Once we were seated in the living room and watching the hysterical video on the television, we were abruptly thrown into the madness known as “Raven’s Grin Inn.” Without warning, the tour started off with a few good startles and scares while the owner of the property informed us of the history of the home; which had previously been a speakeasy, a brothel, a schoolhouse and a car dealership. We were also told of true haunting experiences that had been seen and heard in the home and we were encouraged to keep an eye out for similar experiences later in the tour.
We were then led into an equally unusual kitchen, featuring such random trickery including, but not limited to, hidden passageways, Nosferatu Santa and a small Cobra in a cap, all of which are a must see. The tricks, the startles and the tour then continued to the upstairs, down a one story slide, upstairs again and upstairs yet again, through multiple rooms filled with some of the most unique and twisted handmade artwork and props that I have ever seen, and then down another slide… an indoor slide… that is at least three stories tall, probably more. I watched as guests were assisted through preparation for the slide, which consisted of lying down on a surface similar to an ambulance stretcher, getting wrapped up in blankets so that all traction is lost, and being dropped straight down a slide…a very tall slide. I have an awful fear of falling, so I, thankfully, was given the option to opt out of the slide. The tour guide led me through the home and into the wine cellar of the home (essentially the basement underneath the basement) where the brave patrons that faced the downward plummet on the slide were waiting. The wine cellar, as it was described, is one of the most paranormally active areas in the home. We were told of a couple more ghost stories originating from that room and we were led up the stairs to the basement, which was filled with even more demented works of art, tricks of the mind and scares that had a sense of humor. We traveled through the basement, up a tunnel to the outside of the home for another trek through the obscene sets designed on site, through the back of a legit hearse and eventually we met the end of the tour. I can’t be positive of exactly how many times we went up a story, down a story, through the outside and back again because the layout of this home is so disorienting, I had no idea where I was at times.
Our tour guide, (who is also creator and mastermind of the Inn, as well as owner of the home) Jim, is a natural entertainer. If you are planning on visiting the Raven’s Grin Inn, try to do so after the Halloween season so you are guaranteed to be guided through the funhouse by its creator. All of the staff that I have ever come into contact with at the Inn were awesome, but it appears that Jim knows the house probably more than the back of his hand and the joy he radiates by playing with people’s minds on the tour is contagious.
The entire trip to the Raven’s Grin Inn was simply awesome. It is so unique and so astonishing that it is almost impossible to explain. The only way I can think to effectively describe it is, if the fictional character, Willy Wonka, designed a haunted house, it would be very similar to what Jim has created. It is a phenomenal display of illusion, shocks, laughs, creativity and just great entertainment. It is most definitely worth the trip to Mount Carroll, Illinois and totally worth the admission price to witness the maniacal madness otherwise known as the Raven’s Grin Inn.
It’s just flipping weird in there.
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