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The Ghosts of Eastern State Penitentiary

Definition: Approximately two dozen paranormal investigations take place at Philadelphia's abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in a typical year.

 

Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and served as a prison until 1970. It was then abandoned until 1991, when a non-profit organization determined to preserve the historic building held a Halloween fundraiser to raise money to create a daytime tour program. Since then, a the fundraiser has been held every year, and today, the prison's annual "Terror Behind the Walls" tour is one of the most popular haunted attractions in the country.

But are there real ghosts at the Eastern State Penitentiary, or is the terror manufactured for the benefit of tourists? According to the Penitentiary's official Web site, the first tales of mysterious visions and eerie appearances were reported by officers and inmates as early as the 1940s, and the strange sightings increased after the prison closed.

One of the most widely known stories from the prison involves a locksmith named Gary Johnson, who was hired to remove an old lock on Cell Block 4. The locksmith reported that after he removed the lock, he was overcome by a force so strong he could not move. In a version of Johnson's story recounted on Ghosteyes.com, "tormented faces appeared in the cell, ghostly swirls spun around and one form seemed to draw the locksmith to it." Tourists, employees and volunteers continue to report hearing shouts, whispers, laughter and weeping throughout the penitentiary cellblocks, where prisoners were once held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Approximately two dozen paranormal investigations take place at the former prison in a typical year, and the ghost hunters nearly always find evidence of paranormal activity, from mysterious voices to unexplained images captured on camera.

Collections:

Hauntings and Legends

 

Related Categories:

| The Legend of the Bell Witch | Legend of Hells Funnel | River Styx Bridge | Franklin, Ben | The Addison Haunting | Westminster Abbey Haunting | The Haunting at Apsley House | The Haunted Grenadier Pub | The London Tower | Ghosts of the Stanley | The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Hauntings | Ghosts of Gettysburg | The Story Behind the Winchester House | The Titanic Exhibit | Tombstone - Arizona | The Ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium |

Resources:

  external linkTop 10 Famous Hauntings: Games & More: TLC

 

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