There’s something creepy about corn.
Maybe I have psychological damage from growing up in Ohio, but Hollywood seems to think corn is creepy, too.
From "Children of the Corn" to "Signs" to even "Field of Dreams," if there’s one thing I’ve learned from going to the movies, it’s stay out of the (expletive deleted) corn.
Treading through a 10-acre corn maze in the outskirts of Mesa is an adventure for a guy who doesn’t even like corn on the cob. So, I took Cono Vertuccio’s challenge and headed into his corn maze for a sneak peek.
At the entrance, Vertuccio smiles and says, "This is where I usually say ‘I’ll see you in a couple days.’ "
I laugh politely but I’m in no mood.
Don’t joke about the corn, man. Don’t make fun of the corn. Don’t hurt the corn. This is what’s going through my mind — again, thanks to one too many bad horror movies.
"It’s spooky going through it at night," Vertuccio adds.
Then, he leads me in.
This is the sixth year that Vertuccio and his wife, Angela, have created a corn maze behind the couples’ farmers market in Mesa. Each year, a new design provides a challenge for those brave enough to traverse the winding paths of muddy terrain. There are about three miles of trails in this particular design of the Statue of Liberty, which takes three hours to finish.
"We heard about people creating these mazes in other parts of the country and we thought it would be fun," Vertuccio says.
After planting the field, the Vertuccios and Great Adventure Corn Maze come up with a design, which is plotted on a computer and global positioning system (GPS). When the corn is about 3 feet tall, using the GPS mapping system as a guide, the Vertuccios follow the outline, cutting a path with either a lawn mower or a small tractor — and voila, spooky corn maze.
"Even I don’t know my way around sometimes," Vertuccio says, turning around, before leading us to a map marker, the first of several inside the maze.
About 20 yards into the maze I am disoriented. The map at the signpost confirms my fear. I am nowhere near where I thought I was.
After the first half of the maze, where the corn varies in height, the 9-foot-tall stalks seem to blend together. Then, Vertuccio says, "It’s challenging on its own during the day but there’s a whole new characteristic to it at night. You may see the shadow of someone else in front of you or a bird fluttering out of the corn. We tried making it a haunted maze but we really get more out if it this way. Maybe we’ll make it a haunted maze next year."
Haunting the corn maze?
"Cono," I say, "It’s time to go."