1. Prisons are not nice places. (duh!) Really old spooky prisons are really not nice places. So if you want to get a little shiver up your spine, check out the Yuma Territorial Prison In Yuma Arizona. In case you can’t get to Arizona–here’s a video tour that makes good Halloween watching.
2. Plenty of Haunted Houses will be vying for your attention this Halloween, but for sheer yuckiness, nothing can quite match the setting of the Ohio Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. That’s the abandoned and spooky prison that was the setting for the movie Shawshank Redemption, which I wrote about earlier. You can visit the spooky prison any time, but at Halloween it becomes the Haunted Prison Experience. Here’s a little taste of what you’ll see.
3. One of the most haunting (and probably haunted) buildings I have ever visited is the Conciergerie in Paris. That is the spooky prison where the Revolutionaries locked up their enemies, including Marie Antoinette, and later the counter-revolutionaries locked up the likes of George Danton and Charlotte Corday.
The building itself is not grizzly grimy like the Ohio Reformatory. Once the vast block of Gothic buildings on the banks of the Seine were a palace. You enter through the Hall of Men-at-Arms, a vast cathedral-like space that was created in the Middle Ages. But it is the thought of what happened here and throughout France during the Revolution that makes the whole scene give you the shivers. You can visit a replica of Marie Antoinette’s cell with dressed up forms representing the Queen at her prayers, while a guard stands a few feet away, separated by a short partition. I can’t imagine how humiliating it must have been for the Queen not to have a moment of privacy after being pampered and waited upon. There are other cells that vary in their furnishings because the prisoners were expected to provide their own accouterments.
Visit these spooky prisons if you DARE.