Lewisburg Haunted Cave
Overall Score - 7 / 10
Scare Factor - 6.7
Actors - 5.3
Visuals - 6.7
Value - 8.3
Have you visited this haunt? Tell us what you thought!
Todd - The Lewisburg Haunted Cave is quite the experience - but not without its challenges. First - the setting: It's a cave. A real one. Underground. It's massive. This alone makes for an authentic spooky setting. There's no natural light whatsoever, the smallest sounds can echo around bends in the rock and if your claustrophobic, don't even bother. No - you're not going to be reliving "The Descent" or risk having a "127 Hours"-like moment but if the thought of walking around 80 feet underground with countless tons of limestone supporting itself above your head unsettles you, this may not be for you.
So we've got a cave....and a haunted house. Kind of sounds like a perfect combination, right? Well unfortunately that's not entirely true. Here's why...
This haunt feels void of an identity - at least for me. As you walk through it's enormous path you come across inconsistent scenes that have no apparent relation to each other or any form of story to support them. One minute you're walking through a graveyard and the next you're being "shot at" by a pickup truck driving by. Some scenes depict remains of ritualistic activities with some degree of realism, while others look like an aisle at your local Spirit or Halloween Express shop.
...my biggest hangup was a lot of missed opportunity.
The spectrum of props is all over the place. You can find a dummy stuffed with black trash bags and other homemade props right next to an animatronic from PoisonProps that cost more than some visitors make in a month. Professional appearances of scenes are marred by cheap, plastic decorations; it's a shame. Many of the higher grade props' illusions are also tainted by full exposed armatures.
I know I sound harsh here. I WILL recognize that there a lot of logistical challenges with positioning and lighting because, you know, it's a cave. However, I can't get over the fact that despite all of this, my biggest hangup was a lot of missed opportunity. There are a good two or three areas you walk through that are large, wide-open "rooms" which were not utilized at all. No props and any actor interaction was minimal at most. These are the areas I would expect to be heavily staged the most as it could really provide a wealth of interactions. Many of the scenes you see throughout are positioned in the wings of the path, only to be observed like an art exhibit in a museum. In these larger rooms, if the space is afforded it should be utilized! There were also many missed chances to take advantage of misdirection. Many times a prop is used to get people's attention on the left, when the real scare is coming from the right. Most of the time here, you look left and just keep going.
The finale of this haunt really is its shining moment. You confront satan (?) (or a demon) himself, acted with intensity incomparable to the rest of the haunt who explains you must choose your path correctly in order to escape hell and resurface (literally) to the world above. The choices are a series of entryways, only one of which leads you further towards the exit. There's actually series of these which could take a while to successfully navigate, especially if you're easily disoriented.
Most casual haunt fans will not be put off by the items mentioned above. Those afraid of the dark will be much too preoccupied trying to get around to notice. It's also important to re-emphasize that this is a real cave - it's muddy, has very uneven ground in some parts and you'll likely get a little wet. Also, the main entrance and exit is a VERY steep hill and on wet days especially, slipping and falling is very possible so take caution and think ahead before anyone with physical challenges wants to visit. There are alternative entrances to the cave but I am unsure if they are accessible to the public.
The bottom line - if you don't mind a drive out there, this one IS worth your money. Is it perfectly executed? No. However, it's a unique experience and for the most part, family friendly. If this haunt was in a traditional building, it would not score as high - the cave provides enough ambiance for it to work. As a haunt outside of an environment, there's a lot of opportunity for improvement.
Paul - Some haunts automatically get a bump in excitement just based on where the founders chose to build them. Lewisburg Haunted Cave is one of them. Built 80 feet underground in an old limestone mine, the cave is a massive underground cavern that's spooky even without the haunt being set up in it.
Last year was the first visit we made to Lewisburg and I'm glad we went back. The cave is kind of in the middle of nowhere and can be a little bit tough to find, but once you've arrived there is an ample amount of parking and not much question where to go. There isn't a lot above ground to see, but the ticket, concession, and mine tour stands are all there, as well as a few decorations. You can't see much of anything until you get your ticket and start walking down into the earth.
And down into the earth you definitely go, 80 feet from what we were told. This is probably a good time to warn you... This isn't an easy descent, or an easy ascent back to the surface at the end. Shoes/boots with lots of traction are highly suggested and it's about as far from handicapped accessible as you can get. If anyone in your group has difficulty walking on flat ground, they likely won't make it here.
This place is HUGE, and has an absolutely enormous amount of room to pack in the scares.
Once you get to the bottom, you'll walk through one of the longest haunts in the world. It even held the Guinness record for that at one point. This place is HUGE, and has an absolutely enormous amount of room to pack in the scares. Tons of actors, lots of animatronics, and you zig and zag all over. There's a scene where a truck is literally driving around down there right next to you!
There were several scenes that blew me away. The graveyard and the morgue were able to take advantage of the space and they were able to pack some amazing detail in for them. One scene had one of the best uses of a chainsaw I’ve seen, and the final scene is pretty impressive. Just as an example of how much is packed in here… I’ve been to a few haunts where they had a coffin or two that would make noises or someone might jump out of it. There must have been twenty or more here.
As huge as the cave is, this also is a bit of a problem. Some spaces are so huge that they don’t have enough content to fill them. There aren’t enough props, actors, whatever. It’s understandable, but it also takes away from some of the scares. We walked through several places where we were just in a huge “room” with almost nothing in it other than some lights and an animatronic of some kind. Also, the first quarter or so of the haunt has lots of air-powered props that REALLY need mufflers. The noise isn’t painful or anything, it just takes away from the effect of the prop when you just hear the air solenoids making so much noise.
Even with the areas needing improvement, the haunt is still well worth the price of admission. The actors do a decent job and make good use of distraction to get some good scares, the number and quality of the props is well above average, and it’s in a cave under the surface of the earth! It may not be one of the top ten haunts in the country, but it’s a hell of a bang for the buck.
Teresa - Lewisburg Haunted Cave is a really "cool" experience. It is hard to beat a cave (or old mine, in this case) for dark, dank, gloomy atmosphere. It really makes for a unique experience with ambiance in spades. We arrived early, around dusk, and being September and early in the season, we were able to buy our tickets and pretty much walk right in. The ticket prices are very reasonable for the experience you get. There are no skip-the-line passes here, so if you're planning to come on a busy night, plan to take advantage of the concessions or kettle corn available while you wait (there are also portolettes). Also, be warned, this is a full-contact haunt. The actors will touch you. More on that coming up. You should definitely wear sturdy shoes, as you have to walk down a long descent into the cave (and you'll be coming back up at the end, so be ready to work those quads!), and it is very damp and can be slippery. The trail you walk is not paved concrete; it is rather rough and uneven and (did I mention?) damp! This is a very long haunt. The mine is enormous and you will cover a lot of ground. The bridge you walk over at the beginning is one of my favorite parts. It is so dark, and the wood seems old and spongy, and there are sounds in the dark. The path was sometimes obscured by what felt and smelled like real tree branches you had to push past.
...be warned, this is a full-contact haunt...you should definitely wear sturdy shoes...it is very damp and can be slippery. The trail you walk is not paved concrete; it is rather rough and uneven...
There are lots of pneumatic props, everything from simple homemade coffins to giant man-eating behemoths. They rely heavily on these props, having so much space to cover, and some of them are very well-placed and triggered. And they do a good job with actor placement, so they pop out when you least expect it. There are all kinds of creepy things down there, including spiders, cemeteries, cannibals, chainsaws, blasts of fire, and a "devilish" maze. The path you walk is sometimes close and claustrophobic, and sometimes quite the opposite, with the space wide-open, the lighting allowing you to get a sense of just how big some of these rooms are. They are large enough to drive vehicles up next to the path. Parts of it are quiet and dark, and other parts very loud and exciting. There is a maze that can take quite a while to find your way through. I especially liked the lighting in the maze, and how it would occasionally go out, leaving you in darkness. The actors will touch you, but it is not overly aggressive. One might grab your hand and stop you from following your friends. Some of them will caress your hair, or grab your legs as you're walking down a dark passage. I had a few cut off my leg off with a chainsaw. Okay, not really, but they did touch it to my leg. I'd have been a goner if that thing was functional! There were lots of older kids and teens there, so I think the characters inside make sure it is scary, but keep it to a safe level. We saw the line growing as we walked out, and there was a fire performer entertaining people outside. Some haunts are small with tons of detail to wow you, others rely on fabulous character actors to give you nightmares, and yet others excel in unbelievable props, staged to perfection. The star of this one is the cave itself. Anything in there is made creepier just because you know you are inside cave. You're down there in the dark, with things that shouldn't be there.