Former Penetentiary a Paranormal Hot Spot

Posted on October 31, 2010 by

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Looking for a real haunted house this year?

Instead of hay rides and corn mazes, take a tour through the Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It first opened in 1829 and held famous criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. The original design for the building separated each cell by a wooden door and a metal door to keep out the noise. The halls of the prison were meant to display a church-like atmosphere, and the doors were believed to be very small so as to reduce the risk of attacks on guards or other inmates.

If you resided at this prison and broke the rules, your punishment was brutal. Some prisoners were subjected to a water bath; they would have their heads dunked in ice-cold water and hung from the wall. Others were forced to be strapped in the “Mad Chair,” where they sat for days without food or water until the straps around them became so tight that they cut off almost all circulation. The most horrific punishment was the Iron Gag; an iron collar was clamped onto the tongue of the inmate, and his wrists were chained high behind his back. Any movement could cause severe bleeding from the tongue. Most died from this tortuous ordeal before their punishment was over.

Since 1966, the Eastern State Penitentiary has been considered a historical land mark, and it is now open to the public for viewing. Visitors have always reported ghost sightings and strange sounds from the deceased prisoners. Since the penitentiary was abandoned in 1971, the appearances of these ghosts have only increased.

The Eastern State Penitentiary just might be the most closely studied building in the United States. People travel from around the world to explore this place, and they usually don’t leave disappointed. Visitors get a firsthand look at where inmates lived and died, and if you look closely enough, perhaps you will still see their ghosts lurking behind the walls.

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