The Real Shawshank Prison in Cleveland Is Pretty Terrifying

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Flickr

A reportedly haunted prison near Cleveland could prove to be the scariest place you ever visit, and is ranked among the scariest haunted sites in the country.

The stories behind it are only accentuated by a creepy atmosphere, and a genuinely frightening presence. Prisons by default are not places you would want to spend time, though some who evade the law, and others wrongfully accused, often end up in one.

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The Ohio State Reformatory is one of those places, and its halls have since been abandoned except by caretakers, brave tourists, and paranormal investigators. Film buffs know it as the real setting of the film The Shawshank Redemption, but the true story behind the famous prison is much darker than you’d expect.

A prison is a horrible place to die, and this site, known for its brutal history, witnessed hundreds of deaths.

Construction of the prison began after the end of the Civil War, on top of the remains of a training camp. In 1910, it opened and quickly became known as one of the best prisons in the nation, though its first 150 prisoners had been admitted in 1896. It only took 80 years to be deemed unfit, having faced overcrowding conditions due to its reputation and overflow from the local penitentiary.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The reformatory had become a victim of its own success.

The intention behind this haunted prison had been far from its result. It was supposed to be a place where prisoners could better themselves. When the local penitentiary became overcrowded, violent repeat offenders had been sent to the reformatory as an alternative. This didn’t work so well, as the conditions of the reformatory had soon been considered inhumane according to a lawsuit filed against it.

The reformatory had become known for being unsanitary as disease ravaged the population, and violent offenders started murdering other prisoners. Some prisoners even started committing suicide. Two prisoners who had been paroled hunted down a farm boss and his family, marking one of the most brutal killings in the area.

Two guards had been killed in escape attempts.

Eventually, after the reformatory had been closed down in 1990, it had been taken over by a preservation society. It is now the home of tours for those brave enough to venture into its horrifying bowels. Ghosts are reported to roam the grounds, often represented by shadows, persisting smells, and odd forces that seem to push and grab at visitors.

Flickr

Flickr

One such ghost is supposedly Helen Glattke, a superintendent’s wife. Some stories claim she shot herself, while others say she knocked a gun off of a shelf and it went off, wounding her by accident. She is said to have died within three days, but there remains a hint of rose perfume in the hallways where her ghost wanders in endless mourning.

Throughout the prison, there have been several reports of supernatural occurrences such as misplaced sounds, lights and voices. This could indicate many of the restless dead are still not aware that they’re dead, possibly having died of disease, or having been killed in their sleep by a violent inmate, or possibly having starved to death from being forgotten among the masses.

Would you tour this haunted prison in Ohio knowing its reputation, and that you might hear or see something terrifying? Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you think people might be brave enough to explore the Ohio State Reformatory.

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