No one wants to end up in jail. However, there are numerous haunted prisons around the world that make the prospect of jail even more terrifying. Below, read the stories of some of the world’s most haunted prisons.
10. Haunted Prisons – Fort Delaware
Fort Delaware, a military base used as a prison for Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, is one of the United States’s most haunted prisons. The old fort may look innocent from the outside but features a mysterious dungeon where countless prisoners were held throughout the war.
Over the years, there have been numerous experiences with the paranormal at the fort. Many visitors and staff members have encountered what they describe as “restless” spirits haunting the dungeons. Many believe that the former prisoners of the fort received harsh treatment, even torture, before their deaths, causing them to linger as spirits.
Visitors have spotted the ghostly figures of Confederate soldiers and even pirates in the dungeon. However, the most terrifying experiences involve sounds rather than sights. Many of the visitors and staff have reported disturbing moans, violent screams, and pitiful pleas for help that appear to have no earthly origin.
9. The Ruthin Gaol
Ruthin Gaol, a former prison in Northern Whales, has a violent history. Many prisoners were sent there to await more harsh punishments. The prison was also the site of countless executions, the most recent occurring as late as 1903.
One of the 20th century’s executions at Ruthin Gaol was that of William Hughes. He and his wife had a hard time after losing a child. Hughes left his family and was charged with deserting his family. After being released from prison, he shot and killed his wife. He turned himself in to the police, pleading insanity. The plea was dismissed and he was executed at the gaol. To this day, women visiting the jail can still feel his presence.
Another of the prison’s ghosts goes by the name of William Kerr, a former guard who was hated by the inmates. Kerr was cruel, often withholding food and beating the inmates for no reason. One day, Kerr mysteriously disappeared. Many believe that the spirits of the inmates he killed drove him to insanity and that his tormented spirit still haunts the gaol.
8. Haunted Prisons – Alcatraz
Alcatraz, off the coast of California, is not only one of the world’s most famous prisons; it is also one of the world’s most haunted prisons. Alcatraz became famous for reportedly being impossible to escape from. It was said that the only way to escape was death, so it seems that some poor souls have remained imprisoned there even after death.
It is not unusual for visitors to the island to hear disturbing sounds as they tour the prison. Common stories include rattling chains, gunshots, and inmates crying, screaming, and begging for release.
However, the most disturbing aspect of Alcatraz’s history comes in the form of a poltergeist named “The Thing.” Reports of The Thing state that it has red eyes that seem to glow with madness. When Alcatraz was still in operation, The Thing would appear inside prisoners’ dark cells and drive them to insanity. One man haunted by The Thing would cry out that a creature with red eyes was torturing him in the night. The guards ignored him, and in the morning he was found dead with hand-marks around his throat. It would have been impossible for him to have made the marks himself.
7. The Missouri State Penitentiary
The Missouri State Penitentiary was home to thousands of prisoners since its opening in 1822. Many prisoners died behind the walls, often being executed by hanging or in the prison’s gas chamber. However, the most well-known casualties occurred during the famed prison riot in 1954.
In the time it took to contain the riot, 4 inmates and 4 guards were killed. One inmate, who had been in solitary confinement, was tortured to death by other inmates. Fifty other inmates and guards were injured. Because of this violence, the Penitentiary became known as “the bloodiest 47 acres in America.”
Today, there are countless ghosts wandering the halls of the abandoned building. The highest concentration is in an area called “The Hole,” where the most dangerous offenders were confined. Here, visitors report feeling ghostly hands and breath on their skin. Many visitors throughout the prison also report feeling an overwhelming sense of dread and despair while on the grounds.
6. Haunted Prisons – Fremantle Prison
Fremantle Prison has the distinction of being known as one of Australia’s most haunted prisons. It was the home of dangerous local convicts and British prisoners sent to the then isolated country. A total of 43 men and women were hanged in the prison throughout its years of operation. The loneliness and sorrow of these hopeless criminals have caused a number of them to linger on the prison grounds.
One odd paranormal event that occurs regularly is the mysterious appearance of owls on the anniversaries of each of the 43 hangings to take place in the prison. Staff members who work at the prison, which is now a popular tourist site, also report strange smells and beams of light that have no earthly explanation.
However, when of the eeriest ways the spirits make their presence felt is through photographs. Often, tourists who take pictures in front of the gallows will later discover that in the photos, their heads are inexplicably missing.
5. Leap Castle
Leap Castle, although not an official prison, was often the home of incarcerated persons. The castle, famous for bloodshed, boasts an impressive dungeon that confined countless prisoners since it was built in the 15th century.
The castle’s most famous ghost is known as The Red Lady; she is a tall woman in a flowing red garment who wanders the grounds clutching a knife to her chest. It is said that she is the spirit of a woman who spent many years imprisoned in the castle. She conceived a child at the hands of her guards while imprisoned: a child that was taken from her. In her grief, she used a knife to take her own life: the same knife that her spirit still clutches.
4. Haunted Prisons – The Eastern State Penitentiary
This prison is famous for being one of the first dedicated penitentiaries in the United States and was often used as a model for other prisons to follow. It is also famous for being one of the most haunted prisons in the world.
Prisoners at the Eastern State Penitentiary were held in overcrowded cells and were forced into brutal labor in an attempt to reform them. Many prisoners were isolated, as the founders believed that solitude would cure them of their evil ways.
Today, the prison’s catwalk is one of the many places on the grounds that is a hotbed for ghostly activity. Visitors experience temperature fluctuations and report hearing voices saying “I’m lonely.” The former Cellblock 12 also boasts frequent sightings. Visitors often spot shadowy figures moving around and report feeling as if unseen eyes are watching their every move.
3. The Ohio State Penitentiary
The Ohio State Penitentiary had a reputation for cruelty and violence. Reportedly, many of the prisoners confined there were punished by being tied naked to posts, being whipped brutally, and having hot coals applied to their wounds.
However, the prison is most notorious for the fire that broke out in 1930. Over 300 prisoners lost their lives in the blaze, many still locked in their cells. With all of these souls perishing on the grounds, it is no wonder that the place is haunted.
Even after the prison was closed, visitors reported a strong ghostly presence in the ruins. Typically, people who witnessed these events reported hearing roaring fire and the anguished cries of prisoners who burned to death in their cells.
The jail was eventually demolished and replaced with a stadium. Yet, visitors still report hearing violent screams in the arena’s parking lot at night.
2. Haunted Prisons – The Coiba Island Prison
Off the coast of Panama, the Coiba Island Prison was a dark and violent place. The entire site is eerie, as it presses up against the dark, thick jungle. Often used to confine political prisoners, inmates were regularly tortured and dismembered before being fed to the sharks in the water surrounding the island.
This prison has always been known for its ghosts. In fact, one prisoner built a raft and escaped from the island because he was so terrified of the spirits haunting the place. Even today, visitors to the island often see ghostly apparitions and hear the blood-curdling screams of inmates being tortured.
One well-known spirit is that of a former guard. He often slid his nightstick across the cell bars to intimidate prisoners. This sound is often still heard echoing through the halls.
Because of its history of violence and spirits, most people stay away from the island. Today, the structures are eerily quiet as the jungle slowly retakes the infamous prison.
1. The Maxwell Street Police Station
In a particularly violent area of Chicago known as “Bloody Maxwell” stands the Maxwell Street Police Station. For the prisoners who were sentenced to the station’s dungeon, this place was nothing short of a nightmare.
The cells in the prison were packed with inmates; the cells had no plumbing, so the sick and injured inmates urinated, bled, and vomited into overflowing troughs in the floor. Prisoners in this facility were regularly beaten with phone books, the blows to their kidneys painful and often fatal. Others “fell” to their deaths on the station’s marble staircase.
To this day, people walking on the street outside of the prison report hearing violent screams coming from the windows. The prison’s most famous ghost is the “Lady in Black.” She wears black 19th-century clothing and often appears near the prison as a savior. For example, an injured motorcyclist was once aided in the area by a mysterious woman in black who later vanished. She has also appeared to police officers and inmates with prophecies about their futures.
The dungeon of the Maxwell Street Police station has been out of use for decades, but the memories of its horrors linger on.