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!