|Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia has many spirits that lurk among it's corridors and cell blocks|
Eastern State has been one of the most studied paranormal sites around as it is deemed one of the most haunted places in the world by many. It has been investigated by many of the well known paranormal teams and featured on many shows such as Ghost Hunters, Fear, Ghost Adventures, and Mysterious Worlds. Many of the paranormal activities that go on here were captured by these teams and/or the investigators themselves. Many staff members refuse to stay there overnight.
A Torrid History
Although the Quakers are a peaceful, religious people, when Eastern State was at the height of it's operations, the hired help were not so kind. It is told that many forms of torture were used on the prisoners at times. When a prisoner was not co-operating, sometimes they would be thrown into solitary confinement for weeks at at time in a place known as "the hole" which was literally a hole dug out under cell block 14. Occasionally prisoners would be given what is known as a 'water bath' where in the Winter, they were totally submerged in water, then hung up and chained. They would be found in the morning with a layer of ice on their skin.
|An overview of the wheel shaped cell blocks of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia|
Some prisoners would be driven insane from conditions and some of the punishments such as "the hole". They would be placed in something called "The Mad Chair" where they would be strapped in extremely tightly and be denied food for days. And finally some prisoners actually met their death via something called "The Iron Gag". If a prisoner talked too much or would scream incessantly, they would be subjected to this device which was clamped to their tongues and the attached behind their backs to their hands and feet so that if they moved, the clamp would dig into their tongue. Many bled to death via this device.
The prison was originally designed to hold 250 prisoners in 1829 when it was constructed. Around the time of it's closure in 1971, it held over 1700 prisoners. Overcrowded conditions also contributed to the miserable state of the inmates within Eastern State's confines.
So many of these tortured souls still roam within the prison walls. Many of which are phantoms of the worse kind in that they are shadow figures. These forms of spirits are believed to be of evil intent. This makes sense considering where they have manifested and came to be.
Al Capone' Cell
In 1929, gangster Al Capone spent some time at Eastern State in cell block 7. It is not known to be haunted by him however, Al Capone actually claimed to have been haunted during his stay there by St. Valentine’s Day Massacre victim James Clark. He complained about being haunted by Clark's spirit nightly and that it would not go away.
|Cell block 7 at Eastern State Penitentiary is where Al Capone was haunted by spirits of his past|
Cell Block 4
A locksmith was working on an old lock and was having trouble when he suddenly was overcome by something he could not explain. As if in a paralyzed state, he felt to be almost out of his body as he was having visions of distorted faces appearing on the cell walls.
The Haunted Guard Tower
It is said that the shadowy figure of a phantom prison guard can be seen keeping watch over the prison from one of the towers on occasion. No one knows who it may be or what his history is at Eastern State, but for some reason he has chosen to keep watch over the prison walls. Or maybe he does not have a choice in the matter.
Although no executions were ever carried out at Eastern State Penitentiary, death row served as a transfer area where prisoners would spend their days until they were transferred to another prison to be executed. Over the years, it has been reported that shadow figures have been seen in this area. Also, spirits have thought have been heard crying or weeping.
Cell Block 12
Reported to be one of the most haunted areas of the prison, many have seen shadow figures moving about, passing from cell to cell as if trying to not be detected. Sounds of laughter and sometimes ethereal whispers can be heard echoing within the walls and cells of this block.
Actual apparitions have been seen walking about this area of Eastern State Penitentiary. Believed to be actual visitors, then it is learned that no other person other than the witness was in the area at the time.
Eastern State Penitentiary is open as a tourist attraction today. Historical tours are given on a regular basis daily. Haunted ghost tours are given in the yearly October feature called Terror Behind the Walls.
|The layout of the wheel shaped cell blocks of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia|
You can take an interactive on-line tour of Eastern State by using this link (http://www.easternstate.org/explore/online-360-tour).
Eastern State Penitentiary is located at
22nd Street & Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania