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  • Scattered across America are dozens of empty and forlorn buildings, filled with the memories

  • of their occupants' misery and despair and a lingering history of violence, torture and

  • even murder.

  • These are America's abandoned prisons, and the stories of the most haunted prisons in

  • the country would shock and horrify the most hardened paranormal enthusiast.

  • Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the oldest prisons in the U.S. Founded

  • by Quakers in 1829, the prison remained open for nearly 150 years before it closed in the

  • 1970s.

  • It should come as no surprise that the prison is also rumoured to be one of the most haunted

  • places in America - with its grand and impressive architecture, complete with vaulted stone

  • ceilings and imposing guard towers topped with medieval-style battlements, it certainly

  • looks haunted.

  • And there's plenty of real darkness in the prison's century and a half long history

  • to lend credence to the idea that the tortured souls of former inmates still haunt the prison's

  • abandoned cells and corridors.

  • Ghost stories have haunted Eastern State Penn since the 1940s, with visitors, staff, guards

  • and even former inmates reporting eerie encounters and unexplained phenomena.

  • Numerous witnesses have heard ghostly footsteps and disembodied voices echoing through the

  • supposedly empty corridors.

  • Others have reported seeing shadowy figures and ghostly faces in the now abandoned cell

  • blocks, or glimpsing the outline of a guard in one of the unused towers.

  • Gary Johnson was a locksmith who worked at the prison in the 1990s.

  • One day, while he was working to unjam the old fashioned lock on one of the cells, he

  • suddenly felt overcome with a sense of fear and dread.

  • He felt an unseen force grip him, and he was unable to move.

  • Then, as he stood there frozen and terrified, the cell wall became covered with tormented

  • ghostly faces, one of which seemed to be beckoning him toward it.

  • Some of the darker parts of the prison's history may have also left a permanent impression

  • on the building.

  • The prison's earliest inmates were apparently subjected to horrific punishments in supposed

  • efforts to reform them, and more than a few inmates met a brutal death within the prison's

  • walls.

  • Unfortunate prisoners were subjected to the iron gag, a horrific torture device that involved

  • an iron collar placed in the inmate's mouth and attached to their hands, which were tied

  • behind their back - the slightest inevitable movement of the arms would cause the collar

  • to gouge and tear into the inmate's tongue.

  • Others were doused in cold water and hung naked outside on the wall in frigid temperatures

  • until their skin froze.

  • Some experienced the horrors of the Mad Chair, a torture device that inmates were strapped

  • into straight coat-style, often so tightly that all circulation to their limbs would

  • be completely cut off, sometimes to the point that the limb had to be amputated afterwards.

  • But the most disturbing horror stories - and most of the paranormal activity - comes from

  • the prison's dungeon-like basement.

  • Deep underground inside the stone fortress' foundations, particularly troublesome inmates

  • were subjected to the most inhumane form solitary confinement imaginable in The Hole.

  • The Hole was dark and dank, with no bed, no toilet, hardly any food or water or even air.

  • Completely isolated with no human contact whatsoever, many prisoners went insane inside

  • The Hole.

  • With this kind of darkness in its history, it's no wonder that countless witnesses

  • have reported hearing tortured wails, piercing screams and desperate moans from within the

  • supposedly empty and abandoned building.

  • But don't take their word for it - the facility is open to the public as a historic site,

  • so brave tourists can visit and see for themselves if there's any truth to the ghost stories...if

  • they dare.

  • While a history of torture is sure to leave its mark on a building, a long tradition of

  • executions is sure to create the perfect environment for the tormented spirits of those who were

  • killed, only to return.

  • Built in 1876 on the outskirts of the tiny town of Moundsville, the imposing stone facade

  • of West Virginia State Penitentiary resembles a gothic fortress.

  • The prison housed thousands of the country's most violent criminals in its 100-plus year

  • history, often under abysmal conditions.

  • The prison was extremely overcrowded, often forcing 3 violent grown men to share a single

  • 5 foot by 7 foot cell.

  • The inmates of Virginia State Penitentiary were the worst of the worst - and many of

  • them lost their lives behind the chilling stone walls of the prison.

  • 94 men were executed on the site - 85 of them were hanged, and a further 9 of them were

  • executed by the electric chair.

  • The 1931 execution of Frank Hyer was particularly gruesome, and resulted in the executions of

  • prisoners no longer being a public spectacle.

  • Hyer was set to be hanged, which, at the time, involved carefully calculating the prisoner's

  • weight and drop distance to ensure a quick and relatively painless death for the inmate.

  • But in Hyer's case, the calculations were off, and when the floor dropped out from under

  • him, he fell with such force that he was instantly decapitated in front of a crowd of stunned

  • and horrified onlookers.

  • Aside from the many deaths by execution, many more inmates lost their lives at the hands

  • of fellow prisoners, and possibly even a guard or 2.

  • Countless inmates were stabbed with improvised blades, ruthlessly beaten to death, or hung

  • to die in their cells.

  • Since its closing in 1995, Virginia State Penitentiary has become known as one of most

  • haunted sites in the entire country.

  • Most of the activity reported by staff and visitors comes from the North Hall, where

  • the most dangerous inmates were kept.

  • Witnesses report seeing shadowy figures and hearing disembodied footsteps when visiting

  • the area, even when they are the only people in the building.

  • Other reports come from The Hole and the Sugar Shack, an underground recreation room used

  • by the inmates when the weather was too bad for them to go outside.

  • Some of the prison's most brutal and violent incidents happened here, where it was difficult

  • for guards to keep watch and intervene, and impossible for a victim to escape.

  • In these dank subterranean spaces, witnesses not only report seeing and hearing unexplainable

  • things, but also experience an overwhelming sense of panic and a paranoid feeling of being

  • watched.

  • One reporter got more than he bargained for when he visited the prison in an effort to

  • debunk the rumours of paranormal activity.

  • The reporter was given a thorough tour of the prison, and a detailed account of its

  • gruesome history, before he was left alone in the building at night.

  • As he explored the empty corridors and abandoned cells he encountered nothing but a stray cat,

  • and was starting to feel more confident as he set off downstairs to explore the Hole

  • and the Sugar Shack.

  • Again, he didn't see or hear anything, but he couldn't shake the feeling of being watched

  • and a sense of intense paranoia.

  • He decided to head out into the yard to regroup and get some fresh air before continuing his

  • explorations.

  • While outside, he turned back to look at the wall of the prison's notorious North Hall,

  • and just as he looked up, he saw a shadowy figure walk across one of the hall's highest

  • windows.

  • After that experience, the reporter was unable to stomach the idea of going back inside,

  • and he left hours before his midnight deadline.

  • Some prisons have always been a sad and horrifying place, but others started out on a much more

  • positive note before descending into chaos, violence, and, of course, paranormal activity.

  • The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, is famous for being the setting of the movie

  • The Shawshank Redemption, but it's infamous for its supposed hauntings and paranormal

  • activities.

  • Opened in 1896, the Ohio State Reformatory was meant to be a middle-ground facility for

  • criminals who were too old for the juvenile system, but not hardened enough to warrant

  • a sentence at the notorious Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus.

  • When it first opened, the prison was praised for its revolutionary and humane methods for

  • reforming first-time offenders.

  • But, before long, the prison would descend into neglect and disrepair, and it would become

  • known for rampant abuse, torture and even murder.

  • By the 1930s, Ohio State Reformatory had become overcrowded, filthy and nearly uninhabitable.

  • Despite a lawsuit filed by former inmates alleging that the facility was unfit for occupation,

  • the prison remained open until 1986.

  • Since then, rumours of paranormal activity have flourished, and many believe that the

  • prison is haunted by the tormented spirits of former inmates, guards and even prison

  • officials.

  • Witnesses have reported paranormal activity emanating from the prison's basement, the

  • home of theirlocal controlcell - AKA solitary confinement.

  • Here, difficult inmates were locked away in total darkness and isolation, often for weeks

  • on end.

  • Visitors report hearing tortured screams and moans coming from the basement, as well as

  • hearing disembodied footsteps and seeing unexplainable apparitions.

  • Others claim to have overheard a whispered conversation between a man and a woman - too

  • indistinct to make out, but too insistent to ignore - only to find that they were indeed

  • alone in the building.

  • It's not just the prison's inmates that faced tragedy - in 1948, the reformatory's

  • farm boss and his wife and daughter were kidnapped by former inmates looking for revenge for

  • their mistreatment within the prison's walls.

  • The boss and his family were shot to death, and one of the perpetrators was caught and

  • executed in the prison.

  • And this was not the only tragic death of a prison administrator and their family to

  • have occurred in the prison's history.

  • One of the most frequently witnessed apparitions is that of the prison's resident ghost,

  • Helen.

  • Helen was the wife of one of the prison's former wardens, Arthur Glattke.

  • As was common at the time, the Warden and his family lived on-site at the prison in

  • an apartment in the prison's administration wing.

  • Helen met a tragic end in that very apartment, when a loaded handgun fell off of a shelf

  • in a closet, hit the floor and went off, fatally wounding her.

  • According to numerous witnesses, Helen's ghost still haunts the apartment to this day,

  • and visitors can often catch a whiff of her perfume when touring the administration wing.

  • Helen's death wasn't the only tragedy to strike in the Warden's apartment - 10

  • years after her death, another warden had a heart attack and died at his desk.

  • With all of this tragedy and misery in one place, it's no wonder that the Ohio State

  • Reformatory is considered one of the most haunted sites in America.

  • Prisons may be notorious for the kinds of stories of violence and despair that make

  • perfect fodder for paranormal activities, but some of the country's most notorious

  • police stations have their own dark history that makes them the perfect setting for a

  • haunting.

  • Maxwell Street Police Station in Chicago Illinois was one of the most violent and brutal police

  • stations in the entire country.

  • The station was built in 1889 in the neighborhood known as Bloody Maxwell, a rough and violent

  • neighborhood that was home to a large population of Italian immigrants.

  • It was also the turf of some of the city's most notorious mobsters, including the Genne

  • Brothers, close associates of the legendary gangster Al Capone.

  • The station was well known for extreme corruption - officers were known to take bribes to either

  • look the other way, or, in some cases, to help the mobsters accomplish their crimes.

  • But it's the station's basement dungeon that is the source of most of the rumours

  • of paranormal activity that continue to this day.

  • The dungeon was a place of brutality and torture, and many criminals who found themselves in

  • the dark, dank holding cells would not leave the station alive.

  • For decades, witnesses have reported hearing the screams and moans of tortured prisoners

  • and the ominous rattling of handcuffs and cell bars emanating from the basement.

  • The station closed in 1997, and is now used to film the TV show Chicago PD.

  • Prisons in general are certainly not pleasant places under the best of circumstances, but

  • with their histories of misery and despair, torture and murder, it's no wonder that

  • many of the country's prisons are some of the most haunted places on earth.

  • If you thought this video was fascinating, be sure and check out our other videos, like

  • this one calledScary Urban Legends That Will Keep You Up At Night”, or maybe you'll

  • like this other video, instead.

Scattered across America are dozens of empty and forlorn buildings, filled with the memories

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Most Haunted Prisons in the World

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    Summer posted on 2021/05/06
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