Have you ever wanted to play a part in a horror story? To experience the thrills and chills of immersing yourself in a twisted plot unfolding right before your eyes? My answer to both questions is “yes,” and I had the chance to have such an experience when I attended Delusion. This attraction is not simply a maze or Halloween haunt. It’s dark theatre that requires guests to do more than just watch—they want them to join in on the action.
Delusion is the brainchild of writer and director Jon Braver who’s worked on major films, including The Dark Knight Rises, Ironman and Indiana Jones 4. Suffice it to say, his background has equipped him with the knowledge of engaging storytelling. The event started in 2011 and has continued with new iterations every year, such as “The Blood Rite” in 2012 and “His Crimson Queen” in 2016. The production was forced to go silent in 2020 but has returned full force this fall season with “Reaper’s Remorse.”
In the past, the event has taken place at various venues in Los Angeles, and the stage for this year is Phillips Mansion in Pomona, California. The building is a landmark and became part of the National Registry of Historical Places in 1974. It’s named after its creator, Louis Phillips, who had the structure built in 1875 for himself and his wife Esther. Interestingly, he was, for a period of time, the richest man in L.A. county. Although I couldn’t track down accounts of any real ghost sightings around the property, its architectural design is called Second Empire, also referred to as haunted mansion style.
For the storyline, the creators decided to resurrect Mrs. Esther Phillips and put her at the center of this fictional tale. In it, she lives alone surrounded by memorabilia and heirlooms that are haunted by the spirits of their deceased owners. There is one possession she prizes greatly but can’t go near, so she needs the help of us invitees to do so.
Arriving at the property made me feel as if I traveled back in time. While the mansion has been renovated over the decades to preserve it, the building still retains its 19th century splendor. As my group and I waited our turn to be summoned, we explored the grounds. Around the side of the house was an open basement just waiting for anyone daring to descend its dirt stairs, and since I had time to kill, I thought, “Why not?”
It was used as a burial place, and the cadaver I saw lying there appeared to have died in agony. The bowels of the structure were dusty, eerie and cold. The adventure hadn’t even begun and already I had stumbled upon a corpse! Inside the home were lounge areas, referred to as the “open world,” where people could look at artifacts, recline and enjoy a cocktail.
When we were called, we gathered with other attendees in a separate portion of the house to commence our quest. Mrs. Phillips greeted us in the first chamber and had everyone drink a mysterious concoction before proceeding. She held a bag that carried important contents and needed to be put in the hands of one of the guests for the duration of our stay. My husband was chosen as the lucky soul to protect the satchel. What followed was quite an engaging experience.
We were taken throughout the manor, guided by characters where we witnessed the story unfold bit by bit. Since this is an immersive attraction, individuals were invited to take part in scenes to unlock secrets and progress our party further. One brave participant got into a bed while we gathered around to learn what tragedy happened in that space. At one point, Mrs. Phillips beckoned me to enter a dilapidated room where she sat me in front of a piano and instructed me to play it.
There was so much that happened during the trek. We crawled, ascended shadowy staircases, explored dark corners and encountered many sinister figures. We also traversed the property out to the barns to piece together more of the puzzle. Delusion is far more than a maze, and “Reaper’s Remorse” was an intriguing narrative to take part in. I’m looking forward to seeing what this production has in store for next year.
If you’re curious to experience this event and discover the mystery, you still have time! It’s continuing through November 21st. There are designated time slots, and the duration is about 90 minutes. Dress comfortably as you’ll be exploring a sizeable mansion, as well as the property surrounding it. General admission and VIP tickets are available, and prices start at $89.99.
For more information, visit the Enter Delusion official website.