Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

I hate to admit that today’s location is still on my “Before I Die…” macabre bucket list.  Eastern State Penitentiary is only 45 minutes from my doorstep and I still have yet to step foot within the walls.  Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Eastern State has a 142-year history that is absolutely full of murder, torture, disease, insanity, and suicide.  The most sorrowful portion of the prison was the area used for solitary confinement.  Known as  “the Hole”, Eastern State’s version of solitary confinement was to be used as a means of rehabilitation.  Inmates transported to or from “the Hole” were garbed in a black hood, restricting visual contact.  “The Hole” was comprised of underground cells that were without with light, human contact, and toilets.  However, inmates were granted a minimal amount of food and air.  It is no wonder why so many inmates who were locked away in “the Hole” were driven to madness.

Sadly, prisoners outside of “the Hole” did not fare much better.  Torture and inmate abuse was rampant within Eastern State.  There are records of inmates being dunked in water baths and then put outside in frigid cold temperatures until ice formed on their skin.  Some were tied into a chair so tight that circulation was cut off to extremities, which later lead to amputations.  And then there were those inmates who had their arms and legs strapped from behind and an iron gag placed in their mouth.  Any movement caused the iron gag to cut and tear an inmates tongue.

It is no wonder that Eastern State Penitentiary is ranked as one of the most haunted places on the planet.  Violence and torture was in excess causing the prison itself to be filled such pain, agony, and sorrow.

If you should ever find yourself wandering around the cellblocks of Eastern State Penitentiary, be sure to check out these “haunted”  locations:

Cellblock 12 – known for echoing disembodied voices

Cellblock 6 – known for a shadowy figure that darts across the alls

Cellblock 4 – known for disembodied, ghostly faces

However, if you cannot access these locations on a tour, don’t worry, the rest of the penitentiary will not disappoint.  All across the entire prison and grounds there have been sightings of guards in unmanned towers, echoing footsteps, wails, whispers, and ghostly touching.

10 thoughts on “Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  1. A reminder that sometimes the worst horrors can exceed what the supernatural dishes out. It also makes me think of the possibilities for horror writing to tell us about the terrible things we humans visit on one another. (As in “Beloved”). Be sure not to do your tour there alone. 🙂


  2. You have set me up very nicely to eagerly await the post after you visit. Either that or the series of posts. These places should be preserved, visited and talked about. That people have the capacity to do these things is something we should remember.


    • On your next trip through PA, take a detour from the horrors of I-80 and go visit Eastern State Pen. Though the horrors of I-80 may be far worse than the prison 😉

      I agree that these places should be preserved. They give first hand proof of the dark side to human nature.


  3. This is chilling. There is the kind of horror committed by a monster, a beastly non-human thing. Then there is the kind committed by people. Of these two, the latter scares me the most. Because of its very possibility. It is real. And it can happen to anybody.
    The fact that the perpetrators live amongst us, were born amongst us, and grew up amongst us–it is the worst aspect of it. This Eastern State Pen is utterly creepy.

    You remember the scene in The Green Mile where John Coffey looks at the execution chair ‘Old Sparky’ and says of those who had died on it:
    “There are pieces of them still in there. I hear them screaming.”


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