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Riddle me this

Tulsa’s eleventh hour


Eleventh Hour Enigma, Tulsa’s newest escape room

Eleventh Hour Enigma, Tulsa’s newest escape room


The Victorian style gold lettering on the facade of Eleventh Hour Enigma entices.

Follow the clues. Solve the mystery. Unlock the mystery. Beat the clock.

You definitely want to know what’s going on inside.

Eleventh Hour Enigma is an escape room—an immersive, crime-thriller experience in which participants play detectives using clues to solve puzzles before a bomb takes out downtown Tulsa. The room, called Tulsa Time, is Tulsa-themed, so brush up on your local history beforehand. You will also need “a logic person, a math person, and a thinking-outside-of-the-box person, for your dream team,” said co-owner Mel McCelvey.

For some, escape rooms function as a fun activity that brings people closer. For others, they offer an actual escape from technology and social media, a way to interact in the real world. There’s also the novelty of something more challenging than a night out at the bar, seeing the same folks, and hearing the same songs on the jukebox. Eleventh Hour Enigma celebrates curiosity, adventure, and friendship.

Escape room enthusiasts are also close cousins to haunt enthusiasts. In fact, they share the same trade show, TransWorld Halloween & Attractions show in St. Louis, each year.

“When escape rooms first started out, most were just an office building and one regular room,” said McCelvey.

Eleventh Hour has definitely raised the bar. Even the instructional video room is decorated with Art Deco, Victorian, and steampunk artifacts. From marbled floors to gold-framed blueprints of various gizmos, everything has been thought out, especially the puzzles.

For those of you who consider yourselves escape room experts, this isn’t an easy one. Don’t despair—each group gets a game master who will give as many or as few hints as required. A tip: You will need hints. Eleventh Hour has only been open a short time, and only a dozen or so groups have gone through. So far, no group has escaped! (By which I mean beaten the room. Eleventh Hour Enigma does allow you to leave.) If this cranks up your desire to be the first to solve the room, you can book Wednesday–Sunday (Mondays and Tuesdays are by private appointment only). You will have one hour to solve the room, which seems like plenty of time—until you look up and realize you only have twenty minutes left to solve the remaining puzzles.

McCelvey and her husband and co-owner Darby Thomas hope to eventually have three to four escape rooms.  If their Tulsa Time room is any indication, forthcoming rooms should be amazing. The next will be based on the famous Sarah Winchester house, which legend holds was kept under constant construction because of Winchester’s belief that supernatural forces would come after her due to the many deaths caused by Winchester rifles. Others say the building was one giant Masonic puzzle. McCelvey and Thomas are running with the latter theory. The possibilities are endless...

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