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Delusion 2021: Reaper's Remorse


zombieman
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This is in regard to a L.A. based haunt.  "Delusion" has been my #1 destination since it began.

Calling Delusion a Haunt is like referring to The Palm as a quick-service dining option.

Delusion made its glorious return after having a mini event in 2019 and no event at all in 2020.

 

As most other years, this takes place in a house - this year in a historic landmark The Phillips Mansion, in Pomona.

If you look at the area in Google Maps, it looks totally out of place - a grassy area with two houses located smack dab in a huge industrial zone.

That is because the mansion IS totally out of place.

It was built in 1875 has a really cool history behind it.  It was RELOCATED to its current location in 1940.

It was owned by Louis and Esther Phillips (remember those names....because this is fascinating).  Louis was at one point the richest man in L.A. County.

 

As I mentioned, the location contains two homes.  The Phillips Mansion has been restored (for the most part) to its 1875 grandeur, and prior to the pandemic, had public tours.  It is now used primarily for private events (like Delusion).  The OTHER house is the Courier house.  And folks, this place looks like a haunted house from the outside - looks like it is being held up only by termite nests and prayers.  Yet the inside is not nearly as ruinous.  There is actually a third structure on the grounds - an old restored barn.

 

Delusion uses ALL THREE of these locations for its event.

 

Instead of a queue, you purchase a showtime (show lasts between 60 and 75 minutes), and during that time you are free to roam around the lower floor of the main Phillips Mansion, as well as its CELLAR.  In the three large rooms available to you, you will be entertained by some roaming actors, and see LOTS of props from past Delusions that unfold the story you are about to encounter.  What is so interesting here is that the furniture you encounter - cabinets, dressers, music boxes, are mostly what you would find in the tour of the Philips Mansion.  You are welcome to OPEN THEM, and take out and handle anything inside!  Imagine that!  Going to a haunt and being able to HANDLE PROPS!  Mind you, these are all outside of the show.  In most cases "diary letters" and timed recordings show and tell you what you need to know.

 

If you pay for the "VIP" experience, you get to go upstairs to the second floor where even more rooms can be explored, including an uber-cool 10 minute self-guided experience that is essentially a "mini-Delusion" in itself.  You can do it as often as you like, and each time it is likely to be slightly different.

 

The plot of Reaper's Remorse is fairly simple.  This is a spoiler heavy plot, but I don't expect anyone reading an Orlando-centric are likely to be going, and next year the plot would be different.

 

Remember how I mentioned that in real life, Louis and Esther Phillips owned the Mansion?  What makes this so fascinating is that Reaper's Remorse maintains a small degree of real life events and heavily inserts a fictional story on it.  I imagine that this is what would happen if Delusion were able to access the Winchester house for an event.  We have seen movies made about the house depicting Sarah Winchester in a fictional story.

 

Well, Delusion takes it a step further with Esther.  In Reaper's Remorse, Esther Phillips turned the mansion into that she called a "half-way house", taking in guests and boarders who are down on their luck.  She wanted to help them.  But once these people overcame their difficulties and wanted to leave or have relationships with each other, well, that's when the difficulty began.  Because, you see, Esther was a bit of a collector, and she collected things that she loved.  Those were many of the items you got to examine and hold before the show.  And Esther really loved these kids....  

 

The Mansion had a strong "Hill House", and formed an evil bond with Esther.  If someone were to die on property, their soul is bound to an object owned by that person, and they are forced to relive their final day again and again.  But Ester's reward for trapping that soul was that they never left her; they remained in her collection forever.

 

Recently Esther has come into possession of a wildly powerful object - a statue that she cannot control by herself.  The object has filled her with the remorse of having killed the people whose souls are trapped in her objects.  

 

You have been invited to her party as she wants to share with you this latest item.  The show begins still in the Phillips Mansion, where Ester greets your party and offer a toast to you.  After you finish your drink, she proceeds to show you this latest object.  As she tell you about it, she begins to zone out and the room begins to distort and decay before your very eyes.  It is the statue doing its thing...

 

Esther snaps out of a bit and her demeanor changes.  She apologizes to everyone.  She couldn't help it.  She invited you here with the best of intentions, but she needs someone to help her.  She needs you to use the idol to free the captured souls your encounter.  She would do the task herself but she fears the statue and knows she couldn't bring herself to say goodbye to any piece of her collection. Her remorse is catching up with her but you see, she knew if he asked you directly you would refuse.  ....which is why she had to poison you.  But don't worry, because the poison is slow acting, and once you complete your task within the hour, she will give you the antidote.

 

And so Esther ask us to choose the most trustworthy among us to carry a satchel containing the statue during our journey.  She summons the groundskeeper to take us to the main house...

 

And that is just the first few minutes of the story.

 

We exit the house and march along the grounds led by the dim lantern of the groundskeeper.

We head to a graveyard, where the most AMAZING special effects and stunts occur, and then into the Courier House where the bulk of the event takes place.

You have no time to catch your breath during the show.  The events occur bang-bang-BANG!

You may be split from your group to do individualized tasks.  I was split off twice.

There is a LOT of participation.  You find yourself upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, in the attic, in hidden rooms, criss-crossing the same path as you did 10 minutes ago.  Once your mission is finally done, you head to the barn to meet Esther and receive your antidote. 

 

This version of Delusion is my #2 favorite of all time.  

The show is amazing.  The acting is amazing. 

By the end you are repeating over and over "HOLY CRAP!" and trying to catch your breath.

 

Delusion has never received a low rating by anyone.  Ever.  If one was written I have yet to read it.

I've been to so many of these types of things, and Delusion sets the bar higher every year.

 

Note to you in other states: This year, Delusion has officially partnered with ThirteenthFloor Entertainment Group.

This is a haunt conglomerate that owns many of the haunts I have visited over the years:

  • 13th Floor Haunted House (across several states)
  • L.A. Haunted Hayride
  • House of Torment
  • Nashville Nightmare
  • Terror on the Fox
  • and others

A lot of those haunts started out as independent.  I was concerned when Delusion joined it, because too often they get diluted when a bigger entity controls the dollars.  Also, Delusion is NOTHING like any of those haunts.  Delusion is not a haunt.  It is a show, and none of those are shows.

 

So when this year felt like Delusion - and Delusion on a massive budget for that matter - I was overjoyed.  

Jon Braver has been trying to find new locations for Delusion, expanding out of state.  Let's all hope that ThirteenthFloor allows this to happen...

 

 

 

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