Literally a Haunted House at Culbertson Mansion Review 2013

The classic monsters of the silver screen and Gothic literature come to life for Halloween 2013 at the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany!

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”
– Dr. Pretorius, “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935)

For the last 28 years, Literally a Haunted House at 914 East Main Street (corner of 10th and Main) in New Albany, IN has been putting on its annual volunteer haunted house fundraiser. Every penny earned goes into the restoration and preservation of the Second Empire-style mansion which was built in 1867. Since 1985, the haunt has raised over $700,000, and the results are available for everyone to see because the (literally) haunted mansion is open to visitors every Tuesday through Saturday from 9AM until 5PM.

Literally a Haunted House haunts the Carriage House in the back of the mansion every Halloween, and it’s open every Friday and Saturday night in October from 7PM until around midnight or until every last visitor comes running out the exit. Admission is $13 per person.

Holly Crisler is the SpookMaster in charge of organizing her volunteer staff and coming up with a new theme every year. This season the Culbertson crew has drawn inspiration from both Gothic literature and the vintage black-and-white images of classic monster movies to give guests a modern jolt of traditional Halloween magic. Crisler isn’t just recycling old monster movie scenes; each set piece and monster is Culbertson’s own unique spin on these well-known vintage creature features resulting in scenes that are at once familiar and fresh.

The creepy journey begins at the gates of a fogbound cemetery where you’ll have to make your way through a clan of hissing vampires that have just risen from their graves for their nightly feeding. Once you’ve climbed the stairs to the Carriage House, you’ll find yourself witness to a Salem-style witch burning. Unfortunately, you’ll be standing in the center of a demonic pentagram and the witch’s final curse awakens all the horrific monsters of history as her revenge upon her tormentors.

As you climb up and down the stairs of the two story Carriage House, you’ll run afoul of werewolves, re-animated corpses, mummies and spooks of every size. This year there is one brief, dark area that you’ll have to navigate that will “shock” you if you’re forced to touch the walls to find your way, but 90% of the haunt is well lit enough not to cause panic for those younger guests who might be afraid of the dark.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of readers ask me if there were any haunted houses in town that were suited for younger kids. As always, Literally a Haunted House gets my highest recommendation as a “starter” haunted house for kids in the 7 to 10 year age range that express interest in visiting a haunted house this Halloween. You’ll see a lot less gore and twisted, adult themed imagery here than in most of the other haunts in the region. No one will touch or grab you, and there is nothing on display that amounts to more than a soft PG-13 rating.

However, that doesn’t mean the actors in Literally a Haunted House are pushovers! They will definitely try to scare you, and you’ll be subjected to several startling jump scares as you make your way through the haunt.

The set design is really great this year, especially in the mummy’s tomb and the monster’s laboratory. The costumes and monster make-ups are also top notch. The Creature from the Ohio River looks fantastic (even in blue jeans!), the mummy looks every year of his age and the unique spins on the werewolf and the Frankenstein monster are creative successes.

If I had one critique of Literally a Haunted House, it would be Jack the Ripper’s choice of weaponry near the climax. It’s seems Jack must have had a time machine and traveled forward in history to steal the signature murder weapon of choice from a more modern silver screen slasher! It seemed a little out of context given the classic horror theme, but I can’t say it doesn’t work as a finale. It certainly sends guests out the door with a buzz.

There’s a lot more happening at Culbertson Mansion this Halloween than just the haunted house. You can attend the Children’s Storytelling with the Queen of Halloween session on Saturday and Sunday of October 19th and 20th and October 26th and 27th at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30PM. Cost is only $2 per adult and $1 per child.

You can take the Ghostly Happenings Tour of the mansion itself on October 22nd, 24th, 29th and on Halloween night at 7:30PM. Cost is $15 per person and advanced reservations and payment are required.

On Monday, October 14th, you can have Halloween Tea with the Queen of Halloween which includes finger food and ghost stories inside the mansion for $15 per adult and $8 per child. Costumes are welcome. Advanced reservations and payment are required.

If you’ve ever wanted to spend the night in a real haunted mansion, you can on Saturday, November 2nd from 6PM until 6AM at the Ghost Watch Undertaking Sleepover. You’ll get a candlelight dinner, a ghost tour of the mansion and a scavenger hunt before trying to make it through the night. You can roam the mansion’s halls and rooms freely all night if you dare. Cost is $100 per person and advanced reservations and payment are required.

Call (812) 944-9600 or email for more information or to make reservations.

The Phantom of The Ville

Write a Review


Comments are closed.