Number Ten – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Boise, Idaho, Old Idaho State Penitentiary

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity – 2.5

Status – Abandoned

Investigation Ease – 2.5

 

History

Built in 1870 as a territorial prison it only consisted of one cell block. Over the years it was expanded greatly to include a death row, gallows and a solitary confinement area called “Siberia”. Most of the construction was done by the convicts themselves. Its history included many riots, mostly due to the living conditions, but in 1973 one riot did 100 thousand dollars worth of damage and the facility was closed down in December of that year.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

A feeling of intense sadness and dread when approaching death row. This has become so serious for some people that they had to leave before becoming physically ill. The phantom footsteps of guards on patrol are still heard echoing through the hallways. Wails of grief are still heard in the prison. The explanation for these hauntings is thought to be from the tremendous energy this site absorbed during its long history. This facility is called the most haunted prison in the state.

 

Location

1109 Main Street

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Nine – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Ione, California, Preston Castle (Preston School of Industry)

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity – 3

Status – Owned by a Foundation

Investigation Ease – 2, 5(with permission)

 

History

Built in 1894 this location is one of the oldest reform schools in the United States. Previous to this building’s construction wards of the state (not all juvenile delinquents) were housed in San Quentin State Prison. The building was closed in 1960 and the inhabitants moved to newly constructed buildings. The building was left abandoned but in modern times is owned by The Preston Castle Foundation and is being restored. Tours are available on the first and third Saturdays of every month- as well overnight ghost hunts are featured. Many people died from Smallpox here; as well a woman (Anna Corbin) was murdered in the basement kitchen and a prisoner was shot while attempting escape and died in the infirmary. There is a cemetery of people who died on site near the building.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

Apparitions of former patients and staff, phantom cries, screams, moans, voices and footsteps, shadow figures, objects moving on their own, doors opening and closing on their own, light anomalies, mysterious mists, faces seen in windows, feelings of being watched and of unease, cold spots and breezes, intense feelings of fear and knock.

 

Location

201 Waterman Road

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Eight – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Toronto, Ontario, The Old Don Jail

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity – 3

Status – Partially Abandoned, Owned by Bridgepoint Health, New Jail is directly adjacent to old jail

Investigation Ease – 2

 

History

Once called “the palace for prisoners” perhaps because the cells are a little wider than those at the Kingston Penitentiary. This location boasts an indoor set of gallows, human remains found in an unmarked grave and multiple tales of inhumane treatment of prisoners have led to many stories of hauntings.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

Visitors have experienced feelings of heaviness and sadness, the ghost of an angry blonde woman who hung herself in her cell who appears frequently in the rotunda section of the building and numerous cold spots are just a few of the legends of the jail. The section haunted by the blond woman is no longer in use.
Location

Gerrard and Broadview

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Seven – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Mansfield, Ohio, The Mansfield Reformatory (Ohio State Reformatory)

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity -  3.5

Status – Heritage Property

Investigation Ease -  4

 

History

 

The facility was built between 1886 and 1910 and remained open until 1972 when the Ohio State Correctional Facility was opened on the site. The site was completely closed down in 1990 and since 1995 has been under control by the The Mansfield Reformatory Society who first cleaned the buildings and then brought them back to the state they were in when the Reformatory was open.

The facility’s first interest was to not just reform the boys who came under their care but to actually turn there lives around and make them into productive members of society again. This was not to work out as planned. Stories of torture, despair and horrible abuse began to circulate about the facility. In later years conditions do seem to have changed, with things like radio music pumped into the cells.

One of the warden’s wives was killed went by an accidental discharge of a pistol while she was reaching for a jewelery box. Apparently there were many who wanted to blame the warden for her death but all the facts pointed toward it being an accident. The warden died years later from a heart attack and both he and his wife are still said the haunt the halls of this site.

This site was featured on ‘The Scariest Places On Earth” and “Ghost Hunters”. It is also the location the film “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed.

This site is open for historical tours as well as ghost tours in mid-summer. At Halloween it is converted into a giant staged “Haunted House” attraction. 

Legends and Paranormal Activity

In the old administration section the apparitions of the former warden and his wife are seen, as well there is a smell of roses and cold ghost winds in this area as well. Apparitions of former inmates and staff, phantom and horrible smells, disembodied voices and entire conversations, light anomalies, phantom footsteps, screams, crying, bangs and other loud noises and the intense feeling of sadness and despair.

 

 

Location

100 Reformatory Road

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Six – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Ottawa, Ontario The Old Ottawa Jail

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity -  5

Status – Functional Hostel, Heritage Building

Investigation Ease -  5

 

History

The Nicholas St Jail also known as the Carleton Jail was opened in at 75 Nicholas St right beside the court house in 1862. The jail inflicted inhumane conditions on it’s prisoners including forcing 150 prisoners into 60 small cells. Prisoners included men. women and children and could range from murderers to the mentally ill down to those arrested for drunk and disorderly.
There are rumors of unmarked graves on the property although only 3 official hangings told place on the grounds. Rumors also abound of several unofficial hangings. After the jail closed in 1972 a bridge was built along side the jail and several bodies were found in unmarked graves. They may still be unmarked graves underneath the parking lot.
After the jail was closed it was converted into a youth hostel which it remains to this day. The top floor was the former death row and has been restored to its original condition and is available for tours. In fact the jail has only been partially converted and guests of the hostel can spend a night in jail. The jail’s gallows are also still intact and can still be viewed.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

The most famous ghost is said to be that of Patrick Whelan who was hung for a crime he may not have committed. His body was supposed to be buried in his family plot in Montreal but a judge fearing riots in Montreal ordered the body buried in an unmarked grave on the property.
Phenomena experienced in the building and on the grounds include: disembodied voices, slamming doors and apparitions.

Location

75 Nicholas Street

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Five – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Santa Fe, New Mexico, New Mexico State Penitentiary

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity -  4

Status – Private Property

Investigation Ease – 2

 

History

In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 2, 1980 when the guards entered Dormitory E-2 the door to the dormitory was accidentally left unlocked. In a strange violation of the prison’s security policies the door to the hallway that led to the prison’s control center was also left unlocked. There were only 15 guards on duty watching over 1,100 inmates.

When the riot began the inmates fled down the hall toward the control room. The guard on duty fled as the inmates smashed the shatter proof glass leaving behind keys that would open most of the prison’s doors and gates. What followed can only be described as a “nightmare”.

The inmates tore the prison apart even ripping out the plumbing. Some inmates broke into the infirmary and began taking as many drugs as they could leading to overdoses – some of them being fatal. Other inmates began to search for those who had done them wrong. By 8am they had gotten into the Tool Room and were using these tools to get into Cell Block 4 which housed the “snitches” and those inmates under protective custody.

The “snitches” were tortured and murdered horribly. One man was hung from the upper level of the cell block with sheets. Other men were decapitated and/or dismembered using the stolen tools. At least one man was burned alive – a mark on the prison’s floor remains to this floor from this grisly act. Twenty-three of the thirty-three prisoners killed met their end in Cell Block 4. Surprisingly all 12 guards who were taken prisoner lived; although some of them had been repeatedly beaten and raped by their captors.

By Sunday morning the riot, which had been disorganized from the beginning and fueled only by hate and drugs, began to calm down on its own. Many of the prisoners left the prison building and were waiting near the fence, which was lined with National Guardsmen armed with M-16′s, looking for protection. In the early afternoon of Sunday, February 3 the National Guardsmen and police retook the prison without any violence.

This episode remains a black day in the history of New Mexico and the prison was closed and locked up shortly after it happened. The prison now sits abandoned.

This location was used by Adam Sandler’s movie “The Longest Yard” and the water tower still bears the fictional name – Allenville.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

The most active areas of the former prison are Cell Block 4 as well as Cell Block 3; which housed the maximum security prisoner; the tool room and the tunnels underneath the prison including the laundry room and the gas chamber.

Reported activity includes: apparitions of former prisoners, shadow figures, cell doors opening and closing by themselves despite being locked, phantom footsteps and voices, unexplainable noises including bangs, growls and screams, overwhelming feelings of evil and darkness as well as unease and powerful fear, light anomalies, mysterious mists, the feelings of being watched and followed, being pushed, pulled, poked or genuinely attacked by invisible presences and electrical disturbances including lights coming on that have light current going to them.

 

 

Location

Off of Highway 14 just southwest of the city – accessed via Penitentiary Road. A word of warning the former prison grounds are located between the New Mexico National Guard Headquarters and the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office. Please obtain permission before entering the grounds.

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

 

Number Four – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Moundsville, West Virginia, Moundsville Penitentiary

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity -  4.5

Status – Heritage Property

Investigation Ease – 3.5

 

History

The land was bought in 1866 and construction was began on a new prison; the location was chosen because of its proximity to the then state capitol, Wheeling. The prison opened in 1876 as one of the most fearsome looking prisons having being built in the Gothic style. The facility opened with 251 male prisoners and room for a total of 480 but by the 1930s its population was exceeding 2,400. At times 3 inmates occupied one 5 x 7 cell.

The first execution occurred in 1899  and in total of 94 men were put to death in the prison – 85 were hung and the remaining 9 died in the electric chair. In 1959 the state abolished the death penalty and in 1986 the State Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners were receiving cruel and unusual punishment due in most part to two riots having happened and the deplorable overcrowding and living conditions. This would eventually spell the end of the facility’s use as a penitentiary and Moundsville would close in 1995.

Currently this location gives historical tours both in the daytime and limited tours at night. There is also a “lights out” event after the night tours end at 130 am until 6 am when you armed only with a flashlight and a camera.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

The ghost of a maintenance man who was stabbed to death by prisoners in the basement for telling the guards on them. The circular entrance gate still turns on its own eternally bringing in prisoners to the facility. Areas where paranormal activity is most common include: The Sugar Shack – an indoor area used when the outdoor exercise yard could not be used, Death Row, the Shower Cages and the North Wagon Gate – where prisoners were held before execution in the days previous to the electric chair. Other reported activity – phantom footsteps, disembodied voices, screams, crying, pleading, banging and other loud noises, light anomalies, extreme feeling of unease and being watched and laughing.

 

Location

818 Jefferson Avenue 

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Three – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

San Francisco, California, Alcatraz (Former Federal Maximum Security Penitentiary) National Recreation Area

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity -  4

Status – Museum

Investigation Ease – 4

 

History

Often referred as “The Rock” this small island located 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco has had many has had many uses including a lighthouse, a military fort, a military prison and maximum security prison. The island is now operated by the National Parks Service and tours are given on a daily basis from a ferry departing from Pier 33 in San Francisco Harbor.

The island now contains the abandoned prison, the oldest lighthouse on the west coast of the United States, ruins of military fortifications and a seabird colony.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

During the day Alcatraz is filled with tourists and guides but when the sun goes down the island becomes what has been described as one giant haunted house. The utility corridor leading from the visitor’s room where two prisoners were killed by machine guns and grenades during a failed escape attempt in 1946 has become one of the locations of focused activity. Clanging noises have often been heard that stop immediately when the door is opened; in fact this door was welded shut for a period of time possibly due to this activity. Sounds of man running on the upper levels in the main cell block have been heard. Voices and screams have been heard coming the dungeon and the hospital ward. Cell 14D has been found to be constantly much colder than other cells as well as an overwhelming feeling of anxiety is felt inside the cell. When the prison was open a prisoner was found dead in cell 14D after screaming about seeing something with glowing eyes in there with him attacking him. A few days after the incident guards doing a head count saw the dead man at the end of the line up before he disappeared right before their eyes. The sound of banjo music has been heard coming from the shower room where “Al Capone” used to be allowed to practice fearing that his instrument would be broken if he took it into the exercise yard. All manner of other paranormal activity has been reported in this location over the years including: apparitions of prisoners and soldiers, sounds of crying, moaning and gunshots, light anomalies, mysterious mists and phantom smells including that of smoke from the laundry room. 

 

Location

San Francisco Bay – accessible only by ferry at Pier 33

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

Number Two – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

East Maitland, Australia, Old Maitland Gaol

 

Chance of Paranormal Activity – 3.5

Status – Museum

Investigation Ease – 4.5

 

History

Although the construction of the first permanent buildings did not begin until 1846 this location was used as a jail as early as 1843 when 2 men were hung for the murder of a child. It was officially opened in 1848. Public executions were held at the main gate until 1861 to large crowds and 16 men were executed in the prison (although it debatable where they happened after 1861) between 1849 and 1897 (when all executions were stopped) for rape and murder. The last man executed in May of 1897 was convicted of raping his step-daughter but maintained his innocence until he was hung. Corporal punishment was continued until 1905 with flogging being the most common punishment.

In 1975 there was a prison riot which resulted in the maintenance building being burned. The 78 rioting prisoners were all moved to other prisons. In 1977 there was a mass escape of 7 prisoners but all were back in custody within 2 hours. In 1980 a large escape was discovered and the man who told prison officials about was shortly thereafter found with his throat slit so violently he was very nearly decapitated. In 1993 a new wing was constructed only for prisoners who had committed the worst crimes keeping them completely separated from the general population. 

On January 31, 1998 Maitland Goal was closed down permanently – it was longest continually used prison in Australia. It has since been converted into a museum and tourist attraction.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

Apparitions of former staff and inmates on the grounds, on the wall and inside of the buildings. The apparition of an inmate who rocks back and forth at the door to his former cell. The feelings of being watched, followed and not wanted. Empathic sensations of sadness and extreme violence. Doors opening and closing on their own. Unexplained bangs, scrapes and other noises as well as disembodied whispers. Other activity: light anomalies, unexplained mists, shadow figures and unexplained temperature changes.

We also came across a legend that a inmate in Cell C in Block 4 made a deal with Satan before committing suicide by setting himself on fire. This is said to be proven by Satanic symbols drawn on the wall of the cell. The unfortunate guard who had to clean up the mess left behind was said to be a grounded man but he went home broke his bathroom mirror and slashed his wrists with the broken glass. Before bleeding to death he apparently wrote a message with his own blood claiming that he needed to die to stop the Satanic forces from escaping into the world. Cell C Block 4 was padlocked shut and remains so to this day.   

 

Location

6-18 John Street

Maitland Gaol Website

Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI

 

 

 

Number One – Haunted Prisons and Reform Schools

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Chance of Paranormal Activity – 5

Status – Abandoned, Owned by the City

Investigation Ease – 5 with Permission

History
Opened on October 25, 1829 this site was the world’s first true penitentiary. When it was first constructed it was the world’s biggest and most expensive public structure ever made – its unique wagon wheel design became the model for more than 300 prisons constructed world wide. Each prisoner was incarcerated separately and the warden had to visit each one of them at least once a day;  the overseer had to see each one three times a day. The cells possessed only one skylight as the Eye of God above the prisoner and they were exercised separately as well with high walls preventing any prisoner communication. Prisoners were not allowed visits from their friends or families but several distinguished guests were allowed to tour the prison and speak with the prisoners. Eventually this system would collapse due to overcrowding.
 
The prisoners were put through what we would now call torture to assure they were penitent for their crimes. These included being drenched with freezing water outside in the winter., chaining their tongues to their wrists and putting them in a pit with little food, no light and no human contact for as long as 2 weeks.
 
In 1966 the prison was dedicated as a historical landmark. It was closed and abandoned in 1971 before being bought by the city hoping to build a mall or apartment complex within the walls. These dreams did not come to fruition though the property sat abandoned while tress grew in the cell blocks and the site became a home for the city’s stray cat population. In 1988 a petition was granted to halt any re-development plans  and in 1994 the prison re-opened to the public and historical tours were given.
 
This location has been featured on MTV’s Fear, SCIFI Channel’s Ghost Hunters and TLC.
Legends and Paranormal Activity

EVPs reacting to actions being taken by living visitors, feelings of being watched and not wanted. people have pushed, tugged and grabbed, apparitions of former inmates and guards including a guard who stands eternally at his post in a watchtower, light anomalies, mysterious mists, disembodied voices, far off ghostly laughter in Cell Block 12, Al Capone was a prisoner and complained of nightly visits of one of his victims, shadow figures, figures have been sen darting from one cell to another, phantom footsteps and sounds of screaming and crying.

Location
2027 Fairmont Avenue
Have you or anyone you know experienced paranormal activity at this location? If so please email us your story at HNAI