Ravenwood Manor – Full Review

Ravenwood Manor is a Haunted Attraction located in Beccaria, PA.

3263 Crossroads Blvd, Beccaria, PA 16616
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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions

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This attraction was reviewed on October 20, 2023 by Team Cleaverland.

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Final Score: 7.86

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Ravenwood Manor takes place in the Hegarty Mansion. Reportedly around 150 years old, the stately and historic Victorian house serves as a residence throughout most of the year and also hosts events like baby showers, photo shoots, Christmas lighting/decoration tours, and tea parties.

The very impressive three-story building is an ideal venue for a haunt. It breathes with that authentic air found only at a legitimately old, weathered location. Of course, the house is reputed to be haunted, and who are we to argue! It certainly looks and feels like it.

The attraction offers a pleasingly theatrical take on the old haunted mansion archetype. Also a rather unusual one, as a tour guide brought us from room to room for scenes to play out before us. We’ve only ever seen this kind of treatment at a handful of other places. It was a refreshing, alternative way to go through a haunt.

Cast Score: 8.13

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Cast Review:

The cast gave expressive performances, vocally and physically, to make the theatrical presentation possible. They moved persuasively, whether simply walking around or gliding up and down steps or sneaking about rooms. They put on realistic accents and several of them had extended speaking parts.

It started with the Keeper in the entry room spinning a tale of the freaks in the house who had become a family. Would they let us pass through their realm, or tear us apart, or take us in as one of their own?

Our guide took it from there, acting indignant that someone had tried conducting a dangerous ritual in the house ‘again’ – that was pretty funny. The result of that rite, a victim of possession, did a twitchy crab-walk toward us and convincingly wailed about how much it hurt before screaming in our faces and throwing cracklies at our feet! After that, the guide kept directing us around the house while throwing out exposition, puns, and droll remarks in setting up scenes.

Further on, a new mom slurped organs or brains out of a newborn, a truly gruesome image. A clan of killbillies threatened us with power saws and cutting words. A coolly intimidating figure in a room full of toys got right up in our grills, sniffed us, and declared we looked ‘nice and crunchy.’ This game acting troupe put on a good show and brought the house to life.

Costuming Score: 8.26

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With prolonged encounters in most scenes, we got a good look at the inhabitants and appreciated their artistically applied looks. The makeup crew achieved neat airbrushed effects and subtle layering in the ghostly or ghoulish visages. The few masks we saw were properly fitted and worn well.

Apparel fell into two camps. The rural folk were attired in typical hillbilly style. Embodying a common theme in keeping with the mansion’s age, most of the denizens wore what looked to be, or be adapted from, vintage clothing, including long poofy dresses and suits of an older style. Some chose white, always an uncommon and bold choice in a haunt.

Others boasted grislier appearances, such as the new mom with a bloody gap in her midriff. One of the best looks of the night belonged to the actor in the toy room, who looked an awful lot like a sinister Mad Hatter.

Customer Service Score: 9.59

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Ravenwood Manor/Hegarty Mansion is located in Beccaria, central Pennsylvania. GPS conveyed us there just fine, but we experienced spotty mobile reception in the somewhat remote area. We also experienced some local construction projects that had us backtracking a couple of times to get where we were trying to go afterward –- we hope this is not the case for you in future seasons (this was written in 2023)!

We also spotted a lighted sign, but in any case, there was certainly no mistaking the giant scary-movie house with mood lighting and creepy music. Free parking was on grass. Attendants told us how to get to the ticket area, which was right across the street.

As well as a Facebook page, the attraction has a subpage on Hegarty Mansion’s website. The main site contains a lot of interesting information on the building, its past, and the various events held there year-round.

We ran across some obstacles one might expect to find in a structure this old – things like narrow/steep stairs, tight hallways, and low head clearances. Some of the stairs warranted careful foot placement, especially at one spot where a bright light pointed upward.

Immersion Score: 7.49

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Immersion Review:

The entire outside area presented itself in an absolute vision. The focal point was the house itself, a gorgeous icon of the prototypical Old Dark House motif. The photos we’ve seen are cool, but it was wonderful to see it in person. Lit up with red floodlights, this house looked like it must have served as a spooky-movie exterior at some point.

Creepy music and chainsaw noises filled the air. We walked past a lovely little graveyard scene, and props positioned around the queue area and hanging from trees. Up near the entrance door, we noticed werewolf and hideous-baby-in-carriage props arranged on the porch. Skull knockers on the enormous doors beckoned us forth. What a great way to start an attraction, with what looked like the mother of all actual haunted mansions. The immense door (billed as 10 feet tall, and it looked like it) creaked open and we were ushered into a sumptuously decorated foyer.

Immersion inside the haunt proved to be something of a mixed bag. The genuine look and feel of a century (-and-a-half) house, coupled with elaborately dressed sets, definitely got us in the spirit of things. And 360-degree surroundings were guaranteed in this real house with a ton of history!

On the other hand, we’ve found that being led by a guide can lead to a more unnatural and artificial-feeling condition than when conducting ourselves through an attraction on our own. We also got taken out of the moment when we had to negotiate the confines of the house. We became momentarily held up once or twice while other groups crossed in front of us; it was not a linear progression of a walkthrough, some areas were revisited and that created a logjam of sorts.

We exited out the other side of the house from the entrance, passing by the start of the queue area on the way back to parking.

Special FX Score: 8.19

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Special FX Review:

As mentioned already, each room and every area of the house came lavishly decorated and finely detailed. So much eye candy was on display, it became difficult to take in everything and easy for actors to hide in dark corners or in plain sight.

A few of the best sets were the drawing room where we found the possessed crab-walker, which had a pentagram on the floor, a bubbling and smoking cauldron, whispered chanting, and a goat-headed, robed figure in the corner; the toy room, containing stuffed animals (giant bunny!) and dolls (Billy from ‘Saw’ on his bike!); and the basement, with a rattling trash can, body parts all over the place, bloodied weapons and implements, and an emergency news report playing on an old-timey radio.

We also enjoyed a cabinet filled with curious taxidermy specimens and old pictures, a strobe room filled with wicked-looking clown props, and many animatronics, large figure props, and antique housewares. The attraction employed some neat lighting tricks, such as fading in or out of a scene or doing a lights-out moment.

As usual with ‘real’ locations of this type, the main effect was the building itself. Its age, style, design, looks, natural weathering, and other characteristics made this a splendid haunt locale.

Scare Factor Score: 6.83

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Scare Factor Review:

Ravenwood Manor ended up being one of the less frightening attractions of our season, both in the total number of scary moments and their intensity …and we think that’s totally fine. It’s just not built to be a supercharged scream machine. It is more like a romp through the Addams Family residence –- but they still managed to eke (eek?!?) out some scares, some of those being related to the ‘witness a scene, then go stand in the next room and watch the next scene’ format.

What we mean is that at most haunts, you collect scares while moving through the space. Here, we got scared standing still in positions we were carefully maneuvered into, while actors popped out of hiding spots or came to us from behind, props went off, and so on -– things similar to more traditionally presented haunts, but we perceived them differently being in our stationary state. We felt more vulnerable, in a way.

Most of the scares came from distractions, actor behaviors, hidden actor reveals, and well-done prop-or-actor? moments. The possessed person wigged us out with extreme bendiness and twisted walking, sudden screaming, and unexpected firecracker-y noises. The bloody new mom in the midwifery room delivered a disturbing jolt with their slurpiness. The actor in the toy room made us feel quite uncomfortable through voice, dialogue, and space invasion. A tall, hissing porcelain doll icked us out as well. The old noise-maker trick worked when a concealed actor shook a cowbell at us.

One of the scarier rooms piled on frights to achieve at least a triple-tap opportunity, with an actor in front of us threatening us with a weapon while another playing prop in a chair jumped up and a different one on stilts crept up from behind! That was quite a successful scare scenario.

At the opposite end, the strobing clown room felt creepy but had no real payoff. When the lights went out several times, we thought there would be some movement from at least one of the clowns. It felt like maybe someone should have been in there using the clowns as a distraction, or one of the prop clowns would have turned out to be an actor.

Entertainment & Value Score: 7.4

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E&V Review:

Our walkthrough lasted 15 minutes. General admission costs $15. It’s $12 for kids 12 and under, and $25 for VIP (skip the line). Hit the bank before you leave because the ticket booth takes cash only and there’s no ATM at the site or close by.

With the same admission price and attraction time, you don’t have to be a math whiz to see that comes out to an MPD (minutes of in-haunt entertainment per dollar spent) calculation of exactly 1.0. That’s the mark we want to see for a solid baseline on value, though it’s variable depending on the quality of the experience.

While there was not too much else to do besides the attraction itself, we had a good time here on the lead-up and also inside. Ravenwood Manor gave us a different kind of haunt experience than we’re used to, and when you go to many attractions every season, such change-ups are appreciated.

We think those who go in with the right attitude and not expecting a turn-your-hair-white scare engagement should have an enjoyable time. Let yourself be wowed by the awesome-looking building and be prepared for a theatrically compelling visit to a real, old, creepy house.

In 2023, Ravenwood Manor will host a Christmas Nightmares show on December 8-9 and 15-16.

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