Yes, it was just a game! But, I assure you, the fear was real!!
How I got there? Here is my story…
It was a nice 2017 Istanbul spring vacation with ex-scout friends. We were enjoying various activities around the city. Then, I suggested doing something different…
I explained the idea of “Room Escape” and they were all in for the excitement.
Unexpectedly, our escape game turned out to be escaping a horror house!
What is “Room Escape”?
You are simply locked in a room. You have just 60 minutes to solve a puzzle and get out. Some rooms are designed as only 1 room, while others might extend to 2 or even 3 rooms.
I was introduced to the “Room Escape” concept a few years ago on a trip to Germany. My husband and I enjoyed it a lot back then. It caused an adrenaline rush and left a nice memory.
Wanting to have a similar experience in Istanbul, I searched the net for one. I landed on a website that looked convenient. The reservation was done online. No money paid at the time of reservation. On the day of the game, the guys running the place called and confirmed the reservation.
Horror starts even before entering…
At 06.50 in the evening, we were there. 5 foreign women, standing by the entrance of an old dark building, in a small street branching from Istiklal street.
The atmosphere was creepy enough to let us change our minds and never enter. “A walk in Istiklal street is more fun”, we thought. But we were not that kind of a group.
Instead, we called the owners, made sure that we were at the right address, and we were invited to come up in 5 minutes.
Up the dark stairs we went, and in less than a minute we were standing in front of an open door. We could see an apartment’s entrance and a dim lit side room.
We looked at each other and one question crossed our minds. Who will be the first to go in? I was pushed in, of course, because I suggested the game after all.
Next thing we know, a phone was ringing in the open room, me standing in the middle of the room, and answering the phone. The caller ordered us to close the room’s door behind us or else the game would not start.
Trapped in the room, we had to unlock an electric key through solving a puzzle. That would have been an easy job. After all, we were a group of old scout girls, with excellent teamwork abilities. But unfortunately, we were not under normal circumstances.
The room’s lighting would go OFF every time we revealed a clue. Then when the light was back ON we would find a person dressed in a black cape and a scary mask standing between us in the locked room.
As if that was not scary enough, the man was holding a bat and he would hit the wall so hard, we felt it was going to collapse!
Despite all of that, we had no chance of leaving that apartment except by solving the puzzle. So, at last, we cracked the code and opened the door into a corridor with another closed door.
The mad masked person threw us a key on the floor. I still remember how hard it was to just kneel down and take the key, and how my hands were shaking until I finally could place it in the keyhole.
Being in the second room, the light continued to go ON and OFF, but this time the masked person was holding an electric taser. We were scared to the bones. What if he really hurts us? What if that wasn’t just a game?
While all this was happening, one of my friends insisted on turning on her cell phone’s flashlight and taking photos. That made the operators cut off the lights more and more. In those moments we were all angry with her and asked her to stop. But now, looking back at these priceless photos, I say: “Thank you R.”
How did it end?
In the third relatively small room, what scared us was that two of us were guided out by the masked guy, leaving 3 behind. A million thoughts crossed our minds at that moment. What is he going to do? Why is he separating us?
Well, in fact, our friends were just outside watching us screaming on video, laughing their hearts out.
In the end, after this full hour of horror ended, some group photos were taken, and we left that apartment with memories that, I bet, will be told to our grandchildren.
Would you like to have a similar experience?
I have to note that a few months after our experience, the owners changed their address and changed the rooms’ puzzles.
A group of my friends tried the new game and said it is equally amazing.
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Have you been to an “Escape Room” in Istanbul or any other city?
Why not share with me your experience in the comment box below?