The horror of a haunted house became too real for an 11-year-old visitor last week after one of the attraction’s actors accidentally stabbed him with a real knife.
The child, named Frank, had been about to walk through the popular horror attraction 7 Floors of Hell in Berea, Ohio, when he came across the 22-year-old actor who was dressed in character and holding a large Bowie knife.
Witnesses in the area said actor Christopher Pogozelski was using the knife as a prop to scare people outside the haunted house by dragging it on the ground in front of them, though things got out of hand when he began to stab the ground by the 11-year-old’s feet.
Berea police officers responded to the scene at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds at about 8.15pm local time on Saturday, September 25, following reports a male had been stabbed in the foot.
Frank’s mother, Karen Bednarski, told News 5 Cleveland her son had been visiting the house with his sister and family friends in the hope of having some good, scary fun when the actor walked up to him holding the knife with ‘intentions… to scare him’.
Bednarski said: ‘My son responded to him by saying, ‘That’s fake. I’m not scared.”
In response, Bednarski said Pogozelski began stabbing the ground around Frank’s feet, but got too close and ended up stabbing through the young boy’s sandal, slicing the side of his big toe.
After Frank alerted an adult to the situation, the police were called to the scene and confiscated the knife from the actor, who said he brought the weapon from home.
In a report cited by News 5, Pogozelski admitted that ‘using the knife was not a good idea and that the injury was an accident’, though Bednarski has reportedly disputed the claim of it being an accident.
Rodney Geffert, the president of Night Scream Entertainment, which owns 7 Floors of Hell, said the actor ‘got a little too close’, adding: ‘It was a complete accident and poked the boy’s toe.’
Geffert told CNN 7 Floors of Hell enforces ‘strict rules and protocols’ which restrict actors to only using rubber and foam props, and that Pogozelski ‘did something he wasn’t supposed to be doing’.
He said: ‘He went to his car and did this on his own free will and we don’t tolerate or put up with that.’
Geffert said Pogozelski has since been let go, while Lt. Tom Walker with the Berea Police Department confirmed Pogozelski has been charged.
Walker said he couldn’t explain ‘why he brought the real knife’, noting it was ‘obviously a poor decision on his part to bring a real knife to the fairground’.
Following the incident, Frank is said to have been taken to the first aid area to disinfect the cut, which was about a third of an inch long.
Geffert has expressed his hopes that customers understand Pogozelski’s actions do not reflect their business.
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