Exotic animals may have terrorized a small town in Ohio, but guests looking to get really scared should head to the infamous Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield–one of the ultimate places to go for a ghost hunt. For the Halloween season, the reformatory is offering a haunted house-style “Haunted Prison Experience,” but next spring the real frights will begin when the facility that housed over 154,000 prisoners over its lifetime will host ghost walks and overnight ghost hunts for those with serious interest in paranormal activity.
The spooky facility was made famous by the film “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), and has been used in a number of other films and TV shows–including a long list of paranormal investigation shows such as Ghost Adventures, Scariest Stories on Earth and Scariest Places on Earth. Ohio-born Marilyn Manson also did a photo shoot at the reformatory, as well as Godsmack and Lil Wayne.
Built between 1886 and 1910, the reformatory remained in operation for 94 years until a federal court ruling ordered the facility to be closed. Five years later, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society was formed to turn the prison into a museum and conduct tours. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Place, the prison boasts the world’s largest free-standing steel cellblock.
Those looking to book a tour through the dark halls and corridors of the reformatory–which, by the way, are led by tour guides well-versed in the eerie history of the prison–should book now, as the tours are extremely popular and sell out months in advance. All proceeds go directly to restore the architecture of the reformatory.
The Central Guard Room at the Ohio State Reformatory
An Aerial View of the Ohio State Reformatory
Just a sampling of the spookiness that awaits at the Ohio State Reformatory.