On October 25th, 1829, eastern state penitentiary, opened its door as a part of reformatory Pennsylvania system.

Envision to concoct a civilized human prison, where labour, complete solitude, and regulation together would make prisoners penitent, therefore, the term ‘penitentiary.’

The prisoners were allowed outside for an hour every day.

And when they used to leave their cells, hoods were put over their heads in order to prevent any communication and knowledge of the design of the eastern state penitentiary.

eastern state penitentiary

Their cells became their home, they worked there, and they ate there and weren’t allowed to have any contact with the outside world.

Not even in the form of letters, visits from family, or newspaper.

Eastern State Penitentiary Facts

When the prison finished its construction in 1829, it was the enormous building in the US.

Eastern state penitentiary is recognized to be one of the most haunted places in the whole wide world.

eastern state penitentiary

The prison was constructed to confine 253 prisoners, each one of them has an isolated confinement cell.

The cruelest punishment, isolated punishment meant to assist criminals to obtain atonement, repentance, and redemption. It led several prisoners to go crazy.

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Prior to the opening of the Eastern state penitentiary, prisoners were nothing more than some unwanted pens; men, women, and children were kept beside malevolent criminals and vicious killers.

The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons ran by founding father Benjamin Franklin, worked to transmute these unexploited prisons into amenities that promoted development.


Their notions became real in the year 1822 when the construction of penitentiary started. It was an exclusive mission to bring the revolutionary design into a reality.

It showcased domed ceilings and skylights to allow in God’s light, and every cell was furnished with a toilet, heat, running water, and a Bible.

After the eastern state penitentiary finished with its construction, more than 300 penitentiaries throughout the world constructed pens consisting of the same design, practices, and system.

Segregation was emphasized on convicts even when they left their prison cells for work.

Each prisoner sported heavy masks that forbade them from communicating with each other.


The seclusion and solitude were afflicting and became harder for the inmates to handle. Several of them even committed suicide at the eastern state penitentiary.

Eastern State Penitentiary Ghost

Eastern state penitentiary most popular prisoner was indeed Chicago gangster, Al Capone. His cell was the best at the eastern state penitentiary.

He served eight months jail time for transporting a deadly, concealed and lethal weapon.

eastern state penitentiary pictures

His cell’s furniture included a desk, lamp, a cabinet radio, and paintings. However, throughout his confinement, he reported being haunted by a ghost of James Clark.

He was amongst the fatalities of the St. Valentine’s Day destruction in Chicago. The genocide was the outcome of gang enmity, and AL Capone was the leader of one of the gangs.

The pens most famous figure was Warden Hervert hardboiled Smith who had power over the prison with an iron fist thru the 1920s and 1930s.

All through his reign, the United States only punished prisoners to eastern state penitentiary who required Smith’s extreme reform methods.

By that time, the state had called off strict solitary imprisonment, and 2-3 inmates shared the prisons. 

However, with the loss of one practice of punishment came a horde of others that comprised: the water bath, when prisoners were dipped in a tub of cold water and hung from a wall for the whole night- this was popular especially during the winter seasons.


The second was the mad chair- the prisoners were fastened tightly to a chair, constraining any movement for days, and times of persuaded starvation.

Eastern State Penitentiary Haunted House

Since many reported encountering paranormal activity in the eastern state, it is considered one of the most haunted areas in the world.

eastern state penitentiary timining

Several have reported hearing a crying voice that is in vain inside the pens. Many have reportedly seen orbs and flashes appearing, then abruptly vanishing.

Some said they had heard the unusual sounds of someone walking past the prison’s hall.

Visitors have, a lot of time, heard someone calling their names and then disappearing. 

Whilst others distinctly remember sensing someone patting on the shoulder, however, when they’d turn around they see no one behind them. Numerous people have allegedly heard loud, appalling laughter.

Several people have listened to the sound of opening and then shutting the door abruptly, in the most vehement manner, in one of the cell blocks on the third floor.


They have even heard the cell door handles rattling. The staff members working there have reportedly quit the job with no prior notice. They stated that they fear from some unknown evil force.

Ghost Hunters Eastern State Penitentiary

Countless people have reported the hearing sound of furniture being pulled across the floors and stones or other massive objects tossing on the rooftop.

People have also listened to babies screaming inside cell block 7.

In addition to that, some have complained about getting sick while visiting the prison.

eastern state penitentiary

Several visitors asserted to have encountered something like a bright blob that appears and then disappears quickly.

Former locksmith of East state ‘Gary Johnson‘ who gave the named the pens- giant haunted house.

He stated that once he was allocated to get rid of a lock in Cell Block 4 and he felt as if he was being watched, intensely.

He walked down to confirm the situation, however, felt the same sensation once again.

As he looked down the block, he saw a black figure jumped across the block. Gary said that he saw the faces of the tormented souls all of a sudden appear on prison walls.


Eastern State Penitentiary Tickets

  • Adults- $14
  • Senior adults (+62) – $12
  • Students (ID needed) -$10
  • Children- $10

Eastern State Penitentiary Halloween

If Halloween is your favourite, then you would love visiting the eastern state’s ‘terror behind the walls.

It is a six weeks occasion (from September- November) that works like a charity and raises enough for the former prison maintenance.

Ghost Hunters Eastern State Penitentiary Episode

The paranormal investigators from the ghost hunter series investigated the penitentiary.


Throughout the investigation, they discovered some videos that were inexplicable. It made them stay for two days straight to acquire some more proof.

Top 5 Hotels Near Eastern State Penitentiary

  • Warwick hotel Rittenhouse square
  • Club Quarters hotel Philadelphia
  • Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse square
  • Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
  • The Windsor Suites

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