Creator Jon Braver Talks Delusion: Nocturnes and Nightmares 2023, Guests Scaring Other Guests, and Final Year at Phillips Mansion

John Nguyen

The Halloween season is here, and there are plenty of spooky options to frighten horror fans from haunted attractions to shows in Southern California. If you want to take that experience further, Delusion is back this year at the historic Phillips Mansion in Pamona, CA. Delusion is an interactive horror play where guests embark on a dark and intimate journey, where they actually feel like they are in a horror film. It truly is a hair-raising experience where you’re on an hour-long adventure with a small group of people, giving you a more frightening and catered experience.

This year’s show is titled Delusion: Nocturnes & Nightmares, and it’s a meta take on the Delusion universe where a mysterious author is somehow bringing the Delusion stories to life. Nerd Reactor had the chance to chat with creator Jon Braver about what guests can expect from this year’s show including the story, utilizing the Phillips Mansion in a different way, the enhanced VIP experience, and more.

“It’s our last year [at the Phillip’s Mansion] because the house behind me is going to be renovated,” Braver said. “They got a grant to fix that up. So our time there ends. It stemmed from the difficulty of writing the shows. The idea really came from what if this is sort of a metaphor to the madness of writing these shows where this creator of the Delusion series, this author has penned all the previous Delusions, and then the author has sort of gone mad from all the stories that have come to light. But this is not the gift that the author really wanted. She’s doing it all for a very strong purpose.”

Delusion: Nocturnes & Nightmares will feature different stories from the show’s past, and it will feel like an epic conclusion to the universe. (Don’t worry, there will be more Delusion in the future.) Braver teases some of the elements that will be in this year’s show including characters from His Crimson Queen.

“They’re going to get a taste of different stories in the past,” Braver explained. “For example, the brides from His Crimson Queen, these vampire brides, they might have a moment. They see that character, and though they don’t know the full breadth of that story, it doesn’t matter because they’re very interesting characters and there’s a very interesting scene with them. So it’s sort of like a little teaser into, ‘Oh, God. I’m curious about all these other stories from Delusion, like maybe remount some of those.’ It’s in the cards as well, to bring back some of the older shows as they were in this tease of the whole thing. At the end of the day, it’s all about fun. Just go there and have fun and get swallowed into the story and you’ll have no choice but to be dragged along for the ride.”

This is the third time Delusion will be held at the Phillips Mansion, and Braver talks about how it’s going to feel different just like how the second felt different from the first.

“As I remember, the first year we hid the back mansion,” Braver said. “Some people came there, they thought the whole show was in this mansion right here. And then they were just surprised to see the back one. Now the following year, if you know about the back one, then you’re led in some different path to get there through hiding in a caretaker’s pickup truck. And then this year, we’re going into places that people last year never got to see. And people prior to that, like two years ago, they might have seen it, but it’s very different. So I’m taking into account the flow of this show. It is going to be in such a way that you’re going to leave saying, ‘God, I’ve been here three years, and I still don’t know where the hell I am.’ That’s going to be the feel for a lot of people. Where the prologue starts too, some people have been there, but not in this way. So that was all taken into account. This will kind of be a good wrap-up where everybody gets to experience all the areas of the Philips Estate.”

With the VIP experience, it’s being elevated to where guests can become part of scaring other guests.

“Not only are we trusting them, but we’re trusting them even further to actually take part in a scene to scare other guests,” he elaborated. “The story’s been carefully constructed to allow for this VIP ballroom private bar, where the guests are going to be able to put on these quick, easy, tattered clothing like you’re a zombie kind of thing. And then you partake in a scene where you’re rising from the dead on a certain cue. So make it very simple and easy for people but incredibly fun. And if you’ve gone through the show, then you’ll recognize the scene that you were in prior.”

Check out the full video interview below:

Delusion: Nocturnes & Nightmares is currently running until November. For tickets, visit