For the second year in a row, the Paxton Manor has been transformed into a Halloween attraction, and opens to the public this Friday.
Twenty six rooms will resemble an old hotel and the souls of those who operate it. Underneath, the Haunted Well of Souls will await everyone who dares to enter, which is located inside the dark dirt basement.
“The house is completely different than last year,” said Executive Director Jen Lassiter. “Anyone that toured last year and thinks, ‘Been there, done that’ they couldn’t be more wrong.”
Built in the late 1800s, Paxton Manor Inn is filled with large rooms and dark halls run by the mysterious Mrs. Scarlet.
Built over a large array of caverns and an underground lake, the secret entrance lies deep in the basement, a well, dated older than the mansion. Over the years many strange and horrific events have taken place in the rooms, trapping restless souls to haunt the halls.
“The cool thing about the story is there really is a well in the basement. You go right by it and see it,” Lassiter said. “There really are caverns and an underground lake under the Paxton Campus so just because we call it a legend doesn’t mean it’s not real.”
Lassiter said this is the first year that the basement will be open to the public. Brick walls, old furnaces and dirt floors are just some of the features that came along with the house.
“It was creepy before we started working in it,” said Matt Smith, who was responsible for this year’s haunt design and build. “The basement is going to be amazing.”
According to Smith, the entire process began as early as February this year. It’s not your typical haunted house, he said, and it’s guaranteed to scare anyone who goes through.
“It’s definitely going to be worth it,” Smith said, adding that even those who have seen it during the day have been spooked. “Every time we get a new group to go in there it’s another test. It’s going to great.”
Unlike last year, all of the actors have been trained. were held back in July to make sure this year’s show surprises people.
“I am excited by the professional level of our show,” Lassiter said. “There is no way you can through without being scared.”
Lassiter said the wonderful thing about putting together is it’s all about the kids. All proceeds raised from the event will benefit The Paxton Campus, which includes the Aurora School, the and the Advocacy Center.
“It’s my job to do the fundraising for the campus,” Lassiter said. “Whenever it comes to Shocktober, it’s fun in a whole different kind of way. It’s not a golf tournament; it’s not a gala or an auction. I have really learned to enjoy the fun people have going through the house and to know it’s raising money for our campus is awesome. It’s a win win.”
The haunted attraction begins this Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. and will run each weekend leading up to Halloween. During the day, a number of family friendly activities will be available including a fun house, which will feature mazes, black lights, and ball pits.
At night, all three attractions will be rated PG-13. Tarot card readers, hypnotists, face painting, and other activities will take place, including a coffin simulator, which will make you feel as if you’re being buried alive. Visit www.shocktober.org for more information including times and ticket prices.