The Current

Meet the Queen of Haunts — she makes it her business to frighten you out of your wits

Amber Arnett-Bequeaith is an expert on haunting people. She grew up in the business with her family being involved in the first haunted house. She's now the industry spokesperson.

Making people scream in fear is a family tradition for Amber Arnett-Bequeaith

Amber Arnett-Bequeaith has become an expert in scaring people. She grew up in the business of haunted houses and has a knack for provoking fear and phobias. (Submitted by McBride Media and Marketing)
Listen19:37

Read Story Transcript

As a little girl, Amber Arnett-Bequeaith slept in a coffin for her parents' haunted house attraction.

She grew up in the business of scaring people and as such, making people scream is in her blood.

Arnett-Bequeaith is the spokesperson for America Haunts, which reviews haunted attractions worldwide. 

She told The Current's guest host Laura Lynch how she became known as the Queen of Haunts.

Here is part of that conversation:

Why are you called that?

This industry began back in 1975 [with] the Edge of Hell, which is the very first and the oldest, considered the granddaddy of them all. It is the oldest commercial haunted attraction in the United States.

This was also created by my mother and my grandmother [and] my uncle who I now run the business with. We did a lot of outdoor theatre before we ever did a haunted attraction. So we are much more of a theatrical element. We don't believe in gore or shock. We believe in the haunting and creating memories.

So tell me about those first haunted houses in America.

My great-grandfather was a pastor. The Edge of Hell was based on the essence of heaven and hell, and that if you walk on the edge, you will encounter these sorts of demons. So yes, I'm an expert in fears and phobias and that's what you're trying to provoke ... how you are able to move the mind into a certain area and just for a split second believe that something is real.

The Queen of Haunts hanging out with her pal, Beast. (Submitted by McBride Media & Marketing)

Why do people want to go into a creepy house to be scared?

It is an experience that you don't forget. It is fun to watch people get scared in a safe environment. And you learn a lot about people, how someone reacts — and everyone reacts differently. Some crawl, some cry, some run, some give up their date to the monster and leave them, some pee their pants.

It's also an amazing holiday to get to step outside of who you are. But I think that it's just about those human experiences and being in that environment together creates bonds.

There's a rumour you used to sleep in a coffin. Is that true?

It is. For [our family] we did theatre, everyone worked the show, everyone had a part. And I worked in the room with my mother and then whenever I would grow tired, my uncle would scoop me up and that was just the safest place for me to sleep for the night. It was above the big entry arch door.

I want to ask you — as the Queen of Haunts — what are your plans for Halloween night?

I am going to be trick-or-treating with my twins. Back when I was growing up, my mom always had to work and I always make sure [to] have some time to trick-or-treat with my children. I'm all about the essence of what Halloween is, bobbing for apples and hayrides and going to a haunted house.

Sounds kind of tame, Amber.

Actually no, at the Beast [an America Haunts attraction], you can go down a four-storey slide or you can jump two storeys out of a window.

Thank you very much and Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween. Screams and laughter from Dallas.

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page — including the creator of Miasma, an extreme immersive haunt experience.


This Q&A was edited for clarity and length. Produced by Howard Goldenthal and Danielle Carr.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.