Eastern State Penitentiary is known as one of the most haunted places in the world and has earned its reputation due to the supernatural sightings and incidents that have occurred there. The Eastern State Penitentiary opened its gates in 1829. It was a prison which was designed by architects to keep around 252 prisoners each with their own solitary confinement cell. Solitary confinement is one of the harshest punishments given to a man intending to fill them with remorse and guilt, the result causing many prisoners to go insane.
In the early times the prisoners were unwanted women and men from society with murderers and killers alongside them. However, with the help of Benjamin Franklin, prisons were made to be reform centres rather than houses for the unwanted. Eastern State Penitentiary had running toilets, sky lights to let in sunlight, heat and a bible.
However, the loneliness was too much for the prisoners to bear. Even when they worked around the penitentiary, prisoners were forced to wear big and heavy masks around their face which led to no talking or communication. It was too much to bear for some prisoners which is why they often took their own lives.
One of the most famous prisoners was the notorious criminal and gangster Al Capone. He was put into prison for hiding a deadly weapon and carrying it. This led to his arrest. In the prison, he had a nice cell with a desk and furniture and even a radio. Even then he believed he was haunted by the ghost of James Clarke, who was a victim in the St. Valentines massacre which Al Capone was part of. This showed how solitary confinement started to play with the minds of even the most hardened of criminals.
In the 1920s and 1930s, a prison warden named Herbert Smith was in charge, nicknamed “Hardboiled” because of his harsh and strict treatment of the prisoners. At this time, the prisoners were not in solitary confinement, instead each cell was shared between 2-3 prisoners. Hardboiled’s way of punishment was tough. He would dunk prisoners into cold water and then hang them onto walls for the night. This was harsher during the winters and he even sometimes constricted inmates to chair, not letting them move for days. It even included starvation.
There were two murders of guards at the prison and people say that their spirit now haunts the prison. Today the prison is open to tourists all through the year. It is a prison that is known for its haunted stories, however, if it really is haunted or was it in the prisoners’ mind is still unknown.