I don’t know if I believe in ghosts but I believe in a good ghost story.  Even though I’ve mostly moved towards digital reading, I still visit a bookstore from time to time.  When there, I often look through the bargain book section and tonight I happened upon a book published by West Side Publishing, a division of Publications International Ltd entitled

Armchair Reader Haunted America

It being October, the month for all things Halloween, I bought the book.  Under the plan to share some of the stories with my followers, I found a story that has a connection close to home.  The book has a section called “Prison Poltergeists” and the first story is about a historical landmark in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Burlington Prison (Mount Holly, New Jersey)


Built in 1811, architect Robert Mills designed the Burlington Prison for 40 inmates but it became overcrowded as you may expect and when it closed in 1965, it housed 100 inmates.  The prison is now a museum and ghosts showed their presence when remodeling began in 1999.  Paranormal investigators were called in for the purpose of stopping the fears of the construction workers but these ghost hunters declared it actually haunted.

Unexplained activity:

  • Missing tools showing up in other locations.
  • Unusual noises.
  • Two visible ghosts – One in the shower area and another thought to be a prison that hung himself in a maximum-security cell.

It was the oldest operating prison in the United States before it closed and it looks like the former inmates are still enjoying the accommodations.  http://www.prisonmuseum.net/

Old Idaho State Penitentiary (Boise, Idaho)


Opened around 1870, the Idaho State Penitentiary became a violent place by the 1930s.  Due to riots and pitiful living conditions, the prison closed in the 1970s.   It is now a museum http://history.idaho.gov/old-idaho-penitentiary.

Unexplained activity:

  • In the execution chamber, visitors’ reactions are unusually strong: Some have become agitated and overcome with a feeling of dread, others dissolved into tears and reported feeling physically ill.
  • Noises:  crying, moaning and sounds of guards walking the halls are heard from the walls.

Old City Jail (Charleston,  South Carolina)


Before it was built in 1802, the land on which the Old City Jail stands was designated for public use.  The workhouse held runaway slaves and homeless populations came there for meals and medical care.  Once the jail was built, it became of place of hardened criminals and the criminally insane.  Throughout its history, it held pirates and many slaves that had been involved in the revolt of 1822.  Apparently this rich history provides an environment for more than a few ghosts to continue to hang around.

Unexplained activity:

  • The ghost of an African American male slave who doesn’t react to the living visiting the jail.  His clothing is ragged and he appears to be carrying a heavy load on his shoulders.
  • Violent presence:  Visitors have experienced being pushed, tugged or tapped by an unseen force.  Many have felt physically ill.

Today, the Old City Jail building houses the American College of the Building Arts and is an official “Save America’s Treasures” project.  http://buildingartscollege.us/

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (Lucasville, Ohio)


Still an operating prison today, the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility is infamous for the worst prison riot in history which took place in April 1993.  A ten day uprising involving 450 prisoners in Cell Block L resulted in five prisoners being sentence to death for their roles that lead to the death of nine inmates and one guard.

Unexplained activity:

  • Guards patrolling Cell Block L have reported seeing apparitions in the area.
  • The guards also reported hearing slammed doors and shadows when no one else was around.
  • One guard reported following a prisoner walking the halls after lockdown and watched the man vanish.

Read about Ghostly New York


9 responses

  1. The former Carleton County Jail in Ottawa, Ontario is considered to be one of the ten most haunted places in the world. It is definitely haunted…I stayed overnight by myself on the 9th floor and got some interesting photos.


  2. I forgot to add that I love a good ghost story too!


  3. […] It being October, the month for all things Halloween, I bought the book.  Under the plan to share some of the stories with my followers, the book has a group of stories about ghostly encounters in New York.  This is my second post based on this book, here is the first. […]