Aura Haunted House – Full Review

Aura Haunted House is a Haunted Attraction located in Bartonville, IL.

4500 Enterprise Drive, Bartonville, IL 61607
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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 27, 2023 by Team White City Devils.

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Final Score: 8.55

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Aura Haunted House in Bartonville, Illinois, is found inside the old Peoria State Hospital district in the former Pollack Hospital. The building is said to be haunted by the deceased inhabitants of this once-occupied tuberculosis wing.

This will be their second year in operation as a haunted attraction. With what we saw on our walk through this season, we can say that this haunt will keep getting better throughout the years.

Cast Score: 8.42

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Cast Review:

On the night of our visit, the actors came out to play. All the rooms were occupied with at least one actor running the scene, or more in the more intense rooms. The actors gave their performances effectively while hitting their cues to create the ultimate scare. Their interactions were also fun!
In the beginning, we noticed an actor in a dress standing in a dark corner, who followed us as we passed by and gave the last person in the group quite a scare. It turns out, she wasn’t a mannequin as we initially thought.

We ran into the Gravedigger who stood motionless as we walked through the casket maze. From the beginning of the maze room, he leaned on his shovel like a gentleman with a cane. In the blink of an eye, he disappeared into the darkness. Occasionally, we could hear the scrapes of his rusty shovel on the ground and some knocks on the caskets. Towards the end, he stood peeking around the corner of a casket, standing silently until we noticed him. It felt like clones of his were placed all over.

Shoutout to the Angel of Death, she did not manage to take our souls away like she said she would.

Costuming Score: 8.41

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Costuming Review:

The actors displayed their characters efficiently with the use of airbrush makeup, colorfully creepy eye contacts, and detailed costumes. The vibe that everyone gave with the use of their overall costuming was distressed all around, which fits the aesthetic of this haunted hospital.

We came across a doctor who was waiting for our arrival to fix us. I would not have let them do so but here we are. The look on their face was not inviting as they looked quite manic with an accentuated smile. Their scrubs had proof of foul play splattered on them.

The angel of death stood out as a beautiful but ominous character; her face was distressed with her eyes sunken in. Her dress was white and flowy, giving off a very theatrical look that worked with this character as she swung her arms around.

Overall, the costumes really came together, and everything blended well within their respective scenes.

Customer Service Score: 9.6

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Since we are not from the area, we always punch the address in the GPS. The searchlights can be seen from afar to better navigate the crowd. There was a little confusion about another attraction nearby so it’s best to keep an eye out for signs with “Aura Haunted House” only. Plenty of well-lit public street parking is available.

On their website, dates and times are listed with a detailed FAQ for any questions you might have. Tickets can be bought online and in person. The staff on site are extremely helpful and we even saw a person in a wheelchair getting accommodation to enter the attraction.

Inside, while the paths were a bit dark there weren’t any safety issues and there were even railings in a heavy foggy room. Given that this is an old building, the build team made sure to make adjustments to keep customers safe.

Immersion Score: 8.36

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Immersion Review:

After getting our tickets, we were guided to the GA wait line by an actor in a clean fashionable suit with a plague doctor mask. The scares started right away as we walked around the building and an actor hiding in the bushes shook a white bag that was visibly on the path. While waiting in line, you can see the beautiful and haunting façade of this hospital, and you can’t help but feel chills.

The attraction is fully immersive with how old the building looks and feels as well as the furnishings that were left behind. The rooms are filled with added props such as caskets, lockers, and mannequins. This completes the immersion that feels like it never ends.

The gift shop is the first thing we saw right after exiting. There was a countertop with accessories for sale like squishmallows, dice, purses, and even a spooky pizza cutter that we just had to buy! Shirts and sweaters with the logo are available to buy for cold nights as well as hot chocolate.

A few photo ops are placed along with one that is sentimental to the haunt community. A few months ago, an actor named Jim “Wiz” Wisner passed away and this season was dedicated to him. He was mentioned in our review last year so I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear as we saw one of our pictures taken together placed on his memorial poster. This was a beautiful dedication, and we can tell this season everyone worked extra hard in his memory.

Special FX Score: 8.68

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Special FX Review:

Inside the building, the rooms are naturally creepy since most of the hospital was left in its original state. Using special effects like dense fog, lights, props, and sounds effectively intensified the walkthrough and brought the haunt to another level. Compared to last year, it is clear that there were improvements in the sound quality and sets.

Two factors that worked well together were the use of sounds. They both were queued up to go off in bursts, creating an overwhelming sense. They were often paired up with animatronics or the actors themselves, which was quite effective. One instance with an actor was in a swamp scene when the actor came out from underneath the dense fog accompanied by a thunderous sound. Another instance was when walking into a calm scene, when suddenly a mounted animatronic woman with long black hair came down spreading its arms while the deafening sounds filled the room.

There are also moments of silence where you can’t help but feel nervous. Ambient sounds fill the rooms and bursts of sounds start blaring unexpectedly. In a few scenes, heart-thumping sounds can be heard when it’s quiet which creates a sense of uneasiness.

The mannequins placed all over the haunt are not for the faint of heart. While some of them were covered in cloaks, there were more dressed in animal suits. Though they varied from creepy to fluffy creatures, this didn’t stop them from being equally frightening.

We also do not want to forget to mention the casket maze, which is just what it sounds like. The path is carefully laid out in this room with caskets stacked up about 6 feet high. Some caskets are displayed open to show that they are authentic.

Overall, this haunt is doing an excellent job using its special effects to create efficient scares. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Aura.

Scare Factor Score: 8.63

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Scare Factor Review:

If you have read this far down, the scare factor has been mentioned plenty of times throughout the different sections. This haunting hospital is already unnerving by itself and with the use of its props and the amazing actors. The actors have had proper and specific training throughout to show a flow through their rooms.

Something that’s a bit uncomfortable and works well in the queue is in the distance there is a group of mannequins in the grass in a circle all in white. I liked this a lot because it felt as though any of them could be real and the idea of a coven practicing their craft within eyeshot seemed different.

Upon entering the attraction, there was an actor with a lit candle that was still enough to make me triple-check if she was real. I was only convinced she was real when she started to move while we were leaving the room. Another great flight is in the casket room. This is one of the bigger rooms throughout Aura and the actor in here covers ground quickly enough to appear as though there is more than one person. Knowing the room and timing provided plenty of great sudden scares for any guest coming through.

Towards the end of the haunt, is a more darkened area with mannequins and actors that work well. This takes place where a hallway shows what feels like an endless hallway where even more horrors await. Overall, Aura has come a long way in a short period and we are excited to see what’s next.

Entertainment & Value Score: 8

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E&V Review:

Taking into consideration that this is the second year operating, the changes and improvements are significant compared to the first year. The entertainment is well worth the ticket price. General admission tickets are $30, and speed passes are $45. Our walkthrough time was 14 minutes long, making the MPD at 0.47, which is a bit below average in the area. As mentioned above, this is the second year, and we are certain that the attraction will improve over time as they have a combined 40-plus years of experience behind the creative team. We can’t wait to see what the next season brings!

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Pics We Took From Our Visit:

Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

Alexis – 10/10October 22, 2022
40/10 so far its the best one around

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