Eastern State Penitentiary Ghost Photo sent to us by Brad Mack. This Ghost Photo was given to me by my uncle who says he had it tucked away for years because it frightened him and remined him of the ecounter he had their with a real ghost!.
Today, the Eastern State Penitentiary operates as a museum and historic site, open from April 1 through November 30. In addition, it holds many special events throughout the year. Each July, Eastern State offers a Bastille Day celebration, complete with a comedic reinterpretation of the storming of the Bastille and the tossing of thousands of Twinkies and Tastykakes from the towers.
In October, it offers a popular Terror Behind the Walls haunted house.
The facility has been kept in "preserved ruin," meaning that no significant attempts have been made for renovations or upkeep. Guests are asked to sign a liability waiver due to some minor safety concerns.
Due to Eastern State's ominous appearance, gloomy atmosphere and long history, it is a popular location for television shows and movies about hauntings. The Sci Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters and MTV's Fear both explored the supernatural at Eastern State, while Terry Gilliam's film Twelve Monkeys used it as the setting for a mental hospital. On 1 June 2007, the Travel Channel program, Most Haunted Live, conducted and broadcasted a paranormal investigation live (for the first time in the United States) from Eastern State Penitentiary for an unprecedented seven continuous hours hoping to come in contact with supernatural beings. Punk group the Dead Milkmen also filmed the music video for their song "Punk Rock Girl" in Eastern State.
Designed by John Haviland and opened on October 25, 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary, despite the fact that the Walnut Street Jail, which opened in 1776, was called a "penitentiary" as early as 1790 . Eastern State's revolutionary system of incarceration, dubbed the "Pennsylvania System" or Separate system, encouraged separate confinement (the warden was legally required to visit every inmate every day, and the overseers were mandated to see each inmate three times a day) as a form of rehabilitation.
The Pennsylvania System was opposed contemporaneously by the Auburn System (also known as the New York System), which held that prisoners should be forced to work together in silence, and could be subjected to physical punishment (Sing Sing prison was an example of the Auburn system). Although the Auburn system was favored in the United States, Eastern State's radial floor plan and system of solitary confinement was the model for over 300 prisons worldwide. The original goal was for prisoners to want to open up to God, thus seeking penance.
The original design of the cells were separated by a metal door and a wooden door to filter out noise. The halls were designed to have the feel of a church. Some believe that the doors were small so prisoners would have a harder time getting out, minimizing an attack to a security guard. The cells were made of concrete with a single glass skylight, representing the "Eye of God", hinting the prisoners that God was always watching them. Outside the cell, there was an individual area for exercise, enclosed by high walls so prisoners couldn't communicate. Each exercise time for each prisoner was synchronized so no two prisoners would be out at the same time. Prisoners were allowed to garden and even keep pets in their exercise yards. When prisoners left the cell, a guard would accompany them and wrap them in a hood.
Get ready to be SCARED! Explore the halls and cells of the infamous prison with the original paranormal investigation show.
Filmed in 2005 and finished in 2007, this episode was featured in the 2007 Staten Island Film Festival.
The original design of the building was for seven one-story cell blocks, but by the time cell block three was completed, it was already over capacity. From then on, all the other cell blocks were two floors. Toward the end, cell blocks 14 and 15 were hastily built due to overcrowding. They were built and designed by prisoners. Cell block 15 was for the worst prisoners, and the guards were gated off.
It was widely believed (then and now) that the policy of keeping prisoners in intense isolation, rather than leading to the spiritual actualization and social reform it intended, induced significant mental illness among many of its prisoners instead. The system eventually collapsed due to overcrowding problems. By 1913, Eastern State officially abandoned the solitary system and operated as a congregate prison until it closed in 1970 (Eastern State was briefly used to house city inmates in 1971 after a riot at Holmesburg Prison).
Al Capone's cell
The prison was one of the largest public-works projects of the early republic, and was a tourist destination in the 19th century. Notable visitors included Charles Dickens and Alexis de Tocqueville while notable inmates included Willie Sutton and Al Capone. Visitors spoke with prisoners in their cells, proving that inmates were not isolated, though the prisoners themselves were not allowed to have any visits with family or friends during their stay.
The Penitentiary was intended not simply to punish, but to move the criminal toward spiritual reflection and change. While some have argued that the Pennsylvania System was Quaker-inspired, there is little evidence to support this; the organization that promoted Eastern State's creation, the Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons (today's Pennsylvania Prison Society) was in fact less than half Quaker, and was led for nearly fifty years by Philadelphia's Anglican bishop, William White. Proponents of the system believed strongly that the criminals, exposed, in silence, to thoughts of their behavior and the ugliness of their crimes, would become genuinely penitent. In reality, the guards and councilors of the facility designed a variety of physical and psychological torture regimens for various infractions, including dousing prisoners in freezing water outside during winter months, chaining their tongues to their wrists in a fashion such that struggling against the chains could cause the tongue to tear, strapping prisoners into chairs with tight leather restraints for days on end, and putting them into a pit called "The Hole" dug under cellblock 14 where they would have no light, no human contact, and little food for as long as two weeks.
In 1924, Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot allegedly sentenced Pep "The Cat-Murdering Dog" to a life sentence at Eastern State. Pep allegedly murdered the governor’s wife’s cherished cat. Prison records reflect that Pep was assigned an inmate number (no. C2559), which is seen in his mug shot. However, the reason for Pep’s incarceration remains a subject of some debate. A newspaper article reported that the governor donated his own dog to the prison to increase inmate morale.
On April 3, 1945, a major prison escape was carried out by twelve inmates (including the infamous Willie Sutton) who over the course of a year managed to dig an undiscovered 97-foot tunnel under the prison wall to freedom. During renovations in the 1930s an additional 30 incomplete inmate-dug tunnels were also discovered.
It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
The prison was closed and abandoned in 1971. Many prisoners and guards were transferred to Graterford Prison, about 31 miles west of Eastern State. The City of Philadelphia purchased the property with the intention of redeveloping it. The site had several proposals, including a mall, and a luxury apartment complex surrounded by the old prison walls.
In 1988, the Eastern State Penitentiary Task Force successfully petitioned Mayor Wilson Goode to halt redevelopment. In 1994, Eastern State opened to the public for historic tours.
Eastern State Penetentiary Hours
Every Day, Twelve Months A Year:
10am to 5pm (last entry: 4pm)
Summer Twilight Hours:
June through August
Wednesday evenings until 8 pm
Last Entry: 7 pm
No reservations necessary.
The Eastern State Penitentiary is considered one of America's most historic former prisons. It was operational from 1829 until 1971 and is located on Fairmount Avenue between Corinthian Avenue and North 22nd Street in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its revolutionary system of incarceration was the first to establish the policy of separate confinement, emphasizing principles of reform rather than punishment. Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held inside its unique wagon wheel design. When the building was erected it was the largest and most expensive public structure ever constructed, quickly becoming a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.
It is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, open to the public as a museum for tours seven days a week, twelve months a year 10 am to 5 pm.
Known as being the most expensive building built in the U.S. at the time, the Eastern State Penitentiary became a prototype in design to 300 prisons. The inmates who broke the rules risked being dunked in a bath of ice-cold water then hung from a wall for the night. During the winter months, when this punishment was most popular, the water on the inmates's skin would form into a layer of ice before morning.
Since its closure visitors, employees and those researching paranormal activity have reportedly heard unexplained eerie sounds throughout the prison. Eastern State Penitentiary, is a a grim 172-year-old former state prison, was once home to famous inmates Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Pained former prisoners are said to haunt Eastern State's dark Gothic halls. Halloween staff regularly reports seeing the "Soap Lady" dressed in white in the last cell on the second floor. "Terror Behind the Walls," a Halloween tour of the 12-acre site, is offered by candlelight, with visits to The Asylum, Cellblock of Lost Souls and a Tunnel Escape included in the "fun." Not for the faint of heart. 20th Street & Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-5111
When the Eastern State Penitentiary, or Cherry Hill as it was known at the time, was erected in 1829( the idea of this new prison was created in a meeting held at benjamin franklins house in 1787) it was the largest and most expensive public structure in the country. Its architectural significance first arose in 1821, when British architect John Haviland was chosen to design the building. Haviland found most of his inspiration for his plan for the penitentiary from prisons and asylums built beginning in the 1780s in England and Ireland. These complexes consist of cell wings radiating in a semi or full circle array from a center tower from where the prison could be kept under constant surveillance. The design for the penitentiary which Haviland devised became known as the hub-and-spoke plan which consisted of an octagonal center connected by corridors to seven radiating single-story cell blocks, each containing two ranges of large single cells—8 x 12 feet x 10 feet high- with hot water heating, a water tap, toilet, and individual exercise yards the same width as the cell. There were rectangular openings in the cell wall through which food and work materials could be passed to the prisoner, as well as peepholes for guards to observe prisoners without being seen. To minimize the opportunities for communication between inmates Haviland designed a basic flush toilet for each cell with individual pipes leading to a central sewer which he hoped would prevent the sending of messages between adjacent cells.Despite his efforts, prisoners were still able to communicate with each other and the flushing system had to be redesigned several times. Haviland remarked that he chose the design to promote "watching, convenience, economy, and ventilation" (Norman Johnson, Crucible of Good Intentions:35). Once construction of the prison was completed in 1836, it could house 450 prisoners.
John Haviland completed the architecture of the Eastern state penitentiary in 1836. Each cell was lit only by a single lighting source from either skylights or windows, was considered the “window of God” or “Eye of God”. The church viewed imprisonment, usually in isolation, as an instrument that would modify sinful or disruptive behavior. The time spent in prison will help inmates reflect on their crimes committed giving them the mission for redemption. Gothic churches and cathedrals were mainly built in Europe, France and England in the 13th through the 17th centuries. The structure was not only built in a Gothic style to intimidate wrongdoers, but to remind the free citizens what might befall on them should they break the law. " will strike fear in the hearts of those intent of conmitting a crime" john haviland 1829 .
"Appalachian GhostWalks", a proud member of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, cordially invites you and your family, friends, or group to join us as we explore the mysteries of our mountain heritage. Together, we will travel back in time to visit and learn about the "People Of The Past". As we stroll down Main Street in each of Haunted and Historic Appalachia's oldest towns, you will be amazed with at least two hours of mystery, legend, intrigue, and fun family adventure. We will paint an accurate and tantalizing portrait of the past encompassing all of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia on your journey through time...
Appalachian GhostWalks - Haunted Vacations Ghost and History Tours
Start a new tradition this year and bring your whole family, or tour group on a Tennessee "Haunted Vacation" with Appalachian GhostWalks' Tennessee and Virginia Ghost Tours...
TRI-CITIES, Tennessee - It's that time of year when we all start dreaming of our next get away. Why not start a new tradition this year and bring your whole family or tour group on a "Haunted Vacation". Appalachian GhostWalks Ghost and History Tours are lantern-led by real, professionally Certified Ghost Hunters who recount "spine-tingling" stories of real history and real ghosts! Bring your whole family, or tour group on a Tennessee and Virginia "Haunted Vacation" with Appalachian GhostWalks' Tennessee and Virginia Ghost Tours.
"Appalachian GhostWalks" has designed tour packages to help save Tennessee travelers money on their next visit to the mountains. Additional information on all of their "Spook and Save" vacation partners is available on their award winning website where visitors will find links to their "Discount Haunted Vacation Planning Packages". Here, you will find a variety of elegant, quaint, old-world style, and haunted bed and breakfasts, but also more modernized accommodations for those who prefer an alternate setting for their stay.
With tours appropriate for ages five and up, you're invited to bring your whole family, or tour group on a historic adventure and a walk back through time to visit with the "People of the Past". Each historically accurate tour offers a small piece of a much larger puzzle of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia history as your guide weaves a chilly tale of our region's vast cultural heritage coupled with true, spine-tingling ghost stories. Catering to groups as few as two people, one simple phone call will help you create a memorable fall evening out in one of our area's first western frontier towns.
Appalachian GhostWalks, will be featured in the upcoming fall 2009 issue of "Smoky Mountain Living" and was also the recipient of the Washington D.C. based U.S. Local Business Association's 2008 and 2009 "Tour Operators and Promoters" Award for two years running. In addition, the company was recently nominated "Best Tennessee History Tours" by "Official Best Of". Finally, Appalachian GhostWalks has been selected by popular vote as one of the top five ghost tour companies in the country for the past five years and counting by "Haunted America" in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Twelve different ghost and history tours located here in the heart of the Northeastern Tennessee and Southwest Virginia Mountains include Historic Dandridge, Erwin and Unicoi County Heritage Museum, the East Tennessee State University Campus, Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site, Greeneville, Rogersville, Blountville, downtown Johnson City's "Little Chicago GhostWalk" and Jonesborough - once listed on the Travel Channel as one of the top ten most haunted towns in America! Other haunted historic tours presently include the historic districts of Bristol, also known as the "Birthplace of Country Music" and Abingdon, Virginia - the "Gate to America's First Western Frontier".
Several bus tours are currently under production for a 2010 inauguration to include the Upper and Lower "Great Smoky Mountains Haunted Adventure Tours" and the "Great Stage Road Haunted Adventure Tour". These tours will include historic sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cades Cove, as well as several 'highly spirited' stops along Tennessee's oldest state road.
All tours operate year-round, nightly by advance reservation. Simply call (423) 743-WALK (9255) with the number in your party, the tour location of your choice, and the date you and your party would like to tour. Also, everyone is invited to visit the award winning tour website at www.AppalachianGhostWalks.com for additional information.
Travel discounts are available on accommodations for recreational vehicles and tourists including a wonderful choice of very historic and sometimes haunted bed and breakfasts, camping, white water rafting, caving, bike and horseback riding, a local gem mine, a day at the spa, planetarium shows, barge and carriage rides, area museums and exhibits, visits to local water parks, skiing, seeing a live play, or a concert, casual and fine dining, with more on the way. Packages featuring a wide variety of area attractions to include both day and night time activities offer visitors something to keep you and your travel companions enchanted and entertained during their stay.
Rates vary according to the number in your party and advance reservations are required. We accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. We tend to stay busy throughout the year so please call when you have a convenient moment with your date, or dates. Ten percent of the company's annual profits go to benefit Saint Jude's Children's Research Hospital so come out and support a great cause as you enjoy the thrill, chills, mystery, history, and true ghost stories of our Southern Appalachian Mountains!
Now offering so many ways to save and make the most of your visit to the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian GhostWalks invites you and that special someone, or group to join them in saying, "Tennessee Sounds Good To Me"! Once again, visit them online at www.AppalachianGhostWalks.com for additional information, or for a SPOOK-tacular good time please call (423) 743-WALK (9255) for reservations.
P.O. Box 153, Unicoi, TN 37692 USA.
Reservations and Info: (423) 743-WALK (9255)
Please come again soon and thank you for visiting www.AppalachianGhostWalks.com
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