordinary haunted house -- serious moral issues were raised that she has not yet had the chance to discuss with her child.

"There was a young lady lying on a gurney, and two nurses. And one of the nurses was reaching into the lady and pulling out a bunch of gunk, and throwing it on the floor," Ybarra said, describing an abortion scene at the haunted house.

Ybarra says the actors were depicting far too realistic scenes about abortion, suicide and other sins. She says the Hell House flier's warning about violent content was too vague for what patrons are walking into.

"I quickly realized that this is not something that I wanted to be at. So I asked if I could leave, and they did not allow us to leave," Ybarra said.

Ybarra said her tickets did not mention who sponsored Hell House, nor did they provide any contact information. We found out the haunted house is operated by the Potters House Christian Fellowship Church in Pasadena.

Pastor Lamont Melrose says this haunted house isn't about scaring people with the idea of fake ghosts.

"The material we are using to scare people is reality," Melrose said. "We want to give people the horror of what it is to go through an abortion. We want to give people the horror of what it is to deal with a rebellious son that commits suicide."

Melrose explained that patrons aren't allowed to turn back because of safety concerns in the small, dark space.

He says the mission of Hell House is to lure people to Jesus by the end of the show.

At least one concerned mom has a big problem with that.

"You don't convert children like that. Tell them that they are going to Hell and things like that. You just don't do that," Ybarra said.

Church members said they're not surprised by the controversy over Hell House. They've seen similar complaints at other Hell House-type productions across the country, but they say it is a tool that's been helping them save dozens of young souls each night.

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