Haunted Hills Hospital

Location: 6090 U.S. 12, Portage

More Info: hauntedhillshospital.com

This is one hospital where survival has long replaced healing as the main goal. It is now home to patients too evil to be housed elsewhere, who have been the victims of the most twisted experiments. All that pain has not been kind to this group of demented characters, who range in age, size and species.

This is the attraction’s eighth year, but the first year at its new 16,000-square-foot facility near the Portage lakefront park. The chills begin before entering the front door of the hospital as unusual-looking and odd-size creatures stroll out and right into your comfort zone.

Guests are left on their own to walk and sometimes feel their way through a maze of various sights, sounds and experiences that will surely touch on a phobia or two.

Don’t like the sight of blood? Well, I guess you could always close your eyes, but then again not seeing what awaits you would likely be worse in this house of mayhem.

Valparaiso resident Eric Hoffman and his wife, Dawn, who are big fans of haunted houses, said they put the visits on hold as their more reluctant children were growing up.

But after creeping along through the halls of the Haunted Hills Hospital this year as a family, Eric Hoffman said he decided to try to make it an annual outing.

Even son Evan Hoffman, who was hesitant to take part in the family outing, gave the attraction a thumbs up after racing out of the exit with the others.

“It was a good haunted house,” he said.

Ernie and Mary Freiberg needed no persuading to check out the expanded attraction.

The couple are such big fans of haunted houses that they drove 129 miles from their home in Michigan to visit after learning about it from a sign along a nearby highway.

“Awesome,” he said after wandering out the exit door.

[Photo by: John Luke, The Times]