The Torture Show

by Mark Frierson


When I was a kid, my parents would take me to the fair each year.  They really liked to see all of the exhibits and shows that would come to the fair.

I remember this one particular show, I think it was at the Florida State Fair. It had this really graphic front painted on it.  It was mounted on a large semi truck trailer.  The front was covered with a giant painted interior.  It looked like this huge underground dungeon. There were people painted all over the front, you know they looked like tortured souls.  They were chained up, broken on the wheel, branded, hanging from  their arms, all kinds of other torture was going on right there in front of my eyes.  What I found to be highly unusual was that everywhere these people had severed limbs or injuries they weren't bleeding red blood.  There was this clear liquid coming out of all of their wounds, it looked exactly like saliva or Kero syrup.  It was the craziest thing, some how it made it look more grotesque than if it had of been red.  The show had this bally tape it kept repeating, "You are going to hear the screams of the tortured. You are going to witness the terror on their faces. You are going to smell the burning human flesh!!"  


Well, out in back of the trailer they had this barbecue grill where they were burning pieces of leather.  Then they would blow the smoke and smell out onto the midway.  When you are a kid you look up at this monstrous front with all the horrifying stuff painted on it, you smell what the bally tape says is human flesh and you get these incredibly horrific images in your head.   I was terrified my father was going to take me in there.  I did not want to see it. 

Years later I was telling Ward Hall about my experience with this show.  He began to laugh and said there wasn't anything on the inside except these little miniature dioramas.  It was a whole lot of hoopla over nothing.  But it really did scare me.


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