Hopeless & Haunted: Eastern State Penitentiary [50 PICS]
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was operational from 1829 until 1971, when it was closed and abandoned. Inmates lived in total solitude within the ominous fortress and their only glimpse of sunlight, known as “The Eye of God” came through a slit in the ceiling. Inmates had a toilet, table, bunk and Bible in their cells where they were locked all but one hour a day. When prisoners did leave their cells, guards slid black hoods over their head so inmates could not see any other prisoners as they were guided through the halls. Any form of communication between prisoners was forbidden.
Desperate for human interaction, prisoners tapped on pipes, beds, walls, doors, or whispered through vents to each other, but the penalty if they were caught was extremely brutal. Punishments included the Mad Chair, the ice-cold Water Bath, the Iron Gag, and The Hole. The Hole was a pit in the ground where prisoners stayed for weeks with no light, little air, and if they did receive food, then they had to fight the rats and roaches for it.
In 1994, Eastern State Penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark, opened to the public for tours. Visitors, employees and those researching paranormal activity continue to report hearing unexplained eerie sounds, taps, and creepy whispers throughout the prison. The monstrous penitentiary is preserved in ruin with a few art exhibitions like “Ghost Cats.” Due to its ominous appearance, gloomy atmosphere, and long history of cruelty, Eastern State is used a favorite location for TV or films about hauntings.