"The 99" is a walkthrough theater that depicts theleading causes of death for teenagers and young adults.
"The 99" is housed in an 20,000 sq. ft. inflatable tent at Studio 28 in Wyoming.
WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) -- Accidents related to texting while driving are a leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults, and a traveling exhibit in Wyoming called "The 99" is trying to bring that statistic to life.
The back lot of the old Studio 28 movie theater on 28th St. SW has all the looks of an old-fashioned revival meeting. But the creators of "The 99" say it's more about survival than revival.
"It's a reality theater that deals with the leading causes of death," says spokesman Patrick Evans.
"We focus on helping people make the right choices by showing them the end result of poor choices," says Terry Henshaw, director and co-creator of "The 99."
The 20,000 square foot tent has 13 rooms, each with a scene portraying real-life situations, including a car accident.
"We have a wreck scene where a group of kids has been texting and has hit a family, and everything is real," says Henshaw.
Other scenes depict drug use, cutting, and suicide.
Local churches and community groups provide volunteer actors for the scenes, and area police and firefighters advise the directors how to make the scenes more realistic.
The demonstrations are not meant to be like a Halloween haunted house, but the simulations can affect visitors so much that the directors have counselors on hand to provide help to visitors coming out of the tour. The counselors will also help people who may be in danger of making poor life choices.
"Every person is invited to sit down if they have any issues in their life," Henshaw says. "If they are going through any depression or loneliness, or maybe there are problems at home, abuse, or if they don't have anybody to listen to them at all.
"They are invited to sit down with people who will listen, who will talk to them, who will encourage them. Basically, we will feel their pain."
"I was really impressed," says Geoff Brown, who saw "The 99" on Friday. "It was really touching. It really shows what a teen or some adults are really going through right now."
"Very interesting," says Jennifer Tejes. "I'm more concerned for my children than I ever was. Every day we drive and everyday we go somewhere, and we don't realize that if we die we're gone. When we die, we are going either to heaven or hell, and that's really hard for me."
"The 99" will be open Friday through Sunday for three consecutive weekends, beginning July 16. The tour's hours are 7-11 p.m.