POEsers Need Not Apply – Room: Poe-ranormal Activity – April 30, 2016


Play if… you are a literature buff in love with the macabre.

Avoid if… you have separation anxiety… or are afraid of the beating of the Telltale Heart.


Escape Room Live Alexandria:

Address814 King Street, Floor 2, Alexandria, VA 22314 (click the address for a Google Map)

Contact and Website: 800-616-4880

The Room – POE-Ranormal Activity:

Description (from the company website): You are a team of paranormal investigators from Discovery Channel’s ‘Destination America’ and have been given permission to enter Poe’s old chambers in search of a historian who disappeared several years ago in search of a fabled ‘Lost Manuscript’!

Difficulty (1-10): 8/10

Time Limit: 45 minutes

Cost: $28 + tax per person but use ERGUYS15 when booking to save 15% off per ticket.

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 8-10

Staging Area: Escape Room Live Alexandria has a large, open space complete with cow skin rugs and couches with ample seating located in the middle of all the rooms, so there is plenty of space to hang out if you get there early. The requisite restrooms are in the back and the decor includes extremely wacky artwork.

Metro Access/Parking: King Street metro is a 0.7 mile walk (or take the free King Street Trolley to Columbus Street); street/garage parking.



Description: This one started off with a twist (which, of course, I will not spoil). The room was well-themed with Poe stuff, which was actually integrated into the puzzles.

Did We Escape: Yes, indeed we did.

Time Remaining: Just over 12 minutes.

Our Suggested Party Size: 6-8 (preferably an even number here)

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Aaron, Shanell, Jess, Dalia, Chris and JoAnne.

Team Disturbed Friends (Aaron, Mike, Shanell, Jess, Dalia, Chris, JoAnne and Jason) found the historian and the lost manuscript! Photo courtesy of Escape Room Live Alexandria's Facebook page.
Team Disturbed Friends (Aaron, Mike, Shanell, Jess, Dalia, Chris, JoAnne and Jason) found the historian and the lost manuscript! Photo courtesy of Escape Room Live Alexandria’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Yup

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It’s Old Town, but we recommend:

Our Scoring:

Overall Expectation (Summary)
I recall looking forward to this room. I’m not a HUGE Poe fan, but I have
read the majority of his work. And honestly, who doesn’t love The Raven? However, I did find myself quite disappointed overall (with one exception that I can’t say). 
It was the last of the rooms to escape at Escape Room Live.
See, I – unlike my friend to the left here – appreciate good, gothic literature (Fall of the House of Usher is one of my favorite gothic stories) especially when Poe was a local, so I was looking forward to this room as soon as we heard it was opening.

So, for the rest of this post, Jason’s comments should be considered “Nevermore.”

Story (Rating)
The room itself was well constructed and definitely well-themed, but the
augmented-reality…test?…they included was not so much a red herring as much as it was wasted effort.Rating: 6/10
Having the story set as a team of Poe-ranormal investigators was an interesting job to take on and could have bonded us together as a group more (but this is also where the GM comes in).

Rating: 7/10

Mission (Rating)
I don’t really recall what the actual mission here was, but something about finding a historian who went searching for a lost Poe manuscript. I wasn’t terribly impressed.

Rating: 4/10

Search Poe’s old office for what happened to the missing historian and the lost manuscript.

Again, I like having more than one objective for the room.

Rating: 7/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
The puzzles here were…unique. And that’s putting it mildly. While they
were in line with the Poe theme of the room, they were similar to other
clues/puzzles we’ve encountered in the other 3 rooms in this location.
Rating: 6/10
The puzzles in the room were pretty diverse in that they weren’t all the same type of lock or solution, but we’ve seen a number of them before.

Rating: 8/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
There were a few good ones, but only really one worth remembering. (Mike and I agree on this one, literally.)

Rating: 6/10

Yeah, what
<—– he said.
Rating: 6/10
Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
I didn’t think the puzzles flowed together in any specific fashion; it
seemed more of just a ‘oh, gotta do this to get this lock open, cool; next I’ll start on this one’. The whole thing was rather disjointed and I didn’t feel like I was told a story throughout the game.
Rating: 6/10
This gets a slightly higher rating from me because the puzzles really did relate to the Poe theme and mission, and I liked how the room forced you to work in teams.

The decor was actually pretty awesome and well done.

If I remember correctly, Poe was a fan of cryptology, so puzzles and Poe truly do go together.

Rating: 8/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
While the Poe theme kept the game alive, I did find myself kind of bored in this one. It wasn’t until closer to the end where some cool stuff happened that my ears perked up again. Being a true literary fan, I enjoyed the room, although more for the theme than the puzzles themselves. They were kinda easy.
Game Master (Summary)
Generally speaking, the GMs at ERL are fun and enjoy what they do. That
always helps make the experience more enjoyable.
We didn’t have our regular GM, which was disappointing, but the one we did have did a good job (although wasn’t as dynamic).
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
If I recall correctly, we only asked for 1, but after we got it, I wanted to
hit someone. RULE # 3 DAMMIT!
I don’t remember needing a clue.
Anger Level Score ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
The ‘teamwork’ thing I noted above didn’t allow everyone to work together all the time. Additionally, I didn’t review one of the puzzles and that cost us some time. This is another example of us not following Rule #3 (which is really starting to get on my nerves…).

Rating: 3/5 Fists

Maybe we were in different rooms(?), but I don’t remember us needing a clue or not being able to solve a puzzle after some work.

We got out with more than 12 minutes remaining on a 45 minute room. That’s pretty freakin’ good.

Rating:      FacePalms – 0/5


Final Thoughts: This room gets a mixed review, obviously since the ERG had such differing opinions on this one. While it had some memorable moments, required teamwork,  and was tied to a great literary genius, the overall experience was only average, but worth doing if you have a team of newbies.