Corn mazes are built to lose visitors. But one farm in Danvers, Mass. actually did! Police rescued a family who called 911 in October 2011 only 25 feet from the entrance, desperate to make it out before it got dark. If you regularly watch the news or late night television, you probably heard of it. It is easy to get lost in a corn maze. They are built to do exactly that. But in most mazes, it is hard to get lost for hours.
This guide to finding your way out of a corn maze is built with two people in mind. Those that are lost right now. And those that are a bit nervous about going to the corn maze and want to be prepared.
If you are lost right now, it is time to STOP AND ASSESS.
Is it an emergency? If so, you should call 911 immediately. Tell them the name of the farm, your best guess as to your location in the corn maze, and the nature of the emergency.
If no, continue the assessment. Look at your cell phone battery and signal strength. If you have a fully charged battery and four bars, that’s best. You can always call for help. Do you have the phone number for farm? Can you look it up? Anyone who you can call who can look it up?
Also consider how much longer there is until nightfall. Do you have any light sources such as a flashlight or glow sticks? Can you download a light app on your phone?
If you have plenty of cell phone power, a light source (whether the sun or something artificial), and a desire to continue, it is time to decide which way to go. Do you have a GPS or compass with you? Can you download one of these apps for your phone?
If you do, and you have a map or a sense of the direction that you entered, you should be able to find your way out using the GPS. Keep your group together and move in that direction until you find your way out. If you don’t, in most mazes, if you hold your hand on the left or right wall of corn, you will eventually find your way back out (unless there are bridges, crossovers, or nonobvious corn islands). Another technique is to retrace your steps and look for metacognitive signals such as trash along the trail that you recognize.
When you are ready to admit defeat and give up, look for an employee. Some corn mazes hand out flags to signal employees when the visitor is totally lost and ready to be led out of the maze. Others have watch towers, call boxes and corn cops that will render assistance to you. Or ask other patrons the way. As a final resort, try yelling.
If you are standing in the middle of a corn field reading this, good luck! If you need – do call 911!! That’s what they are there for. Emergency responders will come. Good corn maze operators pre-plan with emergency personnel and provide them maps. But now we’re going to move on to a few preventative strategies that you should have followed and will help those that are nervous about getting lost in a corn maze in the future.
If you are prepared, you shouldn’t end up reading this page on your cell phone like they did above. Don’t go at night, so that you have plenty of time to make it out of the maze. Charge your phone battery so that you can always call the farm or 911 for help. And download the flashlight and GPS apps for your phone detailed earlier. If you are still nervous, download and practice a corn maze app.
Upon arriving at the farm, note the safety measures of the farm so that you can take advantage of them if you get lost. Not all corn mazes will have all safety measures. Be sure to know which ones yours has before stepping into the maze. They should be explained to you by employees at some point. Or they should be obvious if you look for them while starting out on the trail. Watch towers, corn cops, maps, flags or other methods will be available to help you.
It’s not unusual to get lost. One difficult maze reported that 10 % of people gave up. But corn mazes are prepared for it to happen. And you should rest a bit easier knowing that a good corn maze won’t close until all the people are out. They keep count and have staff walk the maze. If you keep your head, you’ll make it out just fine.