Phobia Haunted Trail – Full Review
Phobia Haunted Trail is a Haunted Attraction located in Caledonia, OH.
1757 County Rd 59, Caledonia, OH 43314View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Movie Characters, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Outdoor Attraction
This attraction was reviewed on October 15, 2022 by Team Cleaverland.
About Our Reviews and Rating System
Final Score: 8.48
Final Scores – By Category
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ECO Center, in the farmlands and cornfields of central Ohio, is a kind of conservation camp where kids can learn about things like green living and natural resources management. Their declared mission is: ‘To provide safe, fun, outdoor experiences through environmental education and hands-on learning opportunities.’ Something we should all be able to get behind.
When the night air becomes crisp and thoughts turn to witches and weirdness, ECO Center transforms into Phobia Haunted Trail. Its mission could be stated like this: To provide (make believe un-)safe, fun, outdoor experiences through totally mental deaducation and hands-on-your-last-nerve screaming opportunities.’ We can get behind that, too!
And now, without further ado, let us speak of the dancing nun.
Cast Score: 8.28
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We thought we had experienced everything the haunt world had to offer. And then we saw… the dancing nun.
This swingin’ sister made a habit of non-stop shaking her penguin-outfitted booty and cutting the grass rug to pump up the crowd, and man they dug what she served up. We mean she had it GOING ON. The audience loved it.
With her buddies Skitzo the clown and a skin-masked/shirtless/inked up muscle man by the name of Baby Face, the trio of terrortude kept the ticket and queue areas lively and hopping on a chilly evening.
We also found a stilts walker and Michael Myers out wandering around. Michael refused with a slow shake of the head when we invited him to dance, but nodded when asked if he would stab his knife in time to the music. That Michael, what a cut-up.
So, excellent queue actors. How about on the trail? We found an almost equally engaging crew there. ‘Almost’ because, you know, dancing nun. We can’t even.
A beaked freak gave a wet willie to a hanging severed head and then sampled the essence on his finger. The bloody butcher cackled nonstop. A very gymnastic gentleman did his best Simone Biles performance hanging 90 degrees off a tree branch, impressive! The face tailor doubted we would make it out of his maze alive. And we nearly got deafened by a string of deranged screamers accosting us throughout the trail.
In short, everybody had something to do and did it well.
Costuming Score: 8.36
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The queue actors, especially Skitzo and Baby Face, sported great looks – see the accompanying pictures. Meanwhile, on the trail, we encountered many skeezy and gross appearances.
The beak freak had a birdlike visage with bloody gobbets stuck in its maw. The skeleton and the poor soul who was melting in the toxic fog room looked horrific. The butcher and face tailor both wore faces not their own. Several children of the corn spooked us in ghostly makeup and those creepy pioneer farmer duds.
Pretty much everything looked fairly complete and distressed, if not too finely detailed – most encounters were quick and out of harsh light, after all, including some robed figures who jumped out of and then quickly back into the shadows.
Customer Service Score: 9.69
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Customer Service Review:
Phobia is in Caledonia, Ohio, north of Columbus and west of Mansfield. GPS did its usual reliable job in delivering us to the haunt’s doorstep, which was announced by a sign. Parking attendants showed us to our spot in the free grass lot.
The entrance leads right to the ticket booth. Please note you will need to sign a waiver. On one side of the booth is a large open area with a concession stand, benches, and photo ops. On the other side is the queue past a big grass expanse that serves as the dancing nun’s discotheque. Everything is laid out well with nice open spaces, appropriate lighting, and signage. Happy, friendly people make up the team members.
We seemingly had a little more trouble than usual in stumbling over tree roots and such. As on any trail, watching your step is a good idea… sometimes easier said than done when there’s a chainsaw roaring in your face!
Phobia has a simple but serviceable webpage that branches off the main ECO Center site. It features online ticket purchasing, or you can go in person to the ticket booth. There’s also a Facebook page.
Immersion Score: 8.46
Immersion Scores – By Question
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There were lots of actors, props, and photo ops in the areas outside the trail itself. And we think we mentioned the dancing nun? A thumpin’ party atmosphere prevailed. Dance hits pumped through the speakers, with each appearance by the nun sending the queue into cheers – and some of them joined in dancing with her!
On the trail, the natural environments of the woods and cornfield, the convincing actors, and imaginative sets all provided good immersive elements. Some things threw us off a bit, like the mirror-loaded ‘room’ among the trees that would normally be inside a house, but that’s kind of quibbling.
Coming out of the final corn maze portion of the trail, we found ourselves back at the concessions and exit area opposite the queue area. We watched more dancing from here, found a nice photo-op scene, and conversed (one-sidedly) with Michael. For bonus creepiness, this side of the haunt borders on a real cemetery.
Special FX Score: 8.26
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Special FX Review:
For a not hella long trail, Phobia packed quite a bit of sets and props into its compact course and made it twisty enough that not a lot of it was telegraphed… unless they wanted it to be.
The graveyard set served as a good opening mood setter. We came across an eerily abandoned (?) campground with dolls hanging from and stapled to trees. The skin mask sewing room showed off great detailing, cleverly followed by the sensory deprivation of a very short (yay!) dark maze.
We struggled through an extremely tight squeeze tunnel, traversed a spider corridor with glow-in-the-dark webbing, and we’re going to mention the mirrored area again because even though it was kind of weird to see in a tree clearing, it was also pretty ingeniously designed.
We loved the laser swamp, designed to look like an airborne toxic event. The ending corn maze portion of the trail featured mannequins and severed heads and masks impaled on spikes or just suspended in the stalks.
The lighting alternated between illuminated and dark areas. Sets and scenes received a variable amount and style of lighting that amounted to a good use of dynamics. This created a great deal of freaky shadows.
Similarly, audio and sound effects went from nothing (as we think it should often be on a trail) to loud to quiet. We heard loud rock/metal music in a couple sets, an alarming siren, and a creeptastic soundtrack backed by wind- and actor-rustled stalks in the corn maze.
Scare Factor Score: 8.22
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Scare Factor Review:
The attraction started out with a brief but rather exciting wagon ride from the line to the trailhead. We were then given an electric lantern and told good luck. A nice buildup. Then we almost immediately got spooked by a screaming duo performing a multi-directional pincers attack. Getting that first big scare out of the way usually makes the rest of them easier, so good job on making quick work of us, Phobia.
Other big frights came from a rushing wheelchair straight out of a horror movie, a clown coming after us with a chainsaw in very tight confines, and the beak freak charging us.
Quieter creep-outs also got us. Beak freak’s area featured a wall of icky holes. Based on our reaction, maybe we have trypophobia. And the mirror scene gave us an unmitigated case of the yips. Odd angles and unsettling reflections, a silent seated figure, and a macabre mannequin combined to raise hairs and goosebumps.
Phobia delivered a potent mix of high octane horror and creeping unease. Toward the end a team member declared they wanted to tap out. So yeah, we kinda got scared.
Entertainment & Value Score: 8.6
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It took us 20 minutes to fight our phobias and persevere. Against the $20 general admission that hit the MPD (minutes of in-attraction entertainment per dollar spent) nail right on the head of the 1.0 minimum target we like to see. Given the quality of the haunt and the other entertainment going on, we reckon this is a very good value.
This night, when we visited Phobia and its neighbor, The Dead Woods, less than 10 minutes away, confirmed what we learned last year on our ‘only haunts that are new to us and The Scare Factor’ spree. There are great attractions all over that are well worth a visit, you just have to find them and take a chance. We hadn’t been to either of these before and enthusiastically give thumbs way up high to both of them. If you come to Caledonia, you should most definitely do both. They offer different but equally outstanding experiences.
When you go, say hello to the dancing nun for us. If you can catch up with that dynamo on the dance floor!
Pics We Took From Our Visit:
Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 8.5 out of 10
Mary Ellen ondrejko – 10/10 – October 16, 2021Absolutely the best haunt we have been to this year!!
Jessica – 9.5/10 – October 22, 2022Great time! There was a line to wait, but the characters kept you entertained while you waited. They …show more
Cadence – 6/10 – October 17, 2020It wasn’t that bad but I waited over 2 hours and paid $20 for just an okay scare trail.
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