When going through Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, it’s easy to forget about the real world. For about an hour, you’re immersed in a world of ghouls, zombies and ghosts but what happens to these creatures when the sun rises? Believe it or not, most of them have day jobs.
For the past six years, Tyrell Williams has lived a double life. By day, he’s a mild-mannered office worker and at night, he’s part of the team at one of the nation’s top haunted attractions, Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary.
“In addition to Terror Behind the Walls, for the past five to six years, my day job has been as a rehabilitation specialist. I help people with mental health, special needs and special disabilities,” Williams says.
It’s hard to imagine that someone who spends their days helping people can easily transition into terrorizing them.
“My day job has actually helped me during my time at Eastern State. Here at Terror Behind the Walls, we believe in customer service first and giving the customer that great experience,” Williams says. “When I’m helping or rehabbing my clients, that’s helping them and giving them an experience that makes them feel better. That’s enjoyment for them especially since they often feel ignored, being at Terror does the same thing. It’s the same thing but a little different.”
Justin Sapp-Morton has one of the scariest jobs one could imagine and we aren’t referring to his time spent as the operations manager for Eastern State’s After Dark VIP Tours. Sapp-Morton is also a father of two, with another child on the way.
“I have two daughters and a son on the way, so I’m up at 5 a.m. every day. I get to work at 7 a.m. so I can get a head start on my day and as soon as I’m done there, I head straight to Terror Behind the Walls,” Sapp-Morton says.
Being a full-time dad, a case manager for CareerLink in West Philadelphia and a manager Terror Behind the Walls seems like a lot for one person to juggle but Sapp-Morton seems to take it all in stride and says he has a secret weapon.
“At the end of the day, the individuals that are coming to the haunt and the individuals that are coming to my center are coming there for a service. One is to be frightened out of their mind and the other is to receive the quality care and comforting help that everyone deserves, so I have to put my best foot forward when it comes to both. Customer service is universal. Customer service is key when it comes to getting what you want and need in life, whether it’s a person applying for employment or just giving that good scare, it’s all about giving that person an experience tailored to them,” Sapp-Morton says.