By Lucy Hill
Because my mom is the publisher of Edible Orlando, I am fortunate to attend many local events with her. One recent affair was The Dark Séance: A Haunted Dinner Experience at Orlando Forum of Fear. Upon entering the premises, I am greeted by a lovely haze of manufactured fog pouring from the wide-open doors. The blue LEDs illuminating the island bar directly inside concocted an eerie, yet soothing air as I spot various individuals wearing their best ghastly garb.
While people are taking pictures with their bubbling cocktails or conversing with their companion at the bar, I hear noises from the nearby haunted tunnel – zapping, rattling and yelling over a booming bass. If scenes such as these don’t tickle your fancy, there are plenty of exits. I suggest you take them. Now, if you’re like me, you don’t easily shy away from a bit of a fright. This is good, chutzpah will come in handy later.
When the dinner commences, a host leads each party one-by-one to a dimly lit dining room with burgundy wallpaper and video windows akin to those on the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios. The heady aroma of stick incense fills the air as my eyes drift to a table where a woman with beautiful silver rings and stunning eye shadow manipulates a deck of oracle cards. Once all are seated she explains the rules and stipulations of the event, and introduces herself while we enjoy a wedge salad with bacon jam, the first of four indulgent courses prepared by Chef Chuck Cobb of Git-N-Messy BBQ.
The woman identifies herself as Claire Chapman, a fifth-generation clairvoyant. As dinner continues she shares the story of her great-great-aunt Annie Chapman, the second canonical victim of the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. While Claire’s relationship to Annie may be acted, Annie was a real person, and all that Claire told us of her was true. It was wonderful to hear interspersed anecdotes of mutilation over calamari followed by Cornish game hen. (Beef Wellington, Norwegian salmon and Portobello mushroom “steak” were also available as entrée options). Of course, the goriest of tales were saved for dessert. For a treat, if you will.
After we finished the last bites of raspberry-and-passion-fruit lava cake, the Dark Séance began. It started with us holding a séance rope, a dense cord designed to connect everyone in the room spiritually while remaining socially distant. We then proceeded with a breathing exercise geared to relax our minds. And the rest, as you may have presumed, was up to the spirits.
$87.50 includes the 90-minute, four-course dinner experience and a walk through the Tunnel of the Damned; appetizer and entrée upgrades are available for an additional fee. For more fun things to do during Halloween in Orlando, check out our Visitors Guide.