A little history about the Penitentiary, it was operational from 1829 until 1971. Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held inside its unique wagon wheel design. Known as being the most expensive building built in the U.S. at the time, the Eastern State Penitentiary became a prototype in design to 300 prisons.
This system, used by the Quakers, was designed to force the inmates sent there to look inside themselves and find God. In reality, the system which placed inmates in complete solitude, drove many a sane man to madness.
Prisoners at Eastern State had a toilet, table, bunk and Bible in their cells, in which they were locked all but one hour a day. When the prisoners did leave their cells, a black hood would be placed over their head so they could not see any other prisoners as they were guided through the halls of the prison. Interaction and any form of communication between inmates was forbidden.
Inmates lived a life in mundane solitude and would only get a glimpse of sunlight, known as "The Eye of God" which came through a slit in the prison ceiling. In desperate need of human interaction, prisoners would tap on pipes or whisper through vents to each other.
If caught, the penalty was brutal.
The Water Bath
The inmates who broke the rules risked being dunked in a bath of ice-cold water then hung from a wall for the night. During the winter months, when this punishment was most popular, the water on the inmates's skin would form into a layer of ice before morning.
The most deadly punishment was known as the Iron Gag and specifically designed for those inmates who refused to obey the no communication policies. An iron collar was clamped onto the tongue of the inmate, and then chained to his wrists which were strapped high behind their back. Any movement resulted in a tearing of the tongue and severe bleeding. Many inmates who suffered this torture died from loss of blood before their torment ended.
Dug under Block #14, the hole was nothing but a pit in the ground where incorrigible inmates would stay locked, sometimes for weeks. There was no light, little air, and those thrown into its tortuous grip would receive water and a slice of bread, if they got to it before the rats and roaches.
While there I sometimes felt like there was someone right behind me....or feeling like there was someone touching me...and there wasn't. A couple of times I thought I saw someone run past in a hallway or in a prison cell, but no one was there!
Here are some of the pictures:
Click on any of them to enlarge them.
Hope you like them! I had a great time even if it was spooky!!!! Tonight is Trick or Treat here in our neighborhood! I may even dress up!
the second to last one is awesome.. the lighting is just right!... I like the other one of u in the corner- profile... looking right... great composition!.ReplyDelete
What an amazing experience this must have been! I love the photo of you kneeling looking up ... your expression truly captures the plea of help ... wonderful photo shot!!! HHLReplyDelete
these pictures are great. i love old abandoned places. i definitely wish i could go there.ReplyDelete
amazing pics!! we had the opportunity to visity Philly back in May and went to the penitentiary for a tour - it was pretty impressive; we took lots of pictures - the ones from Al Capone's cell were creepy! my fav picture was you "praying" towards the ray of light - just lovely (in a sad kind of way).ReplyDelete
wow, nice pictures. I especially like the second to the last one also...the light coming down like that is amazing. Of course, you my friend are beautiful!ReplyDelete
The place looked like it would have been cool to wander around in...love old buildings and history!!! whoo-hoo
Great pictures! I only live about an hour away, & I've never been to Eastern State. I always wanted to go. Tonight is trick-or-treat here too, & I have to work. :( Enjoy it for me!ReplyDelete
Now I know where I DON'T want to go for Halloween! LOL Creepy place, but nice pix!ReplyDelete
Amazing pictures!! I have always wanted to visit there! Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
So spooky! I would have been creeped out, but then as you were describing their punishments, I was thinking of a few people in current lock up that deserve such torture!ReplyDelete
The photo's are beautiful but it sure does look like a spooky place!ReplyDelete
Java: Great, creepy photos. You in that penitentiary - yin and yang. Talk about dark and light!ReplyDelete
Looks like fun. I totally love the black top you have on in the last photo when you're kissing the photographer. Great top!ReplyDelete
This post was astounding and awesome. I enjoyed reading about the history and loved the photos that were taken!ReplyDelete
Scary building. But I love your pictures.ReplyDelete
Excellent pictures. I would love a ghost tour there! Maybe I can talk my husband into a drive the next time we visit family in Wellsboro.ReplyDelete
This post is so interesting and I love the photos. The buildings are a bit creepy though.;)ReplyDelete
Have a great weekend!
That is phenomenal! How totally exciting even if it is kind of eerie! Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyDelete
I lived in center city for 2 years while going to TJU, one weekend I had my son and his friend come spend the weekend, this is one of the places I took them. It was in September, and they were doing an art show there as well, so along with the tour, we got to see some art in some of the cells, very cool. Since then my youngest daughter has been there twice for their "Halloween" haunted prison thing...she said it really creeped her out, but was disappointed that it was held entirely outside...my guess would be insurance reasons, the place is crumbling.ReplyDelete
Do you live in Center City?
I have a surprise for you:)
I've seen Eastern States on a few of the "Ghost Hunters" shows and it is reputed to be one of THE most haunted places in the US (right behind Gettysburg Battlefield, I think) People are always reporting those "feelings" that you had of someone being right behind you or touching you.(shivers)ReplyDelete
Your photos are beautiful. I think the photographer really captured the essence of dark vs. light. And I have to agree with many of the others that the second to last photo is my favorite. It almost looks as though you're floating there in the corner. I don't think I'd go there myself because I tend to be extra sensitive to that kind of thing, but it sure worked for your shoot. Great pics! Thanks for sharing them with us.
That place looks pretty creepy in the pictures. I can't imagine it for real, at night!ReplyDelete
Samantha Brown featured this prison on one of her weekend escape shows. Fun.ReplyDelete
Very cool and creepy,.in a good wayReplyDelete
My favorite is you looking like your praying. In a place like that I bet there were tons of prayers. Thank you for sharing, they were really great.ReplyDelete
Take care and God Bless!!
Java, Beautiful pictures. I too liked the one in which you looked like you were praying also the very last one of you. Very beautiful but eerie. The strange thing is , Hubby was just now watching a TV program about the Hauntings at the prison and I remembered that is where you had your photo shoot. I had him look at your posting but now I need to scoot over so he can read the entire post! Bye..Happy Halloween!ReplyDelete
I love your pix!! ;DReplyDelete
Very interesting location! ((HUGS))