Eastern State Penitentiary Investigation
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Date: Friday November 25, 2005, 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.
Moon Phase: Last quarter
Solar Weather: Flares normal, geomagnetic field unsettled
Investigators present: Hillary M., Paul M., and John M., Randy G., Robert H.
Equipment: Olympus C-3000 digital camera, four Sony digital video cameras with Nightshot and IR extenders, Extech EMF meter, Olympus DS-1 Digital Voice Recorder, Extech IR thermometer, Kodak digital camera, 2 Panasonic digital voice recorders, 2 remote sensor 35mm cameras, Olympus C-4000 digital camera, Olympus 2000 digital voice recorder, NightOwl Nightvision Monocular
History: A thorough history of this building can be found at http://www.easternstate.org/.
This brown stone behemoth sits on several city blocks in the middle of Philadelphia. It was opened in 1829 and was used continuously until its closing in 1971. The building stood abandoned for several years, and was almost destroyed, before the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority began renovating it and opening it up for historical tours.
This building has been rumored to be one of the most haunted sites in the country.
Besides the usual prison drama, which so often leaves its mark on the environment, the building also holds the emotions of the men forced to live here in silence. When the building was first opened, the men incarcerated here were not allowed to speak or make any noise. The guards were not even allowed to speak, and had to wear soft fabric over their shoes so that their footsteps would not break the silence. It was believed that this mandatory silence would help the prisoners (some were only guilty of minor offenses such as stealing horses) to reflect on their sins and find redemption through God. More often though, the lack of human contact drove these men to madness.
The building is huge, having several cellblocks protruding from the central rotunda like spokes on a wheel. The entire complex is surrounded by a thirty-foot stone wall which is several feet thick. This wall keeps the noise of the city streets out, and holds the intense cold in. Many areas of the prison have yet to be renovated, and are therefore dangerous and off-limits to visitors.
Investigation: We arrived at the prison at 10:00 p.m. and carted our equipment into the rotunda. Because we have investigated this site before, we decided to forego the tour and get right to work investigating the hot spots that we found last time. We split up into two teams: one team consisted of Paul, Randy, and me while the second team consisted of Robert and John. Our guide, Abby, stayed in the rotunda.
Team one set up a video camera in cellblock 2, then we headed to cellblock 1 for an EVP session at 10:32. We then moved to cellblock 2 for a recording session. No results were obtained during these sessions. At 11:15, we met team two in the rotunda, then switched places.
We set up a video camera in the entrance to cellblock 4, then walked further into the cellblock for a recording session. At 11:40 p.m., we moved to the second tier of cellblock 12. Almost a minute into the session, I got a picture of a moving orb above the walkway on the right side. Three minutes later, Randy and I heard scratching in the first cell to our left, then shuffling and walking noise behind us in the stairway. These noises lasted about a minute. A minute and a half later, we heard the noises again. We stopped recording at 11:50 p.m. and took a break.
At 12:39 a.m. we went into the hospital/infirmary area in cellblock 3 and conducted a recording session. At 12:50, we walked around the other side of the prison to death row. Four and a half minutes into that session everyone in the group (except Paul) heard a loud, unidentified noise come from where John was standing.
At 1:30 a.m., Abby accompanied us back to cellblock 12. Randy, Paul, John, and Robert spread out on the second and third tiers, while Abby and I stayed near the steps on the second tier. Almost two minutes into the session, I heard scratching in the first cell on the left, much like in the previous session. Eight minutes later, Abby and I both heard noises coming from behind us in the stairway. We left the prison at 2:00 a.m.
Conclusions: Although we have gotten some good results at Eastern
State in the past, we were quite disappointed with our results from this
investigation. The place was definitely quiet that night.
Submitted by Hillary Murdoch