Franklin library plans escape room just in time for Halloween

The Friends of the Franklin Library have cooked up a hair-raising mystery just in time for Halloween as they are inviting residents to their mysterious mansion-themed escape room at the library on Oct. 15.

The missing person mystery centers on the death of a wealthy workaholic attorney by the name of Mr. McCalmont after a longtime illness, the paranormal fallout and the subsequent disappearance of his distressed wife.

Their mansion was later turned into the Franklin Public Library, and patrons claimed they could see Mrs. McCalmont solemnly standing in the window of the upstairs bedroom she and her husband had once shared.

That’s the story, at least, and while it doesn’t hold any truth, the tale is inspired by the names of the people who worked to get the library up and running.

Debra Houser, a librarian and member of the Friends of the Library, thought the idea came just in time for the spooky holiday.

“It has a missing person mystery, it kind of gives it a little bit of a Halloween feel,” she said.

Escape rooms have become a craze in recent years as a group activity where participants are locked in a room, or series of rooms, and must work cooperatively to solve riddles, puzzles and clues to make their way out in time.

“It was the next big thing that came down the way and we are always looking for ideas for fundraisers, so this idea was thrown out and we thought there would be a lot of people who would like to try that,” Houser said.

The upstairs meeting room of the library will be retrofitted to look like an old mansion. A planner will come in to create the clues and atmosphere while the Barrow-Civic Theatre donates furniture for the setting.

“It will have several rooms in it and you and your group will be locked in there. The group has to work together, find the clues and figure out how to unlock the locks to get out of the mansion,” Houser said. “You are given an hour to do that.”

Attendees will work together in groups as large as 10.

Interest for the event already has the library considering the addition of more time slots. Early morning and afternoon slots are still open but filling up fast.

“We have had some really good interest in it, we are even talking about adding Sunday or hours later in the day because those ones filled up so quickly.”

Tickets are $12 and may be purchased by visiting the library before Oct. 15.