-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
Philadelphia’s scariest new haunted attraction is reopening its doors for a one-night only pop-up event on Saturday, February 11th. Lincoln Mill Haunted House presents Viktor’s Valentine: A Dark Love Story featuring candlelight-only tours through the depths of the famous mill at 4100 Main Street in Manayunk. Guests will descend through the hidden chamber and into the darkness where a blackout experience will heighten the senses. Be prepared to come up close and personal with the inhabitants of the mill – and keep close watch for the ghost of Viktor’s Valentine. Warning: Proceed with caution as this experience is meant to be scary. Over 30 scare-actors will bring the experience to life. Candlelight tours leave between 6:30pm and 10:00pm.
“Valentine’s Day is about romance and spending time with your significant other,” said Lincoln Mill Haunted House Co-Founder Jared Bilsak. “Other than taking your date out to a restaurant or bar, what other night-out options are there in the Philly region? That is when the idea came to us. We wanted to create a dark candlelit experience that wasn’t just about the traditional idea of love and romance. Instead, we wanted to combine the emotions of love and fear while walking through a haunted mill in the dark. The idea for Viktor’s Valentine was born.”
He added, “The Legend of Lincoln Mill is an evolving story and we want to continue telling that story throughout the year. For our first off-season event, we wanted to tell the story of how the mill’s main villain, Viktor Kane lost his life and why his spirit haunts the place. In the story of Viktor’s Valentine, Viktor’s death is revealed and we learn that he was killed by someone close to him that was driven by both love and fear. Love and fear are the strongest human emotions and have become the key inspiration for this event.”
“We also wanted to expand upon the scavenger hunt experience that we offered during the day in October. In this case, a trail of Valentine’s day hearts has been left throughout the maze and guests have to follow and read the clues on the hearts,” he continued. “Following these hearts will lead guests to the ghost of Viktor’s Valentine while encountering the mill’s ghostly inhabitants along their journey.”
During the debut of Viktor’s Valentine, guests will venture through the hidden chamber equipped only with a candle and nothing more. With a Valentine’s Day twist, this blackout experience will heighten the senses as you encounter the mill’s inhabitants and the ghost of Viktor’s Valentine.
In the 1930s, Viktor Kane had several accomplices that helped him carry out his evil acts. One of them loved Viktor, but developed a deep resentment towards him. She wanted the pain to stop and so she came up with a plan to take down his operation.
On February 14th, 1939, she left a trail of hearts inside the hidden chamber. At the end of the trail, she revealed herself; greeted Viktor with a kiss, and then stabbed him in the heart. She then took her own life, wanting to be free of her guilt, her body, and to be with Viktor forever.
While pop-up and off-season events, like Viktor’s Valentine, were always part of the plan when Lincoln Mill debuted in 2022, the idea for the storyline didn’t come up until mid-October half way through haunting season. Winter is such a dark and gloomy time of year and the co-founders wanted to offer something a unique and not done before in the region.
For the storyline, Lincoln Mill co-founders Jared Bilsak and Brian Corcodilos wanted to offer something different than the October experience, and something more interactive.
“Instead of guests being passive observers in the show, they become active participants,” said Bilsak. “We thought that there would be something interesting about giving guests a candle (battery-powered) and have them venture through the darkness searching for clues. The clues are in the form of hearts that guide guests on their adventure.”
He continued, “The idea of discovering who your Valentine is, is a flashback to childhood when each of the children in class brought Valentine’s day cards for the other classmates. When you were a child, the question you might have had on Valentine’s day was if whether or not you had a secret admirer or valentine, and who might that person might be. In this case, our main villain, Viktor knows that he has a valentine and is anxious to discover who that is…”
When asked if the experience is meant to be scarier than the October experience, Corcodilos said, “Yes, much scarier. Venturing through the darkness equipped only with a candle will significantly reduce visibility and make guests more vulnerable to our scare-actors. This creates many more opportunities for our scare-actors to appear out of nowhere!”
In terms of the haunted house itself, the mill has been upgraded to introduce some exciting new scenic effects since October. Guests can expect a drastically different experience if they attended in 2022. In the fall, the experience revealed the discovered of the hidden chamber and the introduction of the mill’s ghostly inhabitants. Viktor’s Valentine tells the story of how the mill’s main villain becomes a victim at the end of his life. The scare-actors play different roles in this story.
Bilsak and Corcodilos hope that Viktor’s Valentine will become an annual Valentine’s tradition – and the two are already working on another off-season pop-up that could emerge this spring. Plus, Lincoln Mill will return in September/October for its second spooky season.
For audience, Viktor’s Valentine was created for anyone adventurous that likes haunted houses, horror, and/ immersive experiences. Although the story is themed around Valentine’s day, it is not limited to couples and date nights. It is also a perfect for galentines, friends and/or family.
Tickets are on sale now and selling fast at www.lincolnmillhaunt.com for $25 each or two for $45 – and all include access to the deck overlooking the Schuylkill River. Souvenir t-shirts are also available for only $12.00 when purchased in advance.