Ravens Grin Haunted House

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by cls223 on November 3, 2002

Set off a side street, this is a popular spot during the Halloween season, though it is open year-round. Tours last 1-1 ½ hours, and are commenced on a fairly ad hoc basis. I called the day before and Jim Warfield, owner of Ravens Grin, told me that since I was "solo", I cold just show up and they’d fit me in. Otherwise, reservations are the order of the day in "haunting season".

The tour begins in the living room, where Warfield talks about the history of the house. This is done in complete darkness; even on a sunny October day, very little light penetrated the gloom. While Ravens Grin has its quota of the usual fuax-scary fake skeletons, phony blood splatters and the like, it nonetheless caused more than a tingle of fear, at least in this writer. (The 10-year-old boy in front of me was undaunted; he happily opened closed doors, and poked around places I couldn’t wait to get past.) Ravens Grin also offers some thrills in navigation on the tour: there are several places where visitors slide down steep slides from one part of the house to the next. Patrons are cautioned that these slides can be dangerous; alternative stairway routes are available for those who prefer their bones in one piece.

The house has been the site of numerous supernatural events and sightings; one psychic reportedly identified over 30 separate spirits that roamed the house. Supernatural events have included ghost sightings, hair pulling, touches, and voices. The wine cellar, many feet beneath the ground, is by far the most haunted place, with more incidents there than any other location in the house. Again, whether due to things I’d heard previously or whether I actually felt something, I couldn’t wait to leave this room.

I’ve been to a few haunted houses in my day, and this might be the scariest yet. Sure, people may pooh-pooh the idea of ghosts or evil spirits, but I felt a presence in this place that was not benign, and I felt it as soon as I’d crossed the threshold. (The threshold in this case is a drawbridge-like door that is lowered to let visitors inside.) Did I feel uncomfortable because something was really lurking in a corner, perhaps just outside my vision, or was I allowing what I’d heard about the place to influence me? I don’t know, but I will say that I had to strongly fight my impulse to leave the house as quickly as possible. This feeling persisted throughout the entire tour.

On Halloween, Warfield offers a special event for a limited number of participants, who are invited to bring night vision cameras and other equipment to possibly capture a ghostly appearance. The tour is taken through the dark house with no employees on site performing their usual shenanigans. At dinner before the tour, Jim talks about the haunted history of Ravens Grin.


Hours: 7:00 PM-12 midnight daily; also 2:00 PM-5:00 PM Saturdays and Sundays $10

Raven's Grin Inn
411 N Carroll Street
Mt. Carroll, Illinois, 61053
(815) 244-4746


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