‘Nightmare on Old 69’ to depict real-life horrors of drug addiction


GOOD HOPE – Many groups put on horror houses in the days and weeks leading up to Halloween, but Church 212 has decided this year to get really frightening by depicting the real-life horror of drug addiction based on the experiences of actual victims of addiction from the Cullman area.  The event will be called “Nightmare on Old 69” (The church is located at 4690 County Road 437, still known to many locals as “Old Highway 69.”), and will take place at the church on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings before Halloween, Oct. 26-28, from 7-10 p.m.

Pastor Chris Harrison told The Tribune, “It’s kind of an updated version of the old ‘judgment houses’ that they used to have around the county around Halloween.  And it kind of has a dual purpose, so it’s not just about knowing God, and heaven and hell. But it’s about one of the greatest epidemics that we’ve ever seen in our day, as far as the opiate epidemic: drugs- heroin and meth, and that kind of thing.

“The storyline is going to actually follow an ex-drug addict and a current drug addict, and actually it’s going to be based on, part of the story’s going to be based on, some real people, some things that actually happened with real people that we know, that have given us permission to use their story, but not their names.”

Included among the stories will be one from a local family who lost a child to a drug overdose.

Said Harrison, “This will be sobering and will have some jump scare moments.  We expect some 1,500 people to go through. This is not a 212-only thing. It’s hosted there, but several Baptist churches will be joining together to make this a massive success.  We need actors, counselors, volunteers.”

Volunteers will have information available for people or families dealing with both drug abuse and mental health issues like depression or suicidal thoughts.  The church has partnered with Preventive Action of Cullman, and also plans to bring licensed addiction and mental health counselors to the event to be available for visitors.

“The whole goal is to- as a church, of course, for us, the most important thing is to present the Gospel in a very clear way, that people will come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Harrison. “And, as a secondary goal, we want people to be aware that, in our community, drug addiction doesn’t look like somebody on a street with a needle in their arm. It looks like regular people that go to school and go to church with you and are leaders.  It looks like normal, everyday people. It doesn’t always look like the ugly thing that we think it is.

“People can be struggling with addiction and with suicide- both of those issues will be talked about during the flow of the story line, and we want them to know it can be anybody, it can look like anybody.  The ultimate goal is to get people set free from addiction, suicidal thoughts, and ultimately pointed to Jesus Christ as the answer, because for us, we believe ultimately that’s the answer.”

Harrison warned that “Nightmare on Old 69” will be an intense “PG-13” event featuring frightening images and scenarios.

Church 212 is seeking volunteers to help out: actors and set builders, as well as people to be encouragers and prayer partners to supplement the work of professional counselors for visitors who may express a need for help.  If you or your church/organization are interested in helping, visit http://church212al.com/ or www.facebook.com/212cullman/ or call 256-841-5735.

Admission to Nightmare on Old 69 is free. Church 212 is located at 4690 County Road 437.

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