Date of Visit: 2/11/23 Reviewer: Lindsay
I'm hanging out in the open confines of my stall at Cartocker Expeditions, leisurely sipping at a bubbling flute of champagne. (Up until now, I've never had the stuff. Not bad!) Rotating beams of light fall from an unseen source above, piercing the foggy atmosphere of the room. Chattering groups surround me in the adjoining stalls, excited for their impending trip through time, while hearts and other cute decorations hang around us. Hey, Valentine's Day is coming, after all.
My relaxed vibe is broken when a stern faced young lady, who has been keeping watch over every patron, pauses at the entrance to my stall. (Chilled out as I am, I'm careful to keep some distance between us - she's got a taser in her arms, and I've watched her zap more than one group to attention with it already.) "So. Tell me," she queries, not really looking at me as she speaks. "Are you here for the bride, or the groom?" I figure the answer doesn't really matter, but knowing what I do of what's about to happen, I'm on team bride. You see, this is no ordinary night at the Cartocker facility. All of us are gathered to celebrate a very special occasion: the union of Mr. Heinrich Chapel and his bride to be, Agatha.
But to bear witness to this moment, we'll require the services of the talented Lady Cartocker, in order to roll back and reach the year 1913... the time of The Thirteenth Hour, an immersive haunted attraction tucked away within the wilds of Indianapolis.
Following their recent relocation in 2022, The Thirteenth Hour has now jumped into a venture new to them: the world of off season haunting! And what better occasion to start with than Valentine's Day, a time when so many haunts are opening for their own special events? Love is Blind is The Thirteenth Hour's very first foray into holiday shows. As the name suggests, it's a blackout event, meaning the lights are dimmed inside and groups are given a light source to find their way through. But this place also prides itself on being an immersive attraction, and in the case of Thirteenth Hour, that means having a story. With the aid of time traveling agency Cartocker Expeditions, guests are cordially invited to the wedding of the infamous Heinrich Chapel and his future wife, Agatha. Of course, if you've any familiarity with this haunt and its storyline... you'll know this chapter doesn't exactly have a happy ending.
Ticketing for Love is Blind was handled much differently than it was during haunt season. You could only purchase online, and you had to select a time slot in 15-minute blocks. Several different options were available: for example, you could opt to purchase multi-ticket packages for couples or groups, or even add alcoholic beverages! I personally sprung for the $32.99 General Admission ticket that included a flute of champagne (because, y'know... I'm fancy). As for parking, it's a bit limited, but they do have some on site and it's free. Dress appropriately for an outdoor environment; it was much muddier than I expected, and they were actually in the process of fishing one poor group's car out of the muck when I arrived.
The way my experience began was also considerably different from 2022's visit. After I got parked, I headed straight for a small line of customers waiting at the gates. It wasn't long before it was my turn to proceed beyond them... wrapped up in my fluffy black wolf coat, I treaded carefully down the silent, torch lined trail leading through the woods. Eventually, I reached another line waiting at the massive clock that formed the entrance to the Cartocker facility, which is where my ticket was scanned. Passing through the facade, I was faced with an awesome little bar- manned by an even cooler bartender- serving up champagne, beer, and other alcoholic drinks. With my flute of liquid courage in hand, I strolled into the waiting room and was assigned to one of the numbered stalls each party waits in before beginning their journey. While I hung out and enjoyed my drink, I watched a female actor stroll around the room, monitoring groups (and occasionally catching scares with her taser). Eventually, I was summoned forward to begin my trip through time. Lady Cartocker herself came striding out on her platform to greet me, and ensure I was ready for my adventure. Following a super intense opening sequence, the portal was opened... and I plunged into a moment in time I was not unfamiliar with, yet slightly feared all the same.
The Thirteenth Hour normally consists of three attractions: the Widow's Walk Cemetery, Cathedral of Souls, and Mine No. 13. For Love is Blind, it felt like only the first two were open (I may be wrong here - just my guess) - and for the sake of brevity, I won't go into too much detail about each one. You can find out more by visiting the haunt's website (or reading our 2022 review here: www.thehauntedhoneymooners.com). But true to the event's name, the attractions were noticeably dimmer than I remember, and I eventually received a flickering candle from the Cathedral's Archbishop to assist me with finding my way. I must say, I was quite impressed by how much Valentine decor was added throughout. They had cute stuff everywhere, from the Cartocker queue all the way to a neat Tunnel of Love near the end! And not all of the changes were related to the holiday... they've added at least one crazy new scene, and some new effects as well.
A strong and numerous cast of actors were found throughout the haunt, and all of them had great energy from start to finish. The Thirteenth Hour is a highly theatrical attraction, and you can tell these people are devoted actors who love what they do. Most were interactive, prompting me to answer questions and quick with a response if I spoke up. I was actually alone for this run, something that does not happen often here, but it didn't throw the cast off at all... they made me shriek, swear, and flee from them several times! And they were well versed in the story they were telling, too. A darkly beautiful woman, presiding over a smoldering (!) corpse, assured me of what I already knew: poor Agatha's fate would be a grim one. Another lady in black, appearing very distressed, asked if I would be her Valentine... I agreed... she reappeared later wailing "Why don't you love me?!" The nuns here are among my favorite characters - one of them, clearly itching to dole out some punishment, trailed after me snapping some painful-looking implement into her hands and commenting that I "smelled like lust". Another one, watching over her classroom, tossed rose petals at me (how appropriate for a wedding!). Before I walked into Heinrich's study, the lady who greeted me insisted that "The Master will love you!" Well, maybe He would, but Heinrich sure didn't... he was none too pleased at my intrusion and shooed me out of the room. The aforementioned Archbishop is always fun, too; he bid his "owl-looking friend" good luck before we parted ways.
My favorite part of the show was something that wasn't really scary, but completely unexpected. I can't recall exactly where it happened - I just remember a face rising out of a foggy boo hole... it was an actor in a gnome mask! Round nose, pointy hat, fluffy beard and all. They greeted me in the sweetest little voice and blew kisses at me, which I was delighted to return. Such a random and funny encounter... and so freakin' adorable. As dark and serious as this place can get, they aren't above a little comic relief.
Love is Blind was not only a fun and unique Valentine show, it was also a strong first off season event for The Thirteenth Hour. I loved pretty much everything about it: the scares, the storytelling, and the way the whole place was decked out for the holiday. You could tell everyone wanted to be there and put on the best possible show they could. The addition of the bar, and allowing guests to include a beverage with their ticket, was also a nice feature. I genuinely hope this event will make a comeback next year, and I also hope it did well enough to allow The Thirteenth Hour to come up with more special shows in the future.