Love Getting Scared? Go to Red Vein

An asylum escapee in a bunny mask and straightjacket that likes to skin rabbits, cult members marked with blood, and a pair of diseased, contortionist sisters would probably scare the twins from “The Shining,” These are just some of the horrors that await you at Red Vein Haunted House.

Located at Hanover Vegetable Farm in Ashland, VA, only a 20-25 minute drive from the VCU campus, Red Vein is the perfect scream-inducing attraction for all of you Halloween-obsessed rams. You’re going to want to bring a brave friend, or a few, to hold on to. Safety in numbers, right?

For about 40 minutes, you’ll be trapped in a real-life horror movie experience: First, you’ll try to survive Redvyn Asylum, then bloody cult members will usher you to Rabbit’s Cry Field, the creepiest of all creepy cornfields. Next, you’ll make your way through Providence Home for Wayward Children, a true house of horrors, and if you make it through the Redvyn Family Cemetery, the ultimate scare awaits you at The Smokehouse.

Red Vein is not for the faint of heart. Actors do everything they can without purposefully touching you to give you a terrifyingly immersive experience. They’ll scream at you, run towards you and invade your personal space. The cult scene even has the option to be interactive, as they’ll ask you if you will “wear the mark” along with them.

If this sounds mild and you’re looking to feel some real fear, Red Vein has just the thing for you. For the last three nights of the haunt, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, you can sign a waiver and upgrade your ticket to the “Lambs to Slaughter” package, in which you will be given a glow necklace so that actors know to treat you differently than the rest. Chief Operating Officer Kitty Barnes told me “You will be touched, pulled from your group and marked with blood.” You may even have your shoes stolen off of your feet so if you elect to be a lamb, wear thick socks. Barnes assured me that you will get your shoes back once you’ve made it through, of course.

What’s unique about Red Vein is that they created a disturbing narrative for the haunt that they’ve expanded on each year since they opened at the farm in 2016. According to the lore, Hanover Vegetable Farm is the cursed land of Emily Redvyn, the fictitious “Ashland witch.” She was executed in 1800 for witchcraft after being linked to the disappearance of several local children, but not before she successfully completed a blood sacrifice for the demon Redvyn, which resulted in the birth of “Emily’s twins.” 

One twin was born “perfect” with the head of a black goat, but the other turned out “imperfect” as a horribly disfigured, alien-looking humanoid. This year, a plague has afflicted the remaining residents of the Redvyn compound, indicated by pronounced red veins on the face and neck, along with standard plague symptoms like discolored skin and teeth. Allegedly, the signs of this plague only reappear every 73 years and mark the return of Emily’s twins.

Fictional horror aside, there’s a chance that Hanover Vegetable Farm may actually be haunted. Barnes told me that adjacent to where the haunt takes place, lies a pet cemetery of sorts, the Burial grounds for the farm’s deceased animals. Plus, Red Vein is on a budget, so most of the props and costume pieces were acquired from thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. Employees speculate that most of these items have sinister stories of their own. 

Red Vein is open from 7:30 to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday until Nov. 2, and they’ll also be open until 10 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27 and Halloween, which is a Thursday. General Admission tickets are $20 and you can purchase them online here, or you can buy them at the box office at the farm.

Hate waiting in lines? Red Vein understands. Your ticket will have a set time for when it’s your turn to take the hayride out to the haunt, which is deep in the woods. Instead of waiting in a line until that time, you’ll be free to hang out at the entertainment barn in the main area of the farm where there are food trucks, live music and spooky vendors. 

If you’re looking for more spooky season activities to celebrate Halloween, Red Vein runs an escape room in downtown Ashland. They also do a Haunted History Tour in downtown Ashland for those of you that want to partake in the festivities but don’t think you can handle the pure terror of the farm or escape room.

Happy haunting, VCU!

 

Image credits: 1, 23, 4, 5, 6, 7