Woman stabs friend at haunted house after thinking knife was fake
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - (CBS 8) A man left a suburban Nashville haunted house with a stab wound to the arm on Friday, leading the attraction to place an employee on leave while police pursued an investigation.
James "Jay" Yochim traveled with three friends to Madison that night to visit Nashville Nightmare, a horror-thrill campus with four separate "haunted houses," an escape room, carnival games, food vendors and more.
He was especially excited about Nashville Nightmare, having previously enjoyed other attractions by the Texas-basproduction company, Thirteenth Floor Attractions.
"Halloween is, ask any of my friends, my favorite time of year," Yochim said in an interview.
Before the night took a turn for the truly macabre, Yochim and his friends enjoyed character actors in a courtyard space and carnival games, he said.
Yochim's group started laughing and joking with someone they thought was a cast member. At one point, he handed Yochim's friend, a knife and told her to stab him with it, as retribution for a teasing joke.
"Keep in mind, we'd been chased by chainsaws, holding other weapons, all kinds of stuff all night, and it was all fake," he said. "So she stabs at me with it, and everything got really black."
Yochim looked down: He saw blood pouring from a knife wound that went clear through his forearm.
"The thing I remember is the guy who gave it to her kind of freaking out," he said, "and saying things like, 'Oh, I didn't know my knife was that sharp. I didn't know. I'm so sorry.'"
Yochim's memory is hazy, but he remembers lying on a table as cast members tried to keep him conscious and his friend "bawling" next to him.
Yochim's wound required nine stitches. The stab missed major arteries, bones and tendons, but his doctor is still carefully monitoring the healing process.
No charges had been filed as of Tuesday.
"No one wants to stab their friend," he said. "I've been stabbed and I still can't even imagine what it's like to accidentally hurt your friend like that."
To enter the attraction, visitors go through metal detectors, which Yochim said were "very thorough and attentive." Weapons are prohibited inside.
Nashville Nightmare organizers issued a statement Tuesday evening:
"As we have continued to review the information, we believe that an employee was involved in some way, and he has been placed on leave until we can determine his involvement. We are going over all of our safety protocols with all of our staff again, as the safety and security of all of our patrons is always our main concern."
The company behind the haunted attraction has operated around Nashville for the past eight years, and has not reported other security issues or serious injuries in that time.
"We have enjoyed a good reputation in this community, and our goal is always to host a festive, safe and professionally run Halloween event," Nashville Nightmare's statement indicated.