Eloise Asylum in Westland is set to become the site of Escape the Asylum, a state-of-the-art, high-tech escape room. The new adventure opens to the public on Friday, May 13.
Thrill-seekers are invited inside to move through the rooms of the infamous asylum to uncover secrets, unravel a mystery, and solve clues to make it out of a fully immersive adventure experience at a truly haunted venue.
The owners state the live-action multi-room adventure is an immersive Hollywood-level experience. Players have 60 minutes to work together to discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks throughout multiple rooms, beginning with a padded cell, before they become the next victim of someone, or something, that has moved back into the abandoned asylum.
To produce the special effects over many months that will surround visitors, Escape the Asylum relies on state-of-the-art FX, lighting, and animatronics. Some of the entertainment industry’s top set designers, including those who worked on high profile, complex shows, such as Taylor Swift and Katy Perry’s world tours, were brought in to assist in creating the experience.
The team behind Escape the Asylum also uses advanced projection mapping technology to make everything happening all around the visitor appear eerily real. Projection mapping technologies have been used and popularized by theme parks and attractions like Disney and Universal Studios, as well as the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit.
“Escape The Asylum is truly a next-level escape room,” says Matt Herzog, a co-owner and operator of Escape the Asylum. He also transformed Eloise Asylum into a cutting-edge haunted attraction last fall. “Our goal is to make guests feel like they are in a thriller movie from the time they enter the escape room to the time they leave,” Herzog adds.
This is the first escape room at Eloise Asylum, and Herzog hopes to open another thriller-based escape room at Eloise before year’s end.
Groups of four to 10 people can reserve a one-hour time slot via the Eloise Asylum website. The game requires at least three players to win. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Escape the Asylum is open from noon to 10:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Guests are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes prior to the time listed on their ticket.
According to operators, the Eloise Asylum was the largest asylum in the U.S. and the first to perform lobotomies. Procedures were carried out in the tunnels of the vast hospital grounds. After Eloise closed, vials containing bits of brains from the lobotomies and general brain study were discovered in rooms adjacent to the tunnels.
The asylum originated in 1839 when Wayne County purchased 160 acres of land for $800 in what was then Nankin Township, later renamed Westland; the site was chosen because it was far away from the city. There they built the Wayne County Poorhouse.
In 1894, the site was renamed Eloise, after the young daughter of a Detroit postmaster. By 1934, the population of “inmates” at Eloise numbered 8,300; about 50 percent of them were individuals dealing with mental illness.
Eloise’s last patient left in 1979, and Eloise officially closed in 1981. Eloise Asylum is located at 30712 Michigan Ave.