Hello one and all and happy Friday! This is the second to last post of my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series compliments of Les, who you might recognize as the author and photographer behind the post about Dreamland Park on my page. Once again, you can check out more of Les’s work at Photojournal Of Corker2. Now, sit back and enjoy his tale of a spooky tour through the infamous Eastern State Penitentiary:
The Eastern State Penitentiary, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the older prisons in the state. Built in the early 1900’s, it was made to keep prisoners in solitary confinement to reflect on the law breaking deed that they had committed. Each prisoner was kept in a single cell and locked up for twenty-three hours a day. There was no running water, no air conditioning, no books to read, nothing at all! There are four cell blocks, with each one consisting of two levels of eight feet long by six feet wide cells with no windows to let light in.
The Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) has been known to be haunted for many years. Featured on Ghost Hunters, the film crew stayed there and caught some very strange things. There have been documented reports of voices from nowhere and ghostly figures that have no explanation at all.
I had been informed of this disturbing place, so I thought I’d give it a visit. The penitentiary is huge. I was allowed to walk through the entire prison with my camera in tow. It was also quite hot that day, with temperatures up in the high 90’s. I could only imagine what it must have been like to be locked up there for so many years. The famous gangster, Al Capone, was also an inmate at this prison for a number of years. He had his own fancy cell, not like all of the others. It was much better. It had a desk, furniture, table lamps, and a bed. The story goes that he was haunted in his cell by one of the men that he killed in the St. Valentines Day Massacre, even though he was not there when it happened. On a few occasions, Al Capone, would be screaming “Leave me alone!” in his cell and there was no one there.
The ESP has had a reputation of electronic equipment not working right for one reason or another. Batteries fail or the camera just doesn’t work. With this in mind, I made sure that my camera was in excellent working order before I left for my visit. While walking around in the cell blocks, I had taken a number of images and my Pentax K100D was working just fine. Nothing was wrong and the pictures came out great.
Then, I entered Cell Block C and decided to shoot the picture that you see above. For some reason, I pressed the shutter and nothing happened. Weird. So I tried it again. Nothing. Looked at the camera settings and they were all okay. Tried again. Nothing! What the heck? So, I went down the block to the open door, stepped outside and pressed the shutter again. Worked just fine! I stood there for a few seconds and wondered why it worked out there but not inside. I gathered my bearings and decided to try one more time. I walked back to where I was before, focused on the shot, and pressed the button. It worked! Now, what went wrong? Nothing that I could tell.
With that, I finished my tour and took a few more pictures with no problem. It was getting unbearably hot and I was eager to get into the air conditioning of my car. On the way back home, I was thinking of what could have gone wrong. The only thing that I could come up with was that a spirit from the past interfered with the camera in some way. Did it? I will never know.
The Eastern State Penitentiary has ghost hunts during the evening hours that you can sign up for and pay a small fee. If you want to learn more, just type in “Eastern State Penitentiary” and a complete story of this place will show up.
^^^ Thank you so much to Les for relaying his story of stepping foot into the Eastern State Penitentiary for an eerie tour through the past. Glad you made it out alive to tell the tale! Are there any “haunted” locations in your area? What is something that scares you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah