"Rides are safe," they said. "Calm down and eat your cotton candy," they said. Then my coaster slid backwards down a steep hill, mid-climb and it was all over.
I wish I could go back in time to before my ride in the Hypersonic XLC at King's Dominion in Virginia. Right before the ride malfunctioned. Not because anything happened, but because it ruined me, and now I'm scared of rides.
Whether you love them or hate them, let's all get a little panicky together with this list of 10 scary amusement park rides, as described by me, a person terrified by every single one of them.
Flying FuryLocation: Europark Idroscalo in Milan, Italy
I am especially terrified of any ride that puts someone other than trained professionals in charge, and this one does just that.
Riders are given a joystick with which they can control the four-passenger mini-plane. Giving untrained pilots the power to attempt stunts such as barrel rolls and 360-turns, while suspended 120 feet above the ground by mystery metal and cables, is absolutely terrifying. I don't even like being a passenger in someone's car, let alone their miniature plane.
I might consider riding it in their advertised "autopilot setting," but that also doubles the speed, which is horrifying.
Giant DiscoveryLocation: Adlabs Imagica Amusement Park in Khopoli, India
It may be hard to tell in this video, but the Giant Discovery makes the list because of its tremendous speed. The 40 people strapped into this giant, creaking pendulum of doom are hitting speeds of up to 70 MPH, 150 feet in the air.
A terrifying bit of trivia from Popular Mechanics: "The mechanical stresses that rides like Giant Discovery produce are particularly grueling and require constant oversight. 'The stresses are extremely severe when you go through a swinging pendulum motion like this because high-reversing loads are disastrous to mechanical and structural systems,' Pribonic says. But when everything checks out and the machine is in full swing, riders can expect an intense experience from the combination of crushing Gs and the dizzying rotations.
X-ScreamLocation: Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas, NV
It might look like a teeter-totter in a children's playground, but this ride is definitely not for kids.
Suspended atop of the 900-foot tall Stratosphere hotel, thrill-seekers are suspended 27 feet off of the edge and tilted toward their death. According to the website the machine uses a "relatively low-tech" magnetic braking system, which is not super comforting language.
Wild Gorge SwingLocation: Oribi Gorge Hotel in South Africa
In the middle of South Africa's Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, atop Lehrs Falls, they are selling heart attacks.
If you've ever wanted to know what it feels like to jump off of a 33-story building, this is your ride. Apparently the sensation is akin to free-falling at 70 mph for 100 meters for about 25 seconds. Unless your heart gives out first.
Nothin' but NetLocation: Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park in Dallas, TX
When I saw the name of this ride, I was really hoping it was just a clever basketball reference. Nope, it's literal -- riders are dropped from a 100-foot platform into a net, wearing a specially-designed harness designed to "make sure" that they land on their backs. Cool, who is doing that? Are they going to personally check mine or will it be a bored 16-year-old transfixed by the Snapchat excitement on her phone?
This ride is so scary that a professor at the Dallas Institute of Technology used it to study the effect of fear on the human perception of the passage of time. You know, as in, "your life flashes before your eyes." If you're going to ride, make sure to tie up loose ends first.
Ejection SeatLocation: Pretty much every State Fair in America
This dude's reaction is the best, by the way.
Usually mounted on a semi-trailer, the Ejection Seat is commonplace at local fairs and carnivals, which feels pretty unsafe for a ride that launches you and your pod-mate 200-feet into the air at speeds up to 60 mph.
The pod is held at the base of the machine by a giant magnet, and once the ropes are pulled taught, the magnet is released. The rocketing the pod passes the fried Oreo stand and into the sky at up to 4.8 Gs.
Oh, okay cool. You first.
BuzzSaw Location: Dreamworld Park in Queensland, Australia
One of Dreamworld's "Big 8" attractions, this 490-foot long steel coaster holds 12 riders and lasts just under one minute. Why is it so scary? It features the tallest inversion (being upside down) in the entire Southern Hemisphere and is the second tallest in the world. Why do I want that? Why is taller, better? Do I get to travel farther, faster, therefore increasing my heart failure?
The concept behind the ride is the story of Jack Darke, a fictional 1800's gold-panner who was killed by a buzz saw. So they named the ride BuzzSaw. Touching. I'll be in the arcade.
EejanaikaLocation: Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshia. Japan
This man is screaming "Oh my god! Ow! Ow my face!" throughout the entire video, which clearly indicates that he is having a swell time.
Eejanaika (or ええじゃないか in Japanese) means "Ain't it great!" They're messing with our heads, guys.
The second 4th dimension roller coaster ever built, Eejanaika is taller and faster than it's predecessor, Six Flags Great Adventure's famous X ride.
A 4th dimension coaster can rotate and spin in any direction, because the tracks have a total of four rails, two of which are used exclusively for spin control. The spin rails move up and down and use rack and pinion gear mechanism. Maybe I would feel better if I understood what that means, but I might also feel a lot worse. Pass.
This spinning, terrifying ride inverts 14 times, which is about how many times my stomach inverted when watching the video.
ColossusLocation: Thorpe Park in the United Kingdom
Ten loops. This thing does 10 loops. I would have to fast for a week to make sure I didn't have anything left in my stomach, in order to not puke everywhere after the first three inversions.
After a steep hill-climb, the Colossus disengages from its chain and twists sharply to the left as it plummets down a 98-foot bank drop and a vertical loop. They don't exactly ease you into it, huh?
Then there's something called an "elongated airtime hill" which passes under the gift shop for the "headchopper effect" (not sure how that's a selling point), and then finishes with an "enclosed cobra roll."
Do any of these things sound good? Does anyone have extra quarters for Pac-Man? I'm going back to the arcade.
Wind ShearLocation: Divo Ostro Amusement Park in Russia
Just outside of St. Petersburg, and hidden deep in the woods for body-burying ease, is Divo Ostro. It's home to the Wind Shear -- A certified vomit-machine which turns clockwise on one side and counterclockwise on the other. If you ignore the two horrible accidents where the cables snapped, it seems pretty safe.
You know what? The Russian music combined with the screams makes this video plenty exciting. No need to ride the real one.