LEWISBURG — The Lewisburg Haunted Cave has been ranked as America’s “Best Haunted Attraction” in a USA Today poll for 2018.
The attraction, which only operates scares during the fall, is a former mining cave located 80 feet below ground.
In operation since the 1980s, the attraction has previously won Best of Dayton, Consecutive Haunt of Year Award, “Hottest Haunt Going” by HOD reviewers, Best of Ohio by Hauntworld, Best Actor & Climax Awards, and many others.
In 2010, the Lewisburg Haunted Cave was named the Longest Walk-Through Horror House by Guinness World Records. Guinness officials measured the cave at 3,564 feet long.
In addition to the Haunted Cave, historic wagon-ride tours provide a non-scary tractor-drawn underground wagon ride through the tunnels of the old limestone mining operation. It is on this tour where real, live bats can be seen.
The Lewisburg Historic Caves provide fun for the whole family with these two exhibits, but operators urge families to “know their kids” before taking them through the Haunted Cave.
“There is no age limit, but obviously it is scary,” long-time worker Alan Goss said. “You know how your kids are going to react, so keep that in mind.”
The Haunted Cave opens in the middle of September and runs for seven weekends, open on Fridays and Saturdays. Now that it is October, the caves open at 7 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday. As long as you are in line by midnight, you will get to experience the Haunted Cave. There is a concession stand on the grounds, so attendees can snack before and after their scare.
On Friday nights, tickets are $18, while Saturday night tickets are $22. There is also child pricing, with children under 10 getting in for $8.
Every year, there are new attractions and scares added to the Haunted Cave. Organizers work year-round to improve the cave and increase the scare factor. There is always a reason to come back. And, when you do come, make sure you bring your flashlight.
“We go about 100 feet underground. This was a functioning limestone mine. It being a mine does add to the scare factor. We have a ton of advantages over other haunted houses. One, we have a lot of area and never have to worry about running out of room. We can always make it bigger and longer,” Goss said.
“Two, it is very dark,” he added. “Other haunted houses have to make it dark, but we have to make it light. If you turn your flashlight out, there is no light whatsoever.”
“We’re also Ohio’s largest bat habitat, so they add to the factor,” Goss said. “People don’t like going underground, over bridges, and all sorts of stuff we have here.”
The mine is typically 54-55 degrees year-round, which is another advantage the Haunted Cave has. Weather is never going to affect operating hours. The cave stays this same temperature, no matter the weather. However, it is wet and muddy in the cave, so Goss recommends wearing boots when you venture in.
Typically, Friday nights are less busy than Saturday nights. Still, according to Goss, they will still see 1,000-3,500 people per night.
Not only are there people designated to scare attendees, but there are animatronics throughout the cave which will make noises, move, and even fall (safely) on unsuspecting guests. Safety is the most important part of the Lewisburg Haunted Caves. While, guests will feel scared and unsafe, they are, at all times, in a safe and regulated location.
It is important to watch your step at all times, as you will be traipsing through a cave which is muddy and uneven. At times, the floor will move or something will drop out of the ceiling and touch you, and it is the shock, more than anything else, which will scare guests.
As for being named America’s “Best Haunted Attraction” Goss said, “USA Today reached out to us a little over a month ago. They explained, they had picked 20 haunted houses from over the country. They asked us to submit a picture and information. The general public voted, so we didn’t have any way of controlling anything — it was by popular vote. We beat out the other 19 haunted houses, including another haunted house in Ohio.
“We absolutely want everyone to get terrified, but we also want everyone to have a good time, which they definitely do when they come down here. We have been operating for almost 40 years, so multiple generations of people have been through here,” Goss said. “We are pretty famous, as far as haunted houses go, because of that. Because it is important to us to scare people and give them a good time, we won.”
There are three more opportunities to experience the Lewisburg Haunted Caves this season: Saturday, Oct. 20, Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27. Come on out, if you dare.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH