Upon viewing the old school house on Harrison Avenue on a cold rainy night in late October, I got chills. The foreboding building towering over the low-lying fog created the perfect atmosphere to experience the Dent Schoolhouse.
As guests waited in line, they were able to watch a documentary that showed the back story of the event. According to Dent Schoolhouse lore, Charlie the Janitor kidnapped and killed the young students of the school and stored their decomposing bodies in barrels in the basement. As horrifying as that sounds, the team at Dent Schoolhouse brought that story to life.
Guests entered through the school playground where they walked through merry-go-rounds, swings, and seesaws that all moved slowly with dead children on them. It was a brilliant introduction that eventually lead to the front door of the school. The first floor included many classrooms, each with different scenes and talent. One in particular that stood out was a science class where the teacher had a scalpel in his hand and dissected the skin off his face! This was just the first of many top-notch prosthetics and genuinely great talent.
After the last of the classrooms, guests arrived at the stairwell to the basement of the school, where Charlie was waiting. The hallway that followed the stairway was lined with the hanging corpses of the dead children. It was incredibly realistic and downright disturbing… and it was perfect! There were quite a few talent playing the role of Charlie and unfortunately, that character wasn’t as frightening as I’d hoped he would be, especially with all the build-up. But honestly, the other talent playing the victims and other gruesome monsters more than made up for that.
The attention to detail in this attraction was fantastic. For example, there was a scene that showed Charlie’s living room in the basement with hundreds of newspaper clippings of all the missing children he killed, all while a newscaster was heard on the radio reading the names of the victims.
The rest of the attraction flowed very well. Some stand-out rooms included a theater with very large phantom animatronic figures that floated above the seats, and the entire last section was a school carnival.
With a walk-through time of around 20 minutes and a price point of $20.00 for two attractions, it was well worth the money. Due to weather, the second walk-through haunt, Detention Hall, was closed and couldn’t be reviewed.
The team behind The Dent Schoolhouse has done a marvelous job and it’s no surprise this has been featured on so many “best of” lists. If you’re in the Tri-State area, this attraction is a must-see. Without a doubt, this is the best haunted attraction I visited in Ohio this year, and one of the best “classic haunted house” style attractions I’ve ever seen.
– Jon Yslas/TPA Team Member