Many prisons built in the 1800s and early 1900s were massive foreboding structures which offered only the most basic needs to the inmates they housed. The antiquated concept of reform was designed to break the spirits and force conformity. The methods used were viewed even then as barbaric by some.
Many who study paranormal activity believe these prisons, each with its own history of immense pain and suffering, attract spirits who are caught between worlds. They believe some of these spirits were too evil to move on, others have old scores to settle and some wander the prison's cell blocks looking for the way out.
Years after "The Rock" was closed as a prison, stories persist that Alcatraz is haunted. Ghost hunters have said they feel parts of the island and areas of the prison evoke a certain "strangeness," but it was mostly employees, working in areas of the prison alone, who have reported most of the unexplained events that haunt the dark corridors of Alcatraz.
Charles Dickens visited the prison in the 1840s and found the conditions appalling. He described the inmates at Eastern Penn as being "buried alive..." and wrote about the psychological torture the inmates suffered at the hands of their captors. Today, many claim to have met some of those tortured souls, while walking through the deserted halls of Eastern State Penitentiary.
Since its closure, rumors of the spirits of tortured inmates who died in the prison fill the halls with restless energy, unable to escape the prison's bars. Guilty guards and tales or brutal prison officials also contribute to the stories of the haunted facility, as they remained trapped in the gruesome nightmare they created for the prisoners locked inside.
In the late 1800s, Moundsville took over all executions for the state. But the executions were only a small part of the violent past at Moundsville. Suicide, murder and violent punishments contributed to the death of hundreds of inmates. Today, some visitors and employees claim to see to see evidence that many spirits still inhabit the old penitentiary.
Haunted Prison Photo Galleries
Alcatraz Federal Prison Photo Gallery
Eastern State Penitentiary Photo Gallery
West Virginia Penitentiary Photo Gallery