The Ohio State Reformatory, located in Mansfield, Ohio, is a historic prison that was in operation for over 90 years. Built in the late 1800s, the prison housed some of the most notorious criminals in Ohio's history. However, it is not just the stories of the prisoners that make this place notorious; it is also its history of hauntings.
During its 94 years as a working prison, 154,000 inmates passed through the gates of the Ohio State Reformatory. Many died of diseases like influenza and tuberculosis, some went mad, others hung themselves and at least one inmate lit himself on fire. Just outside the reformatory stand 215 numbered graves, a vivid testament to the harsh reality of prison life.
One of the most famous ghost stories associated with the Ohio State Reformatory is the story of the "Hole in the Wall Gang." This group of prisoners was notorious for escaping their cells through a small hole in the wall. It is said that the ghosts of these prisoners still haunt the prison, and visitors have reported seeing shadowy figures moving through the walls.
Another well-known ghost story associated with the Ohio State Reformatory is the story of Helen. Helen was a cleaning lady who worked at the prison in the early 1900s. She was tragically killed when a group of prisoners staged a riot and set fire to the building. Her ghost is said to haunt the prison to this day, and visitors have reported seeing her apparition in the old administration building.
Visitors and tour guides have been pushed and punched by unseen forces. As with other haunted locations, many claim to feel an inexplicable chill while on prison grounds. Additionally, witnesses have heard cell doors slam and seen dark apparitions. Even the road leading to the Ohio State Reformatory seems haunted. Local legend suggests it is the ghost of Phoebe Wise, a notorious Mansfield recluse.
The Ohio State Reformatory has gained national attention in recent years, thanks in part to its appearance in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption."
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