Madame Zola’s Spirit Room

Just a few days ago, my twin brothers took the plunge into official adulthood and turned 30.

My mom, always one to acknowledge big events, secretly invited our whole family to Richmond to surprise my brothers on their birthday. But she wanted to come up with something more exciting than the usual dinner and gifts and cake and ice cream.

So she came up with the idea to try an “Escape Room.” They’ve been popping up everywhere, and who better to try it with than your highly intelligent family?

(Completely unrelated sidenote: they read this blog).

We all met at the Martin’s next to Ravenchase Adventures to surprise the new 30-year-olds. Once they finally arrived and the “Oh, what! I had no idea you would be here!” was over, we all shuttled next door to our Escape Room destination.

We checked in and waited in the lounge for our room to be ready. The room we selected was called Madame Zola’s Spirit Room. Back in the 1892, Madame Zola, communicator of the dead, summoned a spirit of great evil to kill her lover’s mistress. The spirit, however, possessed great power and ended up killing them both. It became our job to free both Madame Zola and the mistress’s souls from the confines of the chamber.

So you know, just another Saturday.

Once we got there, they ushered us into the Room and gave instructions. Basically: try to find an alternative exit other than the one you came through, and don’t destroy our props. Also, there is a Ouija board in the middle of the room commanded by Madame Zola’s spirit that will answer your questions.

Okay good luck!

First, of course, we asked the Ouija board where to find the alternative exit. Tired of the same joke I’m sure, the person controlling the magnetic dial under the table (er, I mean, the spirit of Madam Zola) told us to search for the clues (you idiots).

So we set off. Throughout the allotted hour (which actually only took us 45 minutes because my family is incredibly smart), we solved puzzles, picked up keys, and put together word clues. We discovered that we needed to find five voodoo dolls to put on Satan’s altar (as you do). So we all worked in small teams or individually, unearthing keys to locked boxes and codes to safes to find our voodoo dolls.

Finally, with very little help from Madame Zola (listen, lady, we know that the clues are important), the secret passageway opened up and we were able to get out. My family members, if I haven’t mentioned it before, are very intellectually gifted (just a quick reminder to the aunts and uncles out there, Christmas is not that far away) and we were able to figure it out in a short amount of time.

They said our particular room has a 48% success rate. To be honest, I have a very hard time believing that only 48% of groups were able to decode all of the clues and puzzles that were not-so-secretly hidden. Unless the other 52% imbibed harder on the free cans of Yuengling than we did. Otherwise, I have to admit I think the company may be trying to make people feel smarter than other Escape Room consumers (which, by the way, my family is).

Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns of the Escape Room and would definitely go back. It’s great for families, groups of friends, corporate events, or to show off how smart you are. And they even have rooms suited for double dates (or just four people who enjoy each other’s company platonically).

And the best part is, you don’t have to be as amazingly cunning and clever as my family. Although it certainly helps.

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