‘The Horror House’ at the festival introduces you to spooky creatures from Emirati folklore
One of the coolest – and scariest – activities at the 18th edition of the Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD) is the Horror House, which lets visitors take a tour of a spooky traditional palm frond house “inhabited” with ghosts and spirts from the old myths and folklore of the UAE. These stories were popular among the older generation, and in an effort to keep them alive and entertain the new generation, Talal Al Balushi and his team have set up a hair-raising walk-through experience with the most famous haunted creatures to scare the living daylights out of you.
Visitors can enter the house through a black curtained doorway and step into narrow and winding corridors – there is no turning back – and come face-to-face with djinns, demonic creatures and corpses. Except that you don’t know when exactly you’re going to encounter them, adding to the bloodcurdling suspense.
“We devised this experience as a game for children and families as a way to relieve the old stories of Emirati folklore we grew up hearing, and to let people experience them in a theatrical way,” says Al Balushi, who is dressed in a scary costume himself.
Those entering the chilling halls – literally, with the air-conditioning turned down to the extreme – with eerie smoke and light effects, can expect to encounter characters like Umm Al Duwais, a beautiful female djinn surrounded in a haze of sweet perfume; Baba Daryah, a male ghost who haunted fishermen out at sea at night; Abu Salasel, a red-skinned creature covered in metal chains, and many more. Enter if you dare!