Dark Discourse

The Scary- The Creepy- The Strange #2: Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

eastern state penitentiaary pa prison

This is the former home of Al Capone, and his old cell is still dressed up in his honor. Eastern State opened its doors in 1829, and housed each prisoner in their own cell. Though intended to be more humane, this model actually ended up driving many inmates completely insane. Charles Dickens visited the prison in 1842 and made the following entry in his journal:

“In its intention I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who designed this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent gentleman who carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are doing….I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body; and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye,… and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment in which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay”.

Couple this with the “typical” murders, tortures, and suicides, along with the prisoner’s belief that if you die in prison your spirit becomes trapped there, and you have the makings of a haunting. Gary Johnson, a locksmith at Eastern State, has openly spoken about his terrifying experiences there, including witnessing shadowy figures dart back and forth between cells.



1 thought on “The Scary- The Creepy- The Strange #2: Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”

  1. I love it when Ghost Hunters or GHI go to prisons or asylums… I think there’s some kind of dark mystery remaining, no matter how many documents are found on those type of places, that continues to intrigue us long after they’re out of use. Especially when notorious villains were residents there, like the Birdman of Alcatraz.


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