Eastern State Penitentiary


The story of Eastern State penitentiary.

The Eastern State penitentiary is currently kept in a state of preserved ruin and is considered to be of the United States' most haunted structures.

The former prison credited to John Haviland is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was designed to house two hundred and fifty inmates each in solitary confinement in their own cells. A then revolutionary concept of punishment by solitary confinement was first put into practice here when it was opened in 1829 Colonial America. The prevailing system in those days laid emphasis on physical punishment. This 'separate system' inspired by Quaker-esque thought this pioneering concept in the field of incarceration was supposed to encourage prisoners to meditate upon their sins and criminal activities and possible spiritual atonement. This was hugely unsuccessful as more than helping inmates reflect on their deeds sans distractions it drove many to distraction. Mental illness was believed to have sprung up as a result.

The penitentiary quickly mutated into an over crowded jail with the number of prisoners going far beyond two hundred and fifty and touching up to one thousand seven hundred at a point.

An eminent personality, Charles Dickens, has visited the prison, though not as an inmate. Infamous prisoners the penitentiary has housed include Al Capone (according to legend harassed while incarcerated by the ghost of one of the victims of his St Valentine's day Massacre, James Clark) and Willie Sutton (involved in a highly successful prison break from the penitentiary along with twelve inmates).

With passions here running high, emotions and depression abounding it is no surprise that people claim the prison is haunted.

Shadowy apparitions that scuttle away have been reported especially in cell number six where a shadowy figure apparently slithers down a wall. The guard tower is said to be haunted by something that appropriately enough appears to be standing guard. Cell number four has witnessed apparently genuine sightings of ghostlike faces. Sounds of ominous laughter have been reported to issue from cell number twelve.

To add to which most cell blocks are not open to visitors during tours of the Penitentiary so it's hard to ascertain for oneself whether the stories are true or just fanciful yarns.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

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