Escape Room Employees Share The Weirdest Thing They Saw On Camera
Escape rooms are a whole lot of fun, especially if you’re into solving puzzles. Because that’s basically what they are—giant, life-sized puzzles that you can physically interact with. It may seem scary to try at first, but you can take comfort in the fact that there are always staff watching you on camera to give you hints and ensure nothing goes wrong. However, what actually happens when something does go wrong? Here are the weirdest things to ever happen in escape rooms, according to escape room employees who watch the camera feeds:
#1 Break Up, Break Out
A couple broke up in the room I was running… I then gave them loads of hints so they could get out ASAP. That said, there are things that can serve as tests for a relationship: building IKEA furniture together, going on a vacation together, spending your first big family holiday dinner together, and doing an escape room together. Either you come out stronger as a couple, or your faults and weaknesses are revealed to each other.
#2 Technical Success
I went to a place with my family and, while we went into our room, we saw some employees working on fixing another room. Apparently, someone from a group before ours decided the only way out was to shoulder charge the door, which wasn’t all that strong and he ripped the entire thing out of the frame. I guess they technically succeeded.
#3 A Wholesome Time
There was a room with a bed in it. Instead of continuing to follow the clues, two guests proceeded to put themselves to bed and then take a nap for half the time. They weren’t hurting anything, so I let it happen. Before they left, they remade the bed and tucked two of our skeletons inside. It honestly seemed kind of wholesome.
#4 The Codebreaker
My mother and her friends went to an escape room one night for a girls’ night out, and while they were solving the room, one of them elected to just fiddle around with the final lock on the door which was a 4-digit code. She miraculously unlocked it and walked out. We were doing a jewel heist one and there was a four-letter lock so I put in “RING” right away and it opened. It turns out that was a lock we would have unlocked about a third of the way in so it screwed us up for a bit.
#5 Easy Peasy
It was a very low-quality room—we had a live observer, not someone on the other side of a camera. So the last challenge was figuring out a 4-digit combination on a lock. We were running out of time. While everyone else was trying to put together the last clue for the combination, I just started dialing numbers as a joke.
The handler came over and asked me to stop, saying it wouldn’t count if I just guessed it. Which, first of all, says who? Breaking out by luck is still breaking out! And second, it’s not like I was going to magically guess the combination by starting at 0000 and dialing up for the next five minutes.
Except the combination turned out to be 0101 and, as the handler explained, I could easily have tried that in the five minutes I had to play with it.
#6 That’s Dedication
I asked an escape room employee this once. Our room had a big metal safe. One guy who played in that room just picked up and carried the safe around the entire time. Also, another time, Someone dug through six tonnes of sand on the floor to follow a live electrical cable which she then tried to chew through. You got to at least give it to her for her dedication.
#7 Escape Room Pro
Nothing really earth-shattering here. The strangest thing I can think of is this one time the guest skipped every clue and happened onto the final solution to escape the room in the first five minutes. As I was heading towards the exit of the room to offer them a steep discount for completing the room on record time and seeing if they wanted to try another room, I overheard the guest starting to unravel the mystery backward from the endpoint.
Seeing them sound so excited and into the mystery, I walked back to my station and saw them solve every puzzle backward in record time. After they got out, we shared some laughs over what happened, then traded a free coupon for their next visit if they told me how they unraveled everything so we could run it as a new scenario.
#8 How It Works
Most of the rooms I’ve been to in Perth have specified laid them out so you need to solve puzzles sequentially. Everything is useful for something, and past clues are often essential to figuring out current puzzles. Most of the time, you’ve got several rooms in one run to get out of, and pieces of the puzzle can overlap. So while you could figure out one of the room door puzzles I guess, you generally need bits of that room to get through the next room.
#9 Swedish Solution
The story that comes to mind is a group of Swedish construction workers who genuinely thought the solution to the puzzle was to lift the door off its hinges. Although, a more common experience would be explaining to customers that the games aren’t as fun when intoxicated, and then have them complain that the game was way too hard. That stopped when we started adding a histogram of every player’s score on the souvenir photos, and their embarrassing times were way longer than average…
#10 Raging On Camera
I was really ticked off at one escape room where you had to unscrew the hinge on the emergency exit door to get a clue. I mean, they gave us this long speech at the beginning to try to prevent us from breaking anything, and sure, unscrewing a hinge is different than forcing something that’s tightly fastened, but still, I assumed that messing with the emergency exit was off the table. At least make it the hinge of the jail cell door or something. I’m sure I looked stupid raging on camera.
#11 Looking Smart
A lot of stories people would tell where I worked about customers escaping from the windows or going through ceiling tiles, but I worked as a game master for about two years and never saw anything close to that so I never believed them. We used to have a couple that would come and repeat rooms and get paired with other people. I guess the point was to make themselves look smart, but a lot of times they forgot the answers anyway.
Corporate groups were always the best because you could tell absolutely none of them wanted to be there. I always felt bad for the HR people who had set it up because some of the participants really didn’t even understand the point, but I thrived on the awkwardness. Beyond the corporate groups, it was amazing how many people would spend $30 a person to book an escape room without having any real idea of what it is.
#12 A Make-Out Spot
Generally nothing too crazy. There was a tipsy group of people that came in, and two of them spent half the time making out on the floor. No clothes came off, and they weren’t breaking anything so I just let them be. They were also in the escape room with people they knew, so no one in the room was phased by them either. Lots of stories about stupid people though.
#13 Stood Up
This is not super relevant to the question, but a few years ago, I went to an escape room to meet a Tinder date for the first time. He had paid for the session online and told me to get there at 7. He just … didn’t show up?? I ended up completing the escape room with one of the employees there because she felt bad for me and the session was already booked.
#14 Wasting Time
So there was this group of five or six teenagers in this one room. At some point, when they opened a secret door, the lights went out, making it almost pitch black in there. Now the cameras we look through obviously change to using IR light, and I immediately saw two of them go in a corner and start making out. So yeah, pretty weird having to see that while their friends, less than two meters away, be oblivious to what their friends were wasting their time on.
#15 Science Nerds
The escape room was set up like a laboratory, and you had to mess around with the fake equipment to get the combinations for the locks. They had test tubes and flasks labeled with the names of compounds, and one of them was glucose. Five seconds in, someone took the hint and said, “What if the combo is just 6-12-6?” and yep, it was.
From there, we figured out that all of the combos were chemistry references in some way, and we were out of there after like 10 minutes of balancing equations. To be fair, not everything was as obvious as glucose, and most of it would have been hard for the general public to figure out, but my entire group consisted of actual scientists, which they probably weren’t counting on.
#16 Getting Colder…
The group of guests managed to pull an entire twin bed, mattress, frame and all, through a thin passageway and into the final room through the secret door. They thought it would be part of the puzzle. It was not. I can’t explain why this was so funny to me. It just was. Just the thought of it has me losing it.
#17 The Oblivious Staff
Not an employee, but I was locked in with two people enjoying the effects of something they took. It was a slow build and we didn’t realize until about 15 minutes in (neither did the employees). By the end, everyone knew and we were literally just trying to stay away from them. Almost got out in time too. I was pretty upset at the time that the employees didn’t come in and cut it short, but I can see how they’d be oblivious to the situation if they weren’t actually interacting with the people.
#18 Giving “Clues’
I worked at one, but our game masters were in the room as hosts and actors. As the host of the room, my job was to make sure the guests were on the right track and being safe. As an actor, I also had the job of immersing people in the room’s environment. I mapped out a Christmas-themed room where the room host basically acted like Buddy the Elf, and the plot of the room revolved around escaping from Santa’s office.
There was a key on the Christmas tree, taped to a candy cane. The way we hid it, it was one of those things where you didn’t see it at first, but once you did you couldn’t unsee it. Some groups found it quickly, while others never did without help.
If your group was pleasant but struggling, I usually sang about candy canes until you caught on. If you really weren’t getting it, I’d make a show out of gasping for air and singing it in one breath. If your group sucked (mean, obnoxiously tipsy, etc.), then you’d get a fun fact about Santa: “He can simply glance at any Christmas tree and tell you how many needles there are.” I’d then watch the jerks count needles on a pine branch. The highest number counted was somewhere over three hundred. At that point, they’d ask “How is this a clue?” I’d say “Clue? It’s just a hobby! Oh look, a candy cane!” and start singing about them.
#19 The Hatpin
I don’t know if this was one of the weirdest, but my friends and I turned off the escape room. There was a box on the wall with a pinhole in it. In a chest, we found a hat. On the hat was a hatpin. The hatpin could fit perfectly into the hole in the box! Inside the box was a big red switch. We flipped the switch.
Suddenly, every single secret door opened, the lights turned on, the video projector switched from showing spooky words to showing a Windows desktop, and the music and sound effects all stopped playing. It was very confusing.
About two minutes later, one of the employees came in shaking his head in disbelief. Apparently, we found the killswitch and turned the whole thing off. He had to reset the entire room, and then perform the actions in order to get the game state back to where we had been before we killed it. This took about 20 minutes.
When we were let back into the room, we had only five minutes left on our timer. Miraculously, we completed the room with 34 seconds to go! Management has assured us that the hatpin has been removed from the room as a result of our “incident.”
#20 Oh, Mom
We had one where there was a mockup of a nuclear missile we had to defuse, and we had to put computer cards in a color-coded puzzle on the side of the missile. There was a small gap in the housing of the missile, and my mom dropped several in there, dooming America to a nuclear apocalypse.
Then, the employee ran in there and just banded us a handful of the cards, which by the way are like eight inches long. We got back to solving the puzzle but found that since the guy just randomly grabbed a pile of the three colors, we didn’t have the correct cards to finish the puzzle. So then he had to give us more again. We solved with like 20 seconds left and made fun of my mom.
#21 Please Try Again
My cousin went through an escape room with his friends and they were solving the puzzles at an alarmingly quick rate. They were told the entire “escape” process would take anywhere around 60-90 mins. Well, they were finished in 10 minutes. The coordinator running the room was floored and told them this was the quickest she’d ever seen someone escape.
Thinking they were cheating, she went into the room. Well, whoever the employee was that “cleaned up” the escape room before them left the answer key behind. So my cousin and his friends had found the answer key and it still took them 10 mins to escape the room. They got a refund and were asked to please try again.
#22 Colorblind Chaos
I had a group where one person was colorblind and another one wasn’t aware they were colorblind, They were trying to do a puzzle with the colorblind one removing wires and the not colorblind one reading information whilst thinking the other one was just an idiot. This went on for a little until it came to light that they were colorblind and someone else stepped in instead.
#23 Leave The Rat
While looking for a key, I put my hand in a box and pulled out a stuffed rat tied to a cord. I was convinced this was important, so I stuck my fingers up a tear in the stuffed toy and started yanking out its stuffing convinced I’d find a key, a clue… Something. I was quickly warned over the phone by an employee that the rat was just part of the set and to please leave it alone.
#24 No More Patience
Not an employee but my significant other’s old neighbor worked at an escape room and we went to try it out, it was a lot of fun. We finally got the lock off this big wooden door for access into the second half of the room, and for some reason, neither of us decided to try the door. We kept looking for clues for around ten minutes until, over the walkie, the guy straight up told us to pull the door. You can tell he was sick of it.
#25 Employee Error
Honestly, most of the odd stuff that happens is because our employees forgot to reset one part of the room. The worst was when this new employee reset a room for the first time by himself. He locked all of the locks, but never actually locked the door of each safe to itself, so the customers were able to open everything like there were no locks at all. He eventually became an assistant manager at our store. We were desperate.
#26 Why So Serious?
One of my friends works for a mobile escape room (like a double-wide trailer that moves around for various festivals), and he told me that before he started working there, an extended Christian family had arranged a “fun outing” and the owner of the business had “family-friendly” versions that they approved of. I don’t recall what the scenario was, but at one point, the family was so heavily divided, one poked the other with a pocket knife. My friend told me that he had to cover shifts where the employee who was working that night had to go to trial as a witness.
#27 Boyfriend Problems
I went to an escape room with my boyfriend, pregaming heavily beforehand, on a random Sunday evening. He has a habit of being able to fall asleep immediately regardless of where he is. Unfortunately, this particular room had a bed… The people were very nice and offered to just refund us when he fell asleep on the bed IMMEDIATELY.
I was embarrassed, tipsy and ticked off, but determined to solve for clues for about 30 minutes before I gave up and asked to be let out. There was almost no one else there so I’m sure it was a hoot to watch. kudos to them for still offering the refund when we left but I was beyond upset.
#28 Unexpected Requirement
“The hole in the wall isn’t part of the game. Someone yesterday tried to escape by digging a hole into the wall even though we‘re on the first floor.” That’s what they told us before we entered. In their defense, I know someone who went to an escape room where you had to punch through the wall as part of it. It gets a lot of weird looks anytime he goes to other ones and he asks before starting if they’ll have to punch through anything. Obviously, he did not expect to need to do property damage, so they got stuck on that for a while.
#29 The Proposal
I’m not an employee, but one of my most memorable experiences was in an escape room. My friends and I had been in the room for almost an hour and were just about to open what seemed to be the final safe. As we were opening it, we heard very loud footsteps coming downstairs from outside the room, heading our way. We all screamed and scrambled to open the safe.
The safe finally opened, and in it sat a ring box… just as my then-boyfriend and now-husband came into the room. He got down on one knee and proposed, and it was honestly the most romantic thing that has happened to me. He had planned everything ahead of time with the escape-room operators.
#30 Attention To Detail
My husband and I did an escape room a couple of months ago for the first time. It was serial killer themed, so when we took the blindfolds off, we were chained in a dirty, dimly lit bathroom. After getting free, we picked up this super dim toy lantern that flickered to be creepy. We crawled around the room gathering tools and sharing this tiny flickering lantern. We solved about four puzzles in 40 minutes before discovering they had left us flashlights on a table to use.
#31 Ice Cream Is For Winners
In the Dorm Room, we once had a dad come in with his wife and family. The kids were like… six and eight or something. Well, they did badly. Like… really bad. Anyway, if they could get something wrong, they did. They refused to use hints and didn’t want us to give any. So they failed. Badly. The dad was grumpy the whole time through the room and in the end, the kids asked if they could get ice cream. He responded with: “Ice Cream is for winners!” They left soon after.
#32 Superhero Knights
I used to own an escape room. By far the weirdest thing was a group that came, maybe 20 years old—they seemed nice, albeit a bit nerdy. We were chatting while they signed their waivers and one of them asked if they could put on their capes. Of course, we said “sure” and they disappeared for a few minutes before returning wearing full-on superhero capes and plastic swords. They unironically played the entire escape room role-playing super-hero-knights. To each their own, I guess… Good for them for being themselves. But it was very “weird.”
#33 The Human Motorcycle
I did an escape room with my middle school friends once. There were seven of us. We were all stupid so we took way too long to figure out the puzzles (but it probably didn’t help that every member of the party was handcuffed right after entering the room and we couldn’t find the key). In the last twenty minutes of the game, we started getting desperate, and our game master told us that if we could do something to impress him he’d give us another hint. We made a “human motorcycle.” It was just us piled on top of one another and rolling around on the ground. We got the extra hint.
#34 Fuzzy Box
Not an employee, but when I went to an escape room, we had to do it in the dark. There was a box on a wall with circle cut-outs and me just not knowing what I was looking for kept pulling my arm back and screaming because I felt something fuzzy. Honestly, after getting out I laughed at myself because I probably looked so silly for being scared to feel around in a box.
#35 Magnet Fun
Not an employee, but my family did an escape room where on one side of a wall there was a key in a maze and the other side had a magnet. You were supposed to work together, one person calling out instructions for the maze and the other navigating the magnet. My dad spent half an hour just playing with the magnet, successfully finishing the maze himself. When we finished the room the employee came out and told us he never saw anyone do the maze on their own.
#36 Thin Walls
I had two groups who had never met each other before the game come in. One group had a girl and the other group had a guy, they clearly hit it off and instead of playing the game, leave the room to go the bathroom one at a time. They thought I wouldn’t notice, but whatever they’re adults. 15 minutes of their hour go by, they still haven’t come back. I had a coworker go check in the single person bathroom while I focus on the rest of the group, and sure enough, you can hear them through the walls.
#37 What Is Poland?
We did an escape room for my friend’s hen-do. It was a bank heist one. Being the smallest of the group, I was made to go into the crawl space with the safe while they told me which flags were the code to crack it. Apparently, I’m not very good with flags anyway and even worse when I’m on the spot because I ended up screaming “WHAT THE HECK IS POLAND” just as we ran out of time. The employee was struggling to hold back the laughter when we came out and I had several very ticked off friends glaring at me.
#38 Surprising The Son
One woman had been estranged from her son for most of his life (I don’t remember the circumstances). She basically arranged to meet him by hiding in a secret room within one of our rooms. She waited for about 40 minutes for her son and friends to get to that step and open the secret door, only to step out and say “surprise!” And her son was just awkwardly like, “Oh, okay.” The reality of it all hit him much harder later.
#39 No Bluffing
A coworker of mine was giving his room introduction to a group of older couples. He was telling them about what they should do if they wanted a clue, and one man said “Oh don’t worry, if we get stuck, we’ll just start stripping.” Everyone laughed, and the coworker assumed they were joking. Cut to 10 minutes into the game and these people were actually taking each other’s clothes off and making out.
#40 Thwarting The Killer
I was in an escape room with some friends and a bunch of strangers. The premise of the room is that you’ve been kidnapped by a serial killer and you’ve got to get yourself out of his basement before he comes back. So it’s super creepy and gross. A few clues in, we found the key to a seven-foot-tall locker. One of the guys I didn’t know went to open it.
I was standing right behind him. He unlocked it and just as he reached for the handle, the door started to open from the inside. We were so in the moment, he and I just slammed the dang thing shut and held it with our combined weight. We were all asking each other what to do when there came a polite knocking from inside the locker. We were all jumpy as heck, but we finally decided to let whoever was in there out.
It was ‘the killer’ and he was supposed to just jump scare the heck out of everyone and run out of the room. After we all escaped, he told us that had never happened before. He was just standing in the locker trying to figure out what to do! So funny afterward, but it genuinely scared the heck out of me when it happened!!!
#41 Bachelorette Brawl
Bachelorette party came in and booked the jungle temple-themed room. They were beyond wasted and I’m not sure why we even let them play, but whatever. In the first room is a book with some pictures of ‘fertility idols’, which were just little Buddha statues. One of the girls went to the bride-to-be and pointed to the Buddha and said “Look, it’s your fiance!” and everyone but the betrothed had a good laugh.
The bachelorette stood in the corner and Blair Witched it for a few minutes, while one of her friends consoled her. 15 minutes into the game, the one who made the joke had enough of it I guess and stormed over and whipped her around and yelled “It’s not that serious, get over it!”
Dude got sucker-punched by the sash wearing, tiara clad hulk. Straight domed; it made a great sound. I looked over at the monitor and saw them all swirling in a storm of fists. I got up and headed over to the phone to call the manager at the front desk and let her know about the fight club happening in the room. They continued to fight in the hallway outside the room before moving the sidewalk outside, giving a great show to the next door Cici’s pizza visitors.
The best part is when they’ve stopped smashing their fists into each other’s skulls, they came back asking for a refund since they only used a quarter of the time they paid for. If you’re ever looking for a job that generates good stories, look for escape rooms. People are dumb and you get to watch them do it.
#42 PixabayNice Try, But No
Not a worker, but a participant. We were with a couple of families we did not know in a large escape room. We all got off to a rough start and kind of got stuck. One family became focused on an end table in the room. We were all handcuffed to a chain but with what mobility they had, they flipped the table and were spinning it around looking for clues. Right before they were trying to pry a leg off, the attendant over the speaker stated that it was just a table for our drinks.
#43 Wishes Granted
Not anything too weird but my boyfriend and I did an escape room and I basically forced him to ask for all the hints because I found it too embarrassing. I had told them before the game to make it extra hard, so they did. I bet the employee on the camera just saw me saying, “No, YOU ask for the hint” multiple times, and my boyfriend begrudgingly did it.
#44 Life-Sized Video Game
I once broke the main puzzle element in a room. There were multiple handle-less drawers to open, some through other puzzles, some through tools, and one that was supposed to open electronically when you solved something somewhere else. Like in video games, you can often tell if something is a moveable object as its got slight wear and tear on it, so we knew which drawer was next to open and that it would be the final one, we had a suction cup, which was used to attach to a different drawer to pull it open, so I thought I’d give that a go. I ended up ripping out the entire mechanism that was supposed to release the final item. Luckily, I didn’t get charged, however, I bet they now keep spare parts for it in case someone does it again.
#45 The Last Of The Mohicans
Not an employee and not witnessed. I went to an escape room with my fun and loud friends. During the escape room, The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack came on the mix, and my sister and I sang the violin part. When we left, we said, “We loved the music, The Last of the Mohicans is a great soundtrack,” and the man replied, “That music was composed by “Ian such such” and I laughed.
He continued, they composed that song just for their escape room. I informed him that it was LotM and he just argued with himself for ten minutes. It was wild. Surreal. I’m sure he can watch the replay of my sister and I magically knowing every note and harmony to this composition we have “never heard because it’s by such and such.”
#46 Off The Rails
My friends and I were in a horror hotel-themed escape room for my friend’s birthday. We started off really calm but quickly became off-the-rails terrified. Whenever anything scary happened, we trampled each other to get as far away as we possibly could whilst staying in the room. I guess the employee controlling the game took pity on us because they gave us hint after hint so we could get out. At one point, I personally was so terrified of going into one of the sub-rooms that I physically pushed my friend in to do something. We eventually got out with four seconds left on the clock. I imagine we were pretty funny to watch.
#47 Troupe Of Russians
I was told by an employee that a group of Russians (who spoke no English in an English speaking country) just lifted an air conditioner out of the wall that had zero to do with the room. it was just the air conditioner. He tried to tell them but because they spoke no English it was pointless and they just took it out and left it. The employee also added that escape rooms really bring out the worst in couples whose relationship wasn’t great. They said their inability to work together to solve problems manifested itself very quickly.
#48 The Prop
I did my first escape room in January with my fiancée, her best friend, his boyfriend, and another mutual friend. It was serial killer themed and built kind of like something from “Saw.” I asked the game master the dumbest way someone tried to escape and they told us that something once thought that if the took a fake corpse and threw it against the door it would work. It did not and they had to replace the prop.
#49 Smart Improvisation
Not one myself, but I do have an uncle who works at one. He had an escape room where you needed to solve a mystery and behind a painting, you could find a coin. You put the coin into a slot on a claw thingy and you would grab what you needed to get to the next stage. This person saw that he needed to put a coin in so he just pulled some change out of his wallet and pushed it in. It worked.
#50 The Loophole
I’m not an employee but I did a breakout room after a night of drinking with some friends and one of them had small enough hands to reach into a locked box and grab the key that broke us out. We kept telling him it wouldn’t count because there are signs everywhere that say no prying or forcing, but he was persistent. When he finally got the key the employees wouldn’t count it and made us go back in and solve it correctly. We still broke out somehow.