Here’s one way to effectively isolate during the coronavirus lockdown: Rent out a dungeon.
That’s what one homeowner in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is offering in his Craigslist ad for a “Victorian Dungeon Experience.” Starting at $46 a night, you can immerse yourself in a stone windowless basement nook of a house built in 1881, with just candles and oil lamps for illumination.
And if you want to be locked in, with just bread, water and a bell to ring for other concerns, you can do that, too.
“Surrounded by stone and cement, you will be transported to another time,” reads the ad. “Period reading materials will be available, and you may be *kept down there* with limited house privileges, upon request. There are no bars [to close the cell] at this time, but that may change, based on interest.”
The approximately 33-square-foot, 6-foot-tall space is the property of Mack Salt, a writer and former actor, film director and producer, who has lived in the historical home for six years after acquiring it in a foreclosure. He found the extra “dungeon” nook filled with dirt and decaying shelves while clearing out the basement, and surmised that it was once used to store vegetables. His first thought was to utilize it to store his home-brew beer, but then he began using it as a writing space.
He had his Edison lightbulb moment to rent the space after watching the 1994 horror flick “Interview With a Vampire,” starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Christian Slater.
“There’s a part where they go down to this crypt under the theater, and they have the coffins,” Salt tells The Post. “I’m not really into vampires and goth stuff, but I thought, ‘You know what, what if I offered this unique space to someone that’s interested in some aspect of that?’ They could have the coolest bedroom quarters ever.”
Rather than just rent the space out as a room to crash in for the night, as he does with other bedrooms in the home, Salt (a nom de plume) is hoping to provide a more immersive experience.
“I want it to feel real,” Salt says. “And truly, if I take you down to my basement, leave you with an oil lamp down there, and present the right vibe, I think somebody who has a creative mind and wants to experience something, really would.”
Renters would have the option to sleep in a regular bedroom and visit the dungeon as they see fit, or spend the whole night there, with a cot provided upon request. And to make the stay fully experiential, Salt includes in the listing period items that could be used for payment, like soap-making supplies (in addition to beer, Salt also makes his own soap), lamp oil and wicks, vintage paper, solid brass and bronze, and of course gold and silver.
And for those with coronavirus concerns, Salt says that he keeps the house chemical-free, but will be spraying surfaces with hydrogen peroxide. So, proceed at your own risk.
“It’s stone, plaster and concrete down there, so there’s not much that can be done to clean without harsh chemicals,” he says.
Should you be able to escape the basement, the house is in walking distance to the Yuengling brewery, which, at almost 200, is the oldest beer brewery in the US, with original hand-dug fermentation caves that you can tour.
But after too many beers, no need to use the dungeon’s outhouse, which doesn’t function anyway. Modern facilities are available inside.