The Ghosts Of Eastern State Penitentiary & The Scariest Places In The World

I’ve been saving this post for Halloween, and for good reason. Halloween, or better still, Samhain, is the time when the dead truly walk among us. Who doesn’t love a ghost story? Arguably, the best part of John Carpenter’s classic, The Fog, is the very beginning when John Houseman tells ‘one more story‘ on the beach just before midnight.

Even better are the true tales of hauntings and wayward spirits.

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is on just about every paranormal enthusiast’s bucket list, including my own. Ghosts aside, the enormous, crumbling prison is a living piece of history, some of those aspects carrying on through time. It’s been featured on many of the ParaTV shows, and my own daughter, the future Monster Woman, Ivy Shea, has been there twice – on school trips of all things!

The first time she went several years ago, she said it was just an old, empty building and she didn’t think it was scary at all. Pretty brave for an 11 year old. This year, they went back to Philly and once again walked the haunted halls. Ivy said the vibe this time around was very, very different. The atmosphere was heavy and it felt like they were being watched everywhere they went. She snapped pictures constantly. Two of them are interesting.

This first one shows Al Capone’s cell. If you look at the left arm of the chair, you can make out a face. Is it just the pattern of the paint on the wall? A case of Pareidoliathe mind’s way of putting a face to seemingly random shapes? Or is it the lingering image of an inmate long, long gone, at least from this world? I don’t pretend to know. It is fascinating to me how many views one can take on a simple, single image.

Take a look a the armchair at the rear of the cell and decide for yourself.

Take a look a the armchair at the rear of the cell and decide for yourself.

The second picture was taken down one of the empty wings of the prison. The area was roped off. Ivy was at the front of the line and snapped a couple of pictures. She saw nothing at the time but a long, lighted, empty hall. When we looked at the pictures later, we discovered a large, black mass a the bottom of the picture. It appears to be in the distance, as the light on the far wall shines past it. Again, I don’t know what this is other than highly interesting. No one was in that wing. No one was in front of her. Yet there is a black mass. Strange.

ESP Shadow

I wish I could spin a spine tingling tale about poor Ivy coming face-to-face with the wraith of an executed prisoner, but I can’t. The rich, haunted history of the penitentiary and these and other photos from hundreds of visitors will have to suffice.

Speaking of haunted places, Priority One Jets just posted a list of 7 Terrifying Haunted Attractions. Naturally, Eastern State Penitentiary is on the list. If you’re looking to really get your scare on this Halloween, you need to pick your favorite from the list and just go. The catacombs in Paris is tops on my list. Honestly, if  and when I do go to France, that and a few of Hemingway’s favorite writing/drinking spots may be the only places I check out. Who needs to see that tower thingy and those museums?

My question is, what famous haunted spots have you been to? Were you one of the lucky few to see and/or hear something that can’t be explained? Come sit by the fire. There’s time for one more story….

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. You’ll also find him every week on the Final Guys podcast, available everywhere. He’s a bestselling author of over 25 books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

7 responses to “The Ghosts Of Eastern State Penitentiary & The Scariest Places In The World”

  1. Joseph Pinto says :

    Those pictures are amazing…you can ponder what’s contained within endlessly. Zounds, man, we need to do a ghost hunt!

  2. Anthony Ventarola says :

    That is sharp! Next time I go to Philly that is on mylist!

  3. Hunter Shea says :

    Reblogged this on Monster Men and commented:

    The Monster Men haven’t been to the Eastern State Penitentiary, but Monster Woman in training, Ivy Shea, has, and she may have caught something strange on her camera.

  4. louckslindsey says :

    I’ve never been to anywhere haunted, at least I don’t think, but I would offer up a few toes to go to those 7 haunted attractions! Sadly, the only person who is into the paranormal as much as me and would go with me is my mom, and she lives thousands of miles away. 😦 Maybe I could bribe her with chocolate or something…

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