NASHVILLE, TN — Put yourself in Tawnya Greenfield’s shoes. She had just been through Nashville Nightmare, a haunted house attraction where costumed ghouls and zombies wielding chainsaws and other terrifying weapons scared the Halloween stuffing out of Greenfield and three of her friends. So when a character actor handed her what she thought was a fake knife and told her to stab her friend, Greenfield played along.
There was nothing fake about the blood that gushed out of James “Jay” Yochim’s arm, though. After he was pierced with the knife that could have caused a lot more damage than it did, the 29-year-old lover of all things Halloween blacked out. He awoke on a table, his crying friend at his side, and cast members trying to keep him conscious and alert.
It took nine stitches to close the wound. The knife cut through Yochim’s forearm, but missed major arteries, bones and tendons, Nashville Metro Police said. Nashville Nightmare says it has placed an employee believed to have been involved on leave pending completion of an investigation.
A horrified Greenfield described the bloody aftermath of the Halloween joke as “something out of a horror scene” in an interview with Nashville television station WZTV.
She and her friends had just been through the attraction on Oct. 5 and were in high spirits when the Nashville Nightmare worker asked if Yochim was giving her a hard time.
He sure had, she joked, and the worker handed her the knife and said, “Well here, stab him,” according to a police report.
It was just more Halloween fun, the group assumed, and she plunged it into his arm.
“Keep in mind, we’d been chased by chainsaws, holding other weapons, all kinds of stuff all night, and it was all fake,” Yochim told The Tennessean. “So she stabs at me with it, and everything got really black.”
Though the memory of the real-life nightmare is fuzzy, Yochim does remember the character actor “kind of freaking out and saying things like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know my knife was that sharp. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.’ “
Living with that must be awful for Geenfield and Yochim said doesn’t hold it against her.
“No one wants to stab their friend,” he told the newspaper. “I’ve been stabbed and I still can’t even imagine what it’s like to accidentally hurt your friend like that.”
In a statement, the organizers of Nashville Nightmare said it is going over its safety protocols, which include metal detectors and onsite medical and security staffs.
“We have enjoyed a good reputation in this community, and our goal is always to host a festive, safe and professionally run Halloween event,” the attraction, which has operated in Nashville through eight Halloween seasons, said in the statement.
Margo Sullivan/Patch file photo
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