Haunted Journeys

Old Idaho State Penitentiary

Old Idaho State Penitentiary

Boise, Idaho
83712 United States

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Boise, ID is home to one of the most haunted places in the state, Idaho State Penitentiary. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.

The History

Sandstone is an earthly conductor for Spiritual Energy for it intensifies energetic heat within its domain. Yes, this property was built with it. Which led to historic human devastation and now, a place that attracts the spirits of those that perished here. Constructed in 1870, 20 years prior to Idaho becoming a state, The Territorial Prison (as it was once known) was first built as a single cell house near the city of Boise. In the next 100 years, this prison swelled to a massive complex made up of five cell blocks and other administrative buildings. The whole complex has a daunting 17-foot high wall, also built from its sandstone inferno compost. With 13,000 prisoners passing through the Old Idaho State Penitentiary, historians have claimed that this building claimed the lives of thousands!

The Hauntings

Many of these restless souls still remain here, due to the perfect mix of conditions that history and architectural properties that encourage haunted experiences. First the history. Old Idaho State Penitentiary became notorious for the terrible conditions in its cell block. Such deplorable living standards created desperateness, which eventually culminated in two prisoner riots in the early 1970s. The sandstone building intensified the temperatures inside the cells, and with hot Boise summer, the prison became an oven literally baking the living within it. During the winter, the opposite occurred. The walls retained the bitter cold, inhumanly freezing the prisoners for months. Proper plumbing didn't reach the prison until the 1920s, creating a center for the spread of infectious diseases. This was complicated by the prison's mal-functioning ventilation system, created conditions that were unbearable.

The prison was closed for good in 1973 and was designated a national historic site for its significance as a territorial prison. But it also has become a haven for paranormal investigations. In the 40-plus years since the prison closed, there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity at the complex. Specifically, most reports center around one of Old Idaho State Penitentiary’s most famous inmates, Ray Snowden. Sometimes referred to as “Idaho’s Jack the Ripper,” Snowden was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a woman named Cora Dean. Prior to his 1957 execution by hanging, Snowden admitted to the murders of two other women. In the years since the prison closed, both staff and museum visitors have claimed that Snowden's spirit still haunts the grounds.

Many of these claims center around the building known as 5 House, where Snowden was hung. Many claims circle around Snowden’s final agonized attempts to breathe. According to records, it took over 15 minutes for him to suffocate to death. Many have heard his desperate gasps throughout the building, particularly at the former location of the gallows. In addition to Snowden, many guests and tour guides claim that “sinister feelings, strange sounds, voices” and “dark entities” still lurk in the cellblocks of Old Idaho State Penitentiary, particularly near the former solitary confinement cells.

This property was featured on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.


More spooky reads about Idaho...

Ghost Hunting Idaho: USA Paranormal Investigation, Haunted House Journal, Exploration Tools & Gear Planner for Ghost Hunters Paperback – December 15, 2019 by Caprica Publishing (Author)     Haunted Idaho: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Gem State (Haunted Series) Paperback – April 1, 2013 by Andy Weeks  (Author)     Ghosts of Idaho's Magic Valley: Hauntings and Lore (Haunted America) by [Andy Weeks]


  • As Seen on Para TV
Understand This:

This property, as part of our network, has been added for they may have history, validation, or folk tales of having spirited activities. Please take caution in approaching and visiting these locations, since courtesy, respect, and caution should be a top priority in every Haunted Investigator's style. Also do realize, some of these places may have permanently closed, changed ownership and/or names, or just are not available for your visits. Please respect this.

We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided on this listing, but offer it as a first step in finding your next haunted travel destination. Please do confirm with the property before making any plans to visit.

If you visit, tour, or investigate this property (or any of our properties), we are not responsible or held liable for any outcomes, lack of evidence, or injuries associated with your travels. This is only for entertainment purposes, and information provided is only as found in public domains (or as offered by the associated contributor (as a claimed property).

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Date added: Dec/08/2019 | Last time updated: Jun/05/2020

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