In two seconds, this monster accelerates straight out of the gate to 82 mph via the workings of a powerful hydraulic catapult motor — and pure evil. “Like a monkey being sent into outer space,” was how one guy described the sensation. Other rides are perhaps longer, slicker and more powerful, but sheer speed and angle of ascent and descent make this the Southland's single scariest ride. Xcelerator is themed as a car race, and a stoplight ticks down from red, yellow, to green at the starting line. But be warned: Your car takes off before the green light clicks on, a dastardly trick. Rumor has it that — due to rain, or heat, or passenger weight, or some supreme being's sick sense of humor — the ride sometimes stalls at the top of its infamous “cling for your life to your lap bar” vertical spike, which, viewed from the road driving up to Knott's Berry Farm, looks like a large hairpin standing on end. The entire ride, in fact, when gazed upon in the Farm's cartoon map, looks like the Ebola virus at extreme magnification. Coincidence? I think not.

—Gendy Alimurung

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