Friday, September 23, 2011

Eastern State Penitentiary

Keeping in theme with famous haunts of the US, up next we've got Eastern State Penitentiary, probably one of the most well-known haunted locations in the paranormal community.

Eastern State was opened in 1829, based on designs made by none other than the Quakers. Seems like an odd group to design and structure a prison, but Eastern State was meant to act as a building of reform, where those who committed crimes (everything from stealing to murder) would not necessarily be punished, but taught to repent from their mistakes and find solace in God. Unfortunately, they decided to do this by using solitary confinement. All Eastern State really managed to do was make men go crazy. This, in fact, might be the main reason the location is said to be so haunted. gives a little more insight as to the horrific punishments the inmates suffered:

"One of the inhumane punishments was the water bath, where prisoners were dunked in a bath of cold water and hung from the wall overnight (Layers of ice would form on the body during winter months). The mad chair was another punishment where prisoners were strapped to a chair so tight that there could be no movement for days without food. The iron gag was another punishment particularly used for disobeying the no communication rule. An iron collar was attached to the tongue and then chained to his wrist which would be tied high behind his back. Any movement brought extreme pain and tearing of the tongue resulting in some prisoners bleeding to death."
The prison provided the basic structure of more than a hundred other prisons in the United States, some of which are still in use today. Eastern State was shut down in the 1970's and left to its own devices until 1991. It was made a historic landmark, and stands as such today. It has been investigated countless times, and everyone seems to have a story, a photo, recording, or video of what lies inside the dark, damp spaces of Eastern State.

So, what goes on here?

If any of the ghost hunting shows on television nowadays are to believed... everything happens here. The Ghost Hunters Jay, Grant and the team have an apparition on video:

EVPS of every kind have been captured here, including some by the Ghost Adventures team:

 Even the famous Al Capone said he was haunted in his cell by the victims of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre back in 1929. Every night he'd tell "Jimmy" to let him alone.

Visitors to the Penitentiary have claims of cold spots, sounds of laughter, physical touch, angry voices telling them to leave and have even been overcome with feelings of anger, sadness and nausea. I have not heard a story come out of Eastern State where nothing paranormal happened. Could it be all of the inmates from years and years of unfair treatment? Probably. This place deserves exploring for yourself. Below are some links to help you further in your search for what makes Eastern State Penitentiary such an enticing and exciting place. (For those that like testimonies) (for history, and their great Terror Behind the Walls)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

It took me a while to decide which haunted location to use for this week's blog. I haven't been to very many (unfortunately), and there are so many great places out there with tons of history behind them. So, I decided that, for this week, a very well-known spot would be the target of my internet investigation. Yeah, yeah. You've seen it dozens of times on just as many television shows, but that doesn't make this location any less interesting.

July 1-3, 1863 were the three bloodiest days in American history. The battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania marked a turning point in the Civil War. General Meade's army spent three days in the blistering heat and humidity of PA to defeat Lee's troops and stop his attack on the North. Over 46,000 casualties were had at Gettysburg, leading to a significant number of ghost sightings and claims of the paranormal. It is said that ghosts may occur when people who have been killed in some unnatural way either don't realise they're dead, or have some unfinished business in the living world. I think both of these concepts apply to the soldiers of Gettysburg.

But you wanted to know what goes on there, right? Enough with the history, get to the hauntings!

What goes on here?

Well, it seems to depend on which area of Gettysburg you happen to visit. Said to be the most haunted is the Devil's Den, a location creepy enough with its stacked rocks and shadows. Hundreds of Union soldiers were killed here by a sharpshooter positioned within the rocks. More paranormal claims come from here than any other spot. 

Be wary when going to Triangular field. Bring extra batteries. There are dozens of claims of electrical equipment going dead when in this section of the battlefield, as well as images captured on film that definitely weren't there in person...

It's reported that there were so many killed soldiers left waiting for burial on Cemetery Hill that the ladies left in the little town of Gettysburg carried handkerchiefs over their mouths and noses that were stuffed with peppermint and vanilla. Guests here say that there are phantom smells left over from this gruesome scene, some good, and some very, very bad.

There have been tons of pictures, videos, EVPS (electronic voice phenomena) and personal experiences out of Gettysburg. Everything from "orbs" caught in unsuspecting visitor's photographs, to solid apparitions wheedling their ways into photos, videos and the eye lines of guests walking the hallowed grounds. 

Most of the photos and videos claim to involve the soldiers, the vast majority of the people that fell dead on the battlefield, although there have been a few cases in which people have said they saw or captured on some medium civilians. One website claims to have a picture of a girl in period clothing sitting on a log (although I can't necessarily see it). I suppose the best way to show you what goes on in Gettysburg is to give examples.
This is the website with the girl on a log photograph. They seem to have captured a lot of different ghosts on their adventures in Gettysburg, including a curious image of a soldier in full winter gear.
This is one of the most convincing videos from Gettysburg. Taken by Tom Underwood, it seems to show a residual haunting. Several soldiers (possibly Confederate) march up a hill no longer there.
I hate to just stick a bunch of Youtube links up here and call it good, but if you're really interested in hearing some EVPS from Gettysburg, this is the first place I will direct you to. Yes, there are mounds of fake ghost videos and whatnot on Youtube, but there are also some pretty convincing pieces of evidence on there, too.

If you'd like to learn more about Gettysburg itself, or the paranormal events that take place there, below are some websites that will help you get started. Happy haunting!