Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum
Written by: The Bat
While Las Vegas currently doesn’t have any year-round haunted attractions, The Dragon and I were craving a taste of the creepy and macabre. Enter Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum, said by his website to feature “…original collectibles from haunted sites and hear the bone-chilling stories of the paranormal activity that surrounds them.” As someone who avidly followed Ghost Adventures for the first 4 years it was out, I have my own opinions about Zak Bagans, but those notwithstanding, that man definitely knows creepy.
So we purchased tickets for the RIP tour, with extra features included, hoping to be, while maybe not scared, at least amused and possibly even creeped out.
The museum definitely was built with the right vibes for creepy. Dark lighting, amped up air conditioning and well placed speakers gave subtle additions to the already unsettling collection of artifacts on display. While I know that not all of the artifacts were haunted, not even all of them were relevant to any particular display, they were all suitably chosen and placed to evoke the mood. The only way to really describe it was half museum and half haunt, as many of the exhibits actually had collectables that a fan of the macabre would only dream of seeing (like the Kavorkian Death Van or Gacy’s original paintings) they were also arranged in ways meant to be scary. The Ed Gein room was even designed by one of the set designers from American Horror Story!
The only actors in this event were the tour guides themselves, with the exception of one freak show performer who did a short act halfway through the tour. He was definitely a good addition to the show, as they had him near the circus area and he had fantastic charisma and stage presence. I loved watching the other guests cringe at some of his tricks. But back to the tour guides. They have to relay a ton of information, mostly from memory, and both of our guides did a wonderful job of doing exactly that while keeping to the mood of the museum. The only other actor I could mention was the constant presence of Bagans himself, while even though he wasn’t there, his voice overs and video explanations were woven throughout. That man does know how to promote his brand.
If the theme of this attraction was “Things Zak Bagans Finds Creepy” then it was definitely achieved. While some of the displays do not hold any coherent connection other than that, they were still fun to see. The mini circus that takes up almost an entire room, or the creepy dolls threaded throughout the sets, even the pictures and mirrors made creepier only by the dim lighting all were very fun to see, as long as you don’t try too hard to analyze the purpose for them being there. The stories that came with many of the collectables made them even more interesting (even if some of them left the more skeptical scratching their heads as to why Bagans would find it a good idea to mess around with some of the objects).
In this case, it would be more fair to rate the creep factor, as I don’t think the museum was particularly intended to evoke scare responses. Other than one black hallway and one hidden door that did make me jump, the intention seemed to be more slated towards being unsettling. While it did not work on us, I could definitely see the effect on the other tour attendees in our group. As the tour continued, the group got more and more quiet. One of the ladies seemed to feel a bit ill, and one of the others refused to go into a couple of the more intense rooms. There was one area where I even fell to the power of suggestion and developed a slight headache. Do the artifacts actually hold the power of the undead or demonic? I couldn’t tell you. Does the museum hold the power to creep people out? I would say yes. And even to those it doesn’t….you will see some fun things you never get to see elsewhere. Worth a visit!