In July of 2015, we traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and one of our stops was a the Eastern State Penitentiary. We schedule a day tour at the facility and were not prepared for what happened during the tour.
The prison is a rather large facility, so we left sufficient time to get through the building. When we entered the front of the building to get the tickets, they provide you with an audio device that you can listen to as you take a self paced tour through the grounds. We both obtained one and prepared for our adventure. This was the same trip we stopped at Hershey, and we had a conversation with the cashier about Mr. Hershey and how he set up the high school and the program for kids from the inner-city that would provide them with an opportunity to go to college. It turns out that the cashier's brother just graduated from Hershey High School and he had a full scholarship to go to college to further his education. At this point, I'm not sure if we were thrown off by this conversation, or we just mistakenly forgot, but we did not say our protection prayers before entering the building. This hardly ever happens, and here we were about ready to enter one of the most haunted prisons in the United States. The Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130, please check out their website for tour hours and admissions pricing.
Everything was fine in the beginning while we were walking through the facility. Marianne was taking photos and we were both listening to the audio recordings. We had a map showing us information about the different areas and what criminals stayed in each cell. Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere it happened.
Something went wrong with Marianne's audio device. She wasn't able to hear the tour and when she mentioned it to me, something dark came over me. I just snapped at her. I didn't offer to take a look at the device, I didn't offer to go back and get her a new one, I just instantly go furious. I was just ready to leave, I was done. Here we were at one of the locations that was on our bucket list, we went all that way to tour the building and there was something that was just making me so mad that I just wanted to leave.
Marianne did work her magic, like she always does and got me calmed down enough that we did go and see the cell that Al Capone called home for a little while, but for the rest of the tour I was just beside myself and didn't really enjoy it that much. There was something that was just eating at me and made me angry at everything I was looking at throughout the building.
It wasn't until we left the building and went across the street to Jack's Firehouse for lunch until I started to calm down and get rid of whatever came over me. I'm still not sure what this was and what came over me. This hadn't happened before, but one thing is certain, we won't forget to say our protection prayers anymore. If you are an investigator that goes out looking for spirits, please head this warning. You have to be protected.
The Eastern State Penitentiary, also known as ESP, is a former prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was operated from 1829 until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment.
Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. James Bruno (Big Joe) and several male relatives were incarcerated here between 1936 and 1948 for the alleged murders in the Kelayres massacre of 1934, before they were paroled. At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.
If you would like to learn more about the prison and our tour, please check out our following video that we entitled, "The Grumpy Old Man of Eastern State," referring to my experience.
Is the prison haunted? There are several paranormal reports about the building including Al Capone's reports of being haunted by the spirit of one of the victims of the St. Valentine's Day massacre. You can find out more about the paranormal activity in our 'Ghost Stories and Folklore" video below.
Marianne did take several hundred pictures throughout the grounds. We didn't feature that many in this post, but if you would like to see a video slide show of the the photos, you can check out our video below. There is also a button that links to our on-line photo album for this location down below.
Would we go back to tour the prison again or even perform an investigation. Absolutely. Even after what happened when we were there, we would do it again. It was our mistake not to use the protection prayers before entering the building and that won't happen again. Please let us know if you have been to the penitentiary before in the past and share your experiences with us if you will. We would love to hear about them.
Find out more about Shawn and Marianne Donley on our About Page.
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