Originally built in 1886, the Ohio State Reformatory has been closed for its main purpose since 1990. It majestic beauty and architectural strength made it the perfect spot to film the classic movie "The Shawshank Redemption".
The history started way prior to when the first brick was laid to build this incredible prison. The property was used as a training camp for Union Soldiers during the Civil War.
Designed by acclaimed architect, Levi Scofield, this castle-like prison was built to reform and inspire its occupants... The inmates. Completed on November of 1886, workers laid the cornerstone on what was known as an intermediate prison. This would be the retention of persons that fitted between the Boys Industrial School in Lancaster and the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. Usually they housed nonviolent offenders. The original goal was to reform them by teaching them useful skills and motivating their spirituality.
Unfortunately, eventually Ohio was forced to change this with its growing prison population, opening its cells to hardened criminals to OSR. With this, the Reformatory became overcrowded. Sometimes cells that were designed to hold a single man, now held three. The focus shifted from reformation to punishing unruly prisoners.
The punishments were administered with antiquated and unforgiving torture devices the included "the butterfly," a form of electro-torture, water hoses, a sweatbox for non-white prisoners, and "The Hole" which was a small, barren and solitary confinement cell. Along with the possibility of being tortured, the inmates were also subjected to extreme violence from other inmates, horrific food, rat infestation, and infectious diseases.
OSR, due to many difficult situations, closed its doors as a prison/reformatory in 1981. Upon being restored, the building is used for events, tours, haunted explorations and even a Haunted "Blood Prison" during the Halloween Season.
To say this place is haunted, is an understatement, leading it to be called the most haunted property of all of Ohio. Witnesses have experienced shadow figures, slamming cell doors and yelling voices, and female witnesses claim to have been victims of physical attacks by the spirits who linger in this place. This is only the beginning.
Today, this majestic Gothic structure is now a state historical site and offers guided tours, including ghost hunts, to interested visitors.
Many paranormal TV shows have featured this property, including the famed SyFy Ghost Hunters and Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.
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