Eastern State Penitentiary is FINALLY a place that is LEGAL to explore. So legal, that they even set up tour groups to go explore the haunted goodness of this once State prison. I haven’t been there yet, so the purpose of this article is to inform all of you fabulous readers out there about this place, and hopefully set up a tour field trip with you guys to go check it out!
Opened in 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the worlds first penitentiary. Its revolutionary system of incarceration, dubbed the “Pennsylvania System” (or Separate System,) originated and encouraged solitary confinement as a form of rehabilitation. Tho opposed by the Auburn System (also known as the New York System), Eastern States’ system of solitary confinement was model for over 300 prisons worldwide.
In 1970, Eastern State was closed due to overcrowding problems as well as its solitary confinement “punishment” apparently causing severe mental illness among the prisoners who were put there. It is now used as a museum and a historic site, giving tours almost all year round. The tours they give aren’t only for the museum and historic purposes, but there’s also a ghost tour, popular mostly during Halloween time.
The popular Sci-Fi channel show Ghost Hunters have investigated Eastern State and came across some interesting supernatural findings. here.
And of course, those wacky Weird NJ guys discuss the prison in Weird US as well as Weird Pennsylvania. I haven’t spoken personally to anyone about their encounters with the prison, so if you or someone you know has had an encounter, or just an interesting story about visiting, please do let me know!