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Behind Every Cloud is a Kindred Spirit (BECKS)I lost my grandfather when I was 17. I had a VERY difficult time getting over it. How could I still communicate with him? I loved him so much I didn't think I could live without him. I read everything I could get my hands on to do with the "afterlife" and that started it all...the love of Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal. I have been researching the paranormal for over 37 years!! It is my way of staying in touch with my grandfather. Being a Ghost Hunter is not always as exciting as it seems on TV. Many nights I have sat in the dark and not a thing happened. BUT it is those times you DO get that one voice, that one explainable picture or have an experience that sends chills down your back that makes it sooo worth it all!!! My purpose of this blog is not to make people believe in ghosts but maybe to open their minds just a little bit... I LOVE this crazy thing called Ghost Hunting. It is as much a part of me as breathing. I am just a girl that refuses to accept we can't still contact our loved ones after they die. My grandfather won't let me.



OMG!!! I have missed you guys!!!  We have been on vacation for about 10 days and have not had internet connection.  Can you believe I survived???  So, if you emailed me or IM'ed me I am just now responding to all your emails and notices.

I hope you all had a GREAT Labor Day.  I wanted to talk about haunted prisons.  Who doesn't love a  good ol' haunted prison right???  Anyway, check out these for the CREEP FACTOR!!!!

Alcatraz — San Francisco, California
Arguably the most infamous state penitentiary in US history (its inmates included notorious mobsters Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly), this historic structure was once the site of many real-life horrors — over decades in operation, its name eventually became synonymous with violence and cruel, brutal prison conditions… but both before and after its shutdown in 1963, it has also developed an ominous paranormal reputation. Indigenous peoples of the area once believed it to be occupied by dangerous sprits; early explorers reported feeling uneasy upon reaching the island; and it’s now reputed to house the vengeful ghosts of abused and wrongly-convicted inmates, of those murdered at the hands of their fellow convicts and/or sadistic guards, and even soldiers who died during the Civil War, when Alcatraz was the site of a massive military fortress (the foundation of which is still beneath the prison itself).
The paranormal accounts are too many to list here, but some of the earliest rumors began among inmates and guards, who claimed to hear strange cries, screams and whispers from empty cells, experienced cold spots, observed ghostly lights and saw faint human forms walking the corridors. One infamous story involved an inmate who was terrified by red eyes in the darkness, and was found dead in his cell the next morning, apparently strangled. Since the prison’s closing and conversion to a historic monument, tourists have reported many of the same frightening phenomena once encountered by the inmates and guards, as well as some disturbing new ones — including the sound of harmonica and banjo music (Capone was known to have played the banjo while imprisoned there). The most intense and frightening of the unexplained occurences seem to take place around “The Hole,” a notorious solitary confinement cell.
The National Park Service has disavowed all claims of paranormal phenomena in and around Alcatraz, so there are no officially sanctioned ghost tours of the grounds… but paranormal tourism is a major draw, so they do allow groups to conduct their own ghost tours and investigations, many of which have been featured on episodes of Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted, and the Travel Channel documentary HAUNTED ALCATRAZ, to name just a few.

Eastern State Pen
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Eastern State Penitentiary — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Just one look at this immense gothic structure (which includes gargoyles guarding the entry gate) will put you in a haunted frame of mind. Considered by many to be the world’s most haunted prison, Eastern State has been the subject and location of numerous ghost hunts and investigations, as documented in several books (Philadelphia Haunts, Ghostly Tales from America’s Jailsand many more) and TV shows (Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters, American Paranormal, etc.). In the 142 years before the prison’s closure in 1971, over 1,200 inmates died within its walls; most succumbed to the diseases of the time (particularly tuberculosis), but several died at the hands of other inmates. Horrific punishments handed out to prisoners included frostbite and constriction of limbs (which often led to amputation), and just like Alcatraz, the most feared penalty was “The Hole.”
Accounts of strange and unexplained phenomena began long before the prison closed, and hundreds of paranormal claims continue today: guards, inmates and tourists over the past century have reported seeing terrifying disembodied faces, and hearing mad laughter and screams. One of the most repeated and unsettling accounts originated around 20 years ago, from a maintenance employee who claimed an unseen force in one of the ancient cells grabbed him so tightly that he was unable to move.
Like Alcatraz, there is no official stance on any hauntings of Eastern State, but their tourist materials (which include an audio walk-through narrated by actor Steve Buscemi) do mention many stories of mysterious phenomenon reported by guards and inmates, as those rumors and legends are considered an integral part of the prison’s dark and ominous history. The prison also hosts an annual Halloween haunt entitled “Terror Behind the Walls,” which obviously makes good use of these terrifying legends to spook patrons.

Missouri State Pen
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Missouri State Penitentiary — Jefferson City, Missouri
First established in 1836, Missouri State was once the largest prison in the US, and the brutality and deaths that took place within its walls earned it the title of “Bloodiest 47 Acres in America” according to TIME magazine. 40 gas-chamber executions, inmate violence, suicides, and a massive, bloody riot/fire in 1954 definitely carved this prison’s name in infamy, and it’s no surprise that claims of horrific paranormal activity have come in the wake of the prison’s closing in 2004.
Many of these claims involve “A Hall,” the oldest still-standing structure on the grounds, which once housed Civil War prisoners; Housing Unit 1, which once held female inmates; and Housing Unit 3, the site where the 1954 riots began. Among the most repeated tales is the story of “Fast Jack,” the nickname given to an alleged resident spirit with a tendency to pop through walls and open locker doors in the blink of an eye. Jack has been sighted many times by prison staffers working in Housing Unit 1, who describe him as wearing a lab coat and carrying a clipboard; some say he is the ghost of a former infirmary employee. Other accounts include visitors suddenly feeling anger and anxiety in Housing Unit 3, and a few tourists reported physical contact with an unseen entity, including shoving and hair-pulling.
The penitentiary has now totally embraced its haunted legacy: not only do they conduct both historic and ghost-themed tours, but since 2011 they’ve offered ghost-hunting seminars and classes for aspiring paranormal investigators.

Ohio State Pen
Image Credit: Browsing the Atlas

Ohio State Reformatory — Mansfield, Ohio
While it’s most famous for being featured in the award-winning film THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, based on Stephen King’s acclaimed non-horror novella, Ohio State Reformatory also has a spooky reputation befitting some of King’s more horrific tales.
The Reformatory is allegedly swarming with malicious presences, with the highest concentrations of haunting phenomena centering on the solitary confinement cells (every historic prison has some terrifying version of “The Hole”), where several suicides occurred. The main cell blocks, the former site of multiple murders, are also reportedly haunted by very noisy ghosts, and the chapel — believed to have originally been a place of execution — has been the site of some particularly intense visual and auditory anomalies. Even the attic and administrative offices are said to house some particularly nasty entities: in particular, the wife of former warden Glattke, whose gunshot death was reported as an accident but believed by some to be foul play, is said to haunt the administrative suites, and visitors have smelled her perfume wafting through the empty rooms. Throughout the grounds, stories and legends include detailed accounts of sudden temperature drops, intense feelings of nausea, and luminous floating shapes.
The Reformatory doesn’t officially conduct ghost tours, but their historic guided tours provide all the chills you need. Nevertheless, Halloween scare-seekers can also attend their annual “Haunted Prison Experience,” which adopts a different theme each year.

West Virginia State Pen
Image Credit: Samantha Sunne

West Virginia State Penitentiary — Moundsville, West Virginia
Built during the peak of the Civil War, this prison began with a fairly respectable reputation, but over the years conditions declined to such an extent that it would eventually make the U.S. Justice Department’s list of most violent correctional facilities. Corruption, overcrowding and rampant violence grew out of control, three dozen murders took place within its walls, and allegedly hundreds more deaths occurred over the prison’s 120-year tenure. 94 executions were conducted within the prison, and in 1986 it became the site of one of the most violent prison riots in U.S. history, when a group of 20 inmates took several guards hostage over a period of two days. Charles Manson once requested to be transferred to Moundsville, because members of his notorious “family” lived nearby (the request was denied).
As with any location with a blood-soaked past, tales of hauntings and unexplained phenomena run rampant at Moundsville, some dating back as early as the 1930s, when guards reported alarms being tripped for no apparent reason. The most infamous and consistently reported paranormal phenomenon is that of the “Shadow Man,” a featureless shape which visitors have seen lurking in various cells and corridors, camouflaged in areas of unnaturally deep darkness. Those who claim to have sighted the Shadow Man report feeling a sense of extreme, intense terror.
The penitentiary hosts their own popular Halloween haunt tour, “Dungeon of Horrors,” which draws over 10,000 visitors a year. The site is also the setting for the popular Left 4 Dead video game campaign “Moundsville Slammer.”

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