If there is one place a haunting is taking place, it is prisons. So much regret, vengeance and the hunt for justice and despair is echoing through the walls. And the ghost of Eastern State Penitentiary is said to haunt the place, even after it closed down as a prison.
The Eastern State Penitentiary is a massive building. All stone, rising from the ground like an old fortress in Philadelphia, built to keep people inside.
The Eastern State Penitentiary has housed some of the most scary criminals, like Al Capone for example. Hard boiled criminals shut away for a long time. The people outside these walls will never know. Perhaps they are happy about it. As long as they are locked away, they say. They deserve it all, they say.
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In the court system it is said that the punishment is suppose to fit the crime. One can wonder if the criminals got a punishment worse than the crime itself. This is Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia.
The Eastern State Penitentiary is reportedly a haunted prison and the location has made an appearance of many of the paranormal ghost hunting shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and BuzzFeed Unsolved.
Haunted Isolation in the Early Days of Eastern State Penitentiary
When the Eastern State Penitentiary was built it was the most expensive building in the USA. opened in 1829 they brought isolation to new heights. Not only were they to be separated from people from the outside. In this prison, the idea was that they would be separated from everything.
The prisoners that were sent there, really did everything in isolation. They lived alone, worked out alone and ate alone. Even when they were transported from place to place they were doing it all alone.
When a prisoner left his cell, an accompanying guard would wrap a hood over his head to prevent him from being recognized by other prisoners. Everything was done in isolation.
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It was all done it good faith at the start as the though of reformation instead of punishment was strong in the initial prison design. The idea was that silent contemplation was meant to be helpful in the prisoners rehabilitation and road to a crime free life. Instead, it ended up as a particular form of torture. The cells were made of concrete with a single glass skylight, representing the “Eye of God”, suggesting to the prisoners that God was always watching them.
But this was a long time ago, right? It was to people in a different time. They wouldn’t do this to people today, right? Well, the prison didn’t close its doors until the seventies. They had to do something with the isolation because of overpopulation from 1913. Too many prisoners to keep them separate. But is wasn’t necessarily to the better and the prison operated all uptil 1971.
Eastern State Penitentiary Famous Inmates
Although it in the earlier days of the prison, it housed mainly petty criminals incarcerated for various robbery and theft charges like muggers and purse-snatchers. first-time offenders often served two years.
But as the prison operated for a long time, the Eastern State Penitentiary housed many of the well known prisoners that had done serious crimes and served long sentences like the bank robber Willie Sutton that served 11 years in the prison and was one of the prisoners that tried to escape after digging an underground tunnel in 1945. or the American gangster Al Capone, also known as Scarface who was known for being Public Enemy No. 1 in his time. They served her after the isolation concept of the prison stopped.
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In Al Capone’s case, it can seem like the prison was a haunting experience for him as well. He spent 8 months in the prison from 1929 and had many benefits and even his cell was decorated with luxury of fine furniture, oriental rugs and a personal radio, making it a cozy room almost. Even with all of his privileges, he had trouble sleeping and was heard at night, screaming that the ghost of someone named Jimmy had to leave him alone. The guards also claimed to her him have full conversation with this Jimmy as well.
Even after he got out from prison he saw this Jimmy and even hired a medium to get rid of it, but according to the story and the rest of his story, it didn’t look like it worked.
It is believed that the Jimmy, Al Capone though he was haunted by was Jimmy Clark, one of the people that Al Capone had killed during the Valentine’s Day Massacre.
In the end he was even committed to a mental hospital because of his visions and mental health. Whether it was because he was really haunted, or rather because of his syphilis is hard to tell.
Place of Torture at Eastern State Penitentiary
One should think that when you get your judgement, that is it. This is your punishment. But no, once inside the prison walls, the punishment for minor offences can get you in a lot of problems, and in a lot of pain. One example of the punishments that were around was to chain the tongue of a prisoners to his wrist.
As well as their habit of isolating the prisoners, a form of torture in itself, the prisoners were also subject of being subdued in freezing water, being strapped to a chair for days and and putting the worst behaved prisoners into a pit called “The Hole”, an underground cellblock dug under cellblock 14 where they would have no light, no human contact, and little food for as long as two weeks.
All of these past history and ways of life have helped to form the narrative that some of the former prisoners must surely haunt the place that put them through all of this.
Haunted Places in the Eastern State Penitentiary
There are many location inside of the prison who is said to be more haunted than others and the people that used to serve time there as prisoners or worked there as prisoners have all stories to tell. Even those working there now as staff or visitors claim to have experienced paranormal activity, everything from hearing footsteps, whispers, seeing visions or even hearing wailing from the painful past of the prison. .
On Cellblock 12 it is reported on echoing voices and cackling coming from the walls. Another common story heard from the Eastern State Penitentiary is like the ones from Cellblock 6, a place that is known for reports of people seeing the apparition of shadowy figures that flutters across the halls.
Cellblock 4 has a reputation of being haunted by the apparition of ghostly faces appearing. The most famous story about this haunting comes from the maintenance man, Gary Johnson who worked there in the 1990s. He had just opened an old lock in the block when he felt some sort of force took hold of him, making him unable to move. A horrible negative energy filled the cell and the visions of these tormented ghost faces appeared on the cell walls.
As well as the cell blocks were there were held countless of prisoners over the years, there are also reports of what look like former guards haunting the place. In the towers there have been reports about people have seen something that look like the ghost of a guard. What is strange about seeing a figure here however is that there are no physical way of getting up to those towers for a living person.
On the second floor there used to be a cellblock for women when the prison was in operation. Today there is a sighting of a woman wearing white sitting in the last cell that have been seen so often that she has gotten the name: The Soap Lady.
Eastern State Penitentiary’s History in the Museum of Ghosts
Today it’s more like a museum, were we can walk over the faith of these people on ghost trips to a few coins, capitalism at its best. The museum now also caters to the paranormal atmosphere of Eastern State Penitentiary and offers a haunted house attraction during halloween season. And although many of the prisons like Eastern State Penitentiary have started to rethink prison tourism, this is the sort that sells the tickets.
Read Also: Another haunted prison you can visit is Ghost Stories of The Haunted Prison Alcatraz.
The hauntings however, is said to be there for free as well as Hollywood made and what is an actor and what is an actual ghost is said to have hazy line.
The most normal things we can hear at the Eastern State Penitentiary when the darkness falls is the laughter of some that isn’t there, shadowy figures sneaking over the walls. You can also hear the footsteps that never reaches you. Because even in death, the prisoners in kept in isolation. They are not to see, and not to be seen, ever again.
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