I first heard about The Tension Experience in late February from friends that described it as an interactive haunt. The thing that drew me in and got me obsessed with checking their website and social media was the puzzles hidden throughout. I didn’t label The Tension Experience in the title of this blog as I normally would because honestly I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not a haunt or a puzzle game, it’s an…experience. So far I’m not clear of the purpose of it all, nor am I concerned, I’m just enjoying the ride.
The Tension Experience website allows participants to complete a fairly lengthy, personal questionnaire. After that everyone’s experience is unique. So far my journey has allowed me to have a few email and phone interactions with the OOA Institute that resulted in a live meeting in downtown Los Angeles.
I will do my best to describe my experience exactly as I remember it.
My meeting took place on April 30th at 8:05pm. I was given very specific instructions to arrive at a designated location alone and wait for my cell phone to ring. I waited on the corner near the bus stop watching people arrive and depart for several minutes when I heard that glorious Dr. Who theme song (my ringtone) begin.
I answered and the voice on the other end instructed me to raise my right hand. I stood on the corner with my hand raised high above my head as a young, nicely dressed woman approached. She embraced me in the kind of hug your grandmother gives when she hasn’t seen you since last Christmas and started telling me how excited she was for me. She gripped my arm tightly and we walked arm in arm like schoolgirls down the dark Los Angeles sidewalk. After a short walk she paused, had me sign a waiver and then asked if I trusted her. I assured her I did and she handed me a hood to place over my head. She then gently guided me through a doorway, down a hall and into an elevator. While in the elevator that felt as though it was traveling to a basement she continued to compliment me until I asked her name. This seemed to fluster her a bit and she explained to me very thoroughly that her name, Talia, was not important and she was the lowest of the low. Then she left me alone outside of the elevator still blinded by the hood to contemplate why I deserved Enlightment and wait for someone higher up to fetch me.
While I stood alone in the darkness with my thoughts someone approached and whispered the question, “What makes you so special?” Then after some pause stated, “I don’t think you are special.” Then they vanished.
After what seemed like an eternity, someone approached me and grabbed my shoulders to push me quickly down more hallways to a room where I was placed in front of a mirror still wearing the hood. I was asked why I had come. Then over the next several minutes I was allowed to remove the hood but only gaze directly at my reflection in the mirror while handing off my cell phone and answering questions being rapidly fired my way. “What’s your name?” “What have you done to improve yourself today?” “What have you done to improve humanity today?” “Are you a good person?” “Who is your best friend?” “Who knows you better…your best friend or your cell phone?” “Are you a good person?” “What’s the worst things you’ve every done to another person?” “What’s your biggest regret?” “Are you a good person?” Then I was told by a male voice that it only takes 2 minutes to completely download the information from a cell phone and they had done that. I was instructed to replace the hood on my head and shoved back down the hallway that smelled of burning candles to have my phone placed in my hand as a woman’s voice told me that they were not who they seemed and gave me instructions to look my attendant in the eyes and say something specific once my hood was removed. I was then passed off to Talia and escorted in the elevator and back to the entrance. We had a quick exchange and then I was heading back with instructions not to interact with anyone between there and my car. The entire experience took about 40 minutes.
I was not allowed to mention anything of my experience until after all applicants had completed their experiences that evening. Lucky for me I only had to wait about 15 minutes.
It was all quite exciting and fun. Well, that first moment when my phone was removed from my hand was a bit stressful. It’s not everyday unlock my phone and give it to a total stranger.
I was surprised to find the above photo of myself hooded in front of the mirror in my photo gallery.
I have since been checking The Tension Experience forums and sharing stories with other participants about their experiences with the OOA. You can visit the forum and even participate once you create an account on the site. Participants also discuss theories about the experience as well as plan meet ups and discuss puzzles on the site. It’s quite a community.
If this blog post has peaked your interest be sure to check out the site. Anyone can be part of the online action, however live events appear to only be happening in the Los Angeles area. Not only is it a unique and thrilling experience, so far it’s been free.
You will only get out of The Tension Experience what you put into it. So join the community and get active.
Update 1: I received this tweet tonight which has me excited for what’s to come.
Update 2: The OOA is always watching!!! Within minutes of posting this blog and sharing it on Twitter (around 2 am) I received a surprising call on my cell phone from a blocked number. The mysterious voice on the other end called me by name and then proceeded to tell me something to the effect of my account of the event had been noticed and I had done some good in light.