America is falling in love with this adorable haunted house grandma.

You cautiously follow a dark hallway into a cramped, cinder block room.

Through the dim lighting, you can see that it looks to be a hospital room of some kind. On one side, an elderly patient lies lifeless, strapped to a gurney. (It's just a doll, but still — it's super creepy.)

Then you see her. An old woman, sitting in a wheelchair wearing a floral robe. She's bludgeoning a nurse with a bloody wrench as she wails: "You can't make me eat any more peas and carrots! I won't do it!"


Mary-Lou Williams knows her way around a wrench. All photos by Kevin Williams, used with permission.

If you're me, you run screaming from the premises and never return.

But this actually happens every night at the Warehouse of Fear in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, one of the areas most popular Halloween attractions.

That haunted house grandma is no teenager in makeup, though. She's Mary Lou-Williams, a local 93-year-old who knows how to have a good time.

2016 marks her fifth year as an actress with the haunted house, which her son, Kevin, helps manage.

She's not the world's biggest Halloween fan, but when her son asked her to help out, she figured, why not? "When you get older like I am, anything you can do, you better hop at the chance," she said.

The whole, twisted gang. Mary-Lou is right-center in the red pants.

During the first year of the attraction, Mary-Lou played an unassuming women in a quiet but spooky living room scene. Her feet rested on a bear skin rug. The bear, by the way, had killed her character's husband. And you were going to be next.

This year, Mary-Lou has finally graduated from merely uttering cryptic things to haunted house goers. Now, she's the one swinging the wrench, and she's giving it everything she's got.

"They'll be some of them so scared, they don't want to go into the next room," she joked. "It's just fun."

Murderous nursing home patient might be Mary-Lou's oddest job to date, but her life story is anything but boring.

In 2015, Mary-Lou played the role of a mental patient at the Warehouse of Fear.

She worked in factories most of her life, she said, including a cannery, then a muffler shop. Later, she found work at a laundromat. In between, there were various gigs loading and unloading packages. She worked until she was 78 years old.

In other words, Mary-Lou is not a woman who shies away from a tough job.

She gets paid a small hourly rate to work the haunted house, but that's not what motivates her.

"I just like doing it, and I like all the people," she said. "They're all really nice."

Now, she spends her days with her family, taking cabs to the market, and getting pedicures. And, of course, she also frightens the bejesus out of the local youths come Halloween, too.

"I thank the Lord to be able to do it," she said. "There's a lot of young people that's worse off than I am, so I just enjoy every minute of it."

Once the rush of fear has died down, a lot of the visitors are happy to meet and talk with Mary-Lou, too.

Many of them, even ones who have never met her, call her grandma.

That's what keeps her coming back year after year.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."