Friday, October 23, 2009


I love urban exploration and one of my favorite decrepit places to visit is Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. I'm lucky enough to visit often since my sister lives in the city of brotherly love.

Recently, I experienced ESP's Terror Behind the Walls. What a good time! The absolute best "haunted house" I've ever visited. Zombie cell mates, deranged doctors, and insane prison guards chased me through the dark, fog-filled halls while I screamed my head off.

Zombies, and cell mates, and prison guards, OH MY!!

That aside, the best part of ESP is going during the day, equipped with a camera. It is a place that captures the imagination. Luckily Easter State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc., a nonprofit org with the sold purpose of keeping ESP open for tours, has preserved the place and kept it in its majestic and crumbling state

A little history from the website:

Opened in 1829 as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through "confinement in solitude with labor," Eastern State Penitentiary quickly became one of the most expensive and most copied buildings in the young United States. It is estimated that more than 300 prisons worldwide are based on the Penitentiary's wagon-wheel, or "radial" floor plan.

Some of America's most notorious criminals were held in the Penitentiary's vaulted, sky-lit cells, including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone. After 142 years of consecutive use, Eastern State Penitentiary was completely abandoned in 1971, and now stands, a lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers.

Inmate Willie Sutton's mugshot. Sutton managed to escape the prison, only to be recaptured on the street out front.

I went a couple weekends ago and took a bunch of photos, but I haven't downloaded them from my camera yet. In the meantime, have a look at some older pictures I took:

Naturally, with so much turbulent history, ESP is reportedly haunted. Many TV investigative shows including Ghost Hunters, MTV's Fear, Most Haunted, and my personal favorite, Ghost Adventures have visited with their cameras.

Zak and Co. of Ghost Adventures walks through ESP

Zak gets strapped into the "mad chair." This chair (in my photos above) was used as punishment for unruly prisoners.

Jason and Grant of Ghost Hunters in ESP

Ghost Hunters got some very creepy footage while investigating. Check it out:

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