I don’t get nightmares, at least not very often. So when I say a haunted house made me sleep with the lights on, then it must be pretty special. Disturbance at the Monastery is put on by the same people who run The Dark Side of the Abbey, and in my opinion, it is a hidden gem among haunted houses.
You may see a bit of a repeat in the ticketing and parking details between this article and Dark Side of the Abbey’s. This is because they are at the same location, but the experiences are so different I felt it was only right to give them their own articles.
Driving to the haunted houses is a little tricky, but this is due to the layout of streets in Cañon City. Trust your GPS to get you there, where you will drive right past the parking lot. People here park both in the lot and along the street. When we arrived, the parking lot was full, and this appeared to be due to a wedding reception happening in a building near the attractions. That’s because both are located where there are churches and other buildings. We parked in the street, and headed to the ticket booth.
You can purchase tickets online or at the door. General admission tickets are $25 dollars for each house, or $40 for a combo ticket to both. They also offer a limited number of speed passes each night, which I assume are the “skip the line” tickets on the website for $10. I also learned at the venue that they also offer VIP passes for $20, however I do not see this option on their website.
It quickly became apparent that there is no line set-up for the ticket booth, and it got a little messy with people trying to figure out who to talk to. However, it soon cleared up, and we managed to talk to the staff about possibly getting VIP tickets so we could experience both attractions before they closed for the night. They were kind enough to get us into the VIP line for the Dark Side of the Abbey, which had a 2 hour wait.
Disturbance at the Monastery however only had about a 10-15 minute wait when we got to it. This may be due to the lack of space for a line, but it was a nice change from having to wait very long times to enter a haunted house. Did I also mention this takes place in the basement of an actual monastery? The line is simply the ramp that leads down into it.
All that I was told before entering the line with my friend was that Disturbance at the Monastery is a “sensory deprivation” haunt. I asked what that meant, and was greeted with very few answers before we got to the front of the line. When we reached the front, I spoke with the person taking tickets, who was extremely professional, and excited we were there to experience it.
She mentioned several things to me that stood out:
1. You will not be able to see for most of this haunt, and once your eyes adjust to the darkness - BAM- they hit you with some light.
2. There is a crawling section inside where you will have to find your way through a small maze-like area.
3. There is no safe word. No “I need out.” In order to escape this haunt, you have to find your way out of the maze yourself.
With me and my friend thoroughly creeped out by the task before us, she ushered us in and said, “good luck.”
They ease you into the absolute mind-fuck this attraction becomes. We were greeted by a nun - who got extremely close. So close in fact that my friend and I had to stop holding hands until she left. Then we were plunged into darkness.
How do I describe something that is mostly unseen? I suppose that I have to ask you to imagine everything I say is happening around you, but with no real certainty about where it's coming from.
We enter what feels like a MASSIVE room, and soon a maze that is pitch black save for the “Click…………….. Click…………….. Click” of a lone strobe light. I remembered the lady at the beginning saying to find a wall with your hand and follow it, otherwise you will never get out. So that's what I did, and it led us to an immediate dead end.
Just as I was about to mutter in frustration we heard a- “you’re going the wrong way” whispered from somewhere nearby. We both turned towards the voice as it beckoned us- “this way.” We followed, it told us to open a door, which we were completely unaware was part of the maze. I only got a momentary glimpse of this voice in the light before they completely disappeared from view. I entirely expected a jumpscare, but it never came.
We could hear another group somewhere in the maze with us, getting just as lost as we were, and at some points, screaming bloody-murder as they heard sounds in the darkness. Tight unassuming corridors, doors that blocked our path, and wide areas greeted us as we fumbled our way through the first area. Finally, we saw a tiny shred of light we rushed towards.
We walked into a room, filled with twisted shadows, and soon we both jumped as a stalker came up behind us, forcing us forward through a claustrophobic hallway. Once through, we were led through a scene of mannequins, one of which I was certain would move, set up in a way that made both of us say - “I get a bad feeling from this.”
Then, darkness. A sea of it. All around us. There is nothing more humbling than walking to a wide room filled with nothing, and trying to find your way through it. I am so lucky my friend was with me, because she turned me in the right direction more than once. We managed to wander towards more lights, beyond which was another seemingly empty void.
It was about this time we began questioning again if we were going the right way. There were some simple obstacles here that we were unsure we were supposed to go through. I nearly jumped out of my skin as voice ahead of us grumbled - “Sure seems like you’re going the right way.”
I couldn’t help but banter with this disembodied voice as we made our way to it, and this actor did an amazing job carrying a conversation with me. We bumbled our way through their room, which was filled with unseen hanging obstacles, and made it out! Or… so we thought.
Nope, just another section of the maze.
This one was much like the first, we got lost immediately and had to backtrack, and a voice whispered almost in my ear this time - “Turn around.” When we asked for clarification, they were gone.
It wasn’t too long before we hit the half wall leading to the crawling section, and I do mean hit because my knee slammed into it. We began into the tunnel thinking it’d just be a straightaway sort of deal. Well, that was until I nearly bumped my head into a wall. We managed to scootch our way through this small, somewhat uncomfortable maze, and stand up in a small space.
This relief was short-lived though as we were forced into a hallway that literally still haunts me with how absolutely uncomfortable it was. I won’t say why, because you need to experience it for yourself.
I can’t comment on costumes or makeup for this haunt, because quite simply, I couldn’t see very many. The actors felt few, but the ones that were there were amazing and utilized the space extremely well. What I can comment on is the sound. It was dead silent our entire walkthrough, which became incredibly upsetting as time went on. I can also say that I don’t recommend this haunt for those with mobility issues, as it's literally designed to impede your progress.
The final actor did an amazing job interacting with my group and another who appeared shortly after, and he did this all without saying a word. We couldn’t progress to the exit without his help, but we also had to pay a toll for that to happen. If we tried to escape before then, he would get visibly upset, and forced us to stay put by pulling the cart backwards.
I left this haunt with a sigh of relief. I have never been inside an experience that was almost completely psychological, and I was thoroughly impressed. That night, I had nightmares of voices in the dark, and had to turn on my light in order to get any semblance of sleep.
I found out that both the Dark Side of the Abbey and the Disturbance at the Monastery are put on by the Boy Scouts in Cañon City. The owner of the haunts told one of my group members that it is one of the only fundraisers they do all year, and it allows for the local Boy Scouts to do everything they need to, including going on trips as a troop. I am thoroughly impressed by this, and think this is an amazing way to fundraise. I also learned that they have to rebuild the Disturbance at the Monastery every year from scratch.
I really do feel like it was an incredible experience, and would love to do it again. I know it’ll make me have nightmares once again, and the design of this haunt is both impressive and intense. The added pressure of having to complete it in order to escape is intimidating, and I can understand how it would be panic inducing. I HIGHLY suggest you experience the Disturbance at the Monastery if you get the chance. It messed with my head on a level I wasn’t expecting. It is truly underrated.