Halloween is fast approaching and these four haunted tours in the Mid-Atlantic are sure to appease any wandering soul. Whether you are a believer in the paranormal or not, these prisons, hospitals and asylums are filled to the brim with stories passed down through the generations.
The Ohio State Reformatory, also referred to as the Mansfield Reformatory, is a historic prison located in Mansfield, Ohio. Constructed between 1886 and 1896, the prison boasted a Richardson Romanesque appearance, with an Old World appearance and towering wings. The prison featured the largest free standing steel cell block in the world – but it was not large enough for much of its operation and was routinely overcrowded. In 1990, a federal court order forced it closed.
The Ohio State Reformatory is probably best known for its role in The Shawshank Redemption.
The Reformatory has since become one of Ohio’s largest heritage attractions. It is offering the Haunted Prison Experience until November 2. The haunted house opens at 7 p.m. and is offered Thurday through Sunday. Complete with actors, animatronics and props, the event is designed to intentionally scare all who dare enter. The former prison also offers regular public and private paranormal events, heritage tours and photographic workshops.
Weston, West Virginia
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was the largest hand-cut stone building in North America at the time of its completion in 1864. Inside its solid sandstone walls, with walls measuring two-and-a-half feet thick, were over 1,000 patients. It was designed for just over 200 patients. Overcrowding was an issue for much of the complex’s lifetime and hundreds died from a variety of ills and mis-treatments. By the 1940’s, those “long, dreary dormitories” could not even pass minimum inspection standards for domestic animals.
Thousands were committed, hundreds died.
For October, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is offering a ghost hunt in the main building, medical center, forensics building and geriatrics building for 8 hours – from 11:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. Additionally, the burgeoning tourist attraction offers historic tours Tuesday through Sunday, along with sporadic photography and architectural tours.
Waverly Hills was constructed in 1926 as a tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, Kentucky at a time when tuberculosis was approaching “epidemic proportions.” Modern advances in medicine deemed the facility obsolete by 1961. It reopened two years later as the Woodhaven Geriatrics Center, an elderly home, but was closed in 1981.
Today, Waverly Hills has become quite the tourist attraction for the paranormal hunters and historic gazers alike. The site offers a haunted house and mini tour every Friday and Saturday night until November 1, from 7:30 p.m. until midnight alongside regular overnight paranormal investigations and events.
Moundsville, West Virginia
The West Virginia Penitentiary was opened in 1876 and was only the second public structure constructed in the then-new state of West Virginia after the Civil War in 1876. For its duration, it was known across the nation for having housed some of the most violent offenders in the United States. The prison was forced to close in 1995 due to its unusually small cells that constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
The Penitentiary hosts events Friday through Sunday and features the Dungeon of Horrors, a freight walk that includesbeing locked in a cell, being lost in a maze and a walk through the dungeon, the North Walk, which takes wanders through the oldest part of the prison, an area with the most reported paranormal activity due to the number of murders, violence and brutality that occurred on the grounds and Zombie Paintball on the South Yard.