— It's a simple question: Why do some people like to scare others?

On the eve of Halloween, fear monger Austin Mills, sporting a gravity defying red Mohawk that pairs well with his mismatched colored contacts and disturbing razor-toothed clown makeup, believes he knows the answer. He's one of the actors at the Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac.

"I think people need to get scared," he said Thursday. "They need it to feel alive. I've been scaring people since I was a little kid. My parents or sisters would be coming around a corner and I would jump out at them and scream, and now I get to do it for a living."

Pasty white makeup makes evil circus ringmaster Jay Swendris appear his days on this earth, alive, may have passed.

"I'm a showoff, I love being in the limelight, being in peoples faces. I just love it all," he said.

Otto Ghee, whose specialty is a chain-wielding clown, is up to the challenge of frightening guests who enter the Big Top, part of the attraction in the 100,000-square-foot, four-story parking garage that sat abandoned for more than 50 years before being transformed into the things of which nightmares are made.

"A lot of people talking they aren't scared of nothing when they come in here, but the biggest guys will be hiding behind their little girlfriends every time," Ghee said. "It's funny and it's fun."

Their frightening success is on display at Erebus for all to see, a counter filled with items scared off, cast off or jumped out of including shoes, phones, glasses, IDs and even someone's teeth.

With more than 34 years of haunting experience co-owner Ed Terebus knows a thing or two about scaring people.

"I think people pay to be scared because it's better than watching a horror movie; they can actually live a horror movie," he said.

"They're setting themselves up but they know it will be a safe and sane environment. Well, maybe insane environment but they know they're going to make it out alive."

Cold evening ahead

The weather for trick or treating is looking pretty scary.

Rain mixed with snow is expected late in the afternoon and early evening Friday, just as the kids head out the door.

By 4 p.m., temperatures are expected to fall to 39 degrees, according to the National Weather Service office at White Lake. Winds could gust to 23 mph.

Overnight, rain and snow showers will continue until 1 a.m. with a low of 31 and blustery winds. Some snow accumulation is possible, the NWS says.

Read or Share this story: