Among the various things on my “bucket list” were two things: Visit a truly haunted place, and go to a decent house of horrors.
Hubs hates blood and gore. He’s not a fan of haunted houses at Halloween. And most of all, he has no belief whatsoever in the paranormal. As I get older, I was coming to the realization that most of my friends echo his feelings. I’ve been told haunted houses are “for kids” and that “we’re too old for that kind of thing”. Babygirl hates being scared. Son1 prefers to go with Jazzy or his other ‘friends-with-kids’. Son2? He’s too fucking cool to be seen with his mom at a scare house.
And so….I got a message on Facebook from my girl Teri. A friend of hers is visiting from Florida (where he is a scenery designer at Universal Studios horror houses.) One of the things he wanted to do was to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. Immediately, Teri thought of me and invited me to go with them.
Oh..my…God!!! I barely took a breath before I messaged her that YES! Of course I wanted to go!!
Eastern State is a truly haunted prison. It has been featured on several paranormal shows and many unexplained occurrences have been documented there. However, every Halloween season, it is turned into Terror Behind the Walls. Whether it is it’s notoriety as a haunted place or the fact that it is in the city, no one ever wanted to go. I was so excited about this that I found myself counting down the days, and hours, until I would be there. Before I fell asleep at night, I imagined what it would be like. I imagined a contact outside of the realm of ‘spooking’. Would I possibly feel a cold blast of air? Would I see a dark, unexplained shape? I got chills…anticipation? fear? Both!
Teri parked a distance away where we go on the ‘Ghost Shuttle’, a tourist trolley car run by the event. We were treated to a story told by a guy dressed in costume. This was an opportunity lost. This guy must have had ADD because his story was not scary, spooky, or even coherent. He went off on too many tangents. Why not have one scripted story of ghost, ghouls or unexplained noises? This could have turned on the imagination before ever getting to the main course! If not a ghost story, then perhaps a story about the Prison’s history, that would tie in with the areas of the tour that we would be exposed to. Like I said, an opportunity lost.
We pulled up at the Prison and joined our friends, signed our ‘release form’ and got in line. Several characters roamed about setting the stage for creeps and chills. The wait to get into the prison itself was kind of long, but it actually went pretty quickly. The characters creeped us out, there were tv monitors showing paranormal videos of the prison, and there was just the curiosity of looking at a building with such a heinous history.
Inside the prison, we were treated to the standard ‘scare house’ fare. Strobe lights, creeps that stared or followed you, the ones who stole up behind us to softly blow on our necks. There was the infirmary with its mad doctors, the intake with its sadistic guards, and the cells themselves. I was particularly happy with the 3D portion. Looking down at my feet, it was as if my legs went into the floor! But again, there were opportunities lost. Why not have a dummy operation on the hospital table? Why not a gore covered ‘doctor’?
Of course, it all ends with a Gift Shop. It was not overly big, and the selection was small but very cool. And the prices? Pretty decent.
I have to say that it wasn’t as scary as I had hoped but it was very good overall. I didn’t have any otherworldly experiences. I do , however, plan on going back during the daytime to take the more historical tour, in which cameras are allowed, and you get to see the closed off cells, like that occupied by Al Capone during his incarceration. The cool thing is that we were given coupons for a discount on the return tickets.
Speaking of tickets….There was a fee for an “Exit Pass” . We had parked at a designated parking lot. In order to get onto the shuttle back to the lot, we needed an exit pass. This was used to get off the lot with the car! I confess that I did see it listed when I purchased my ticket online. But what if someone missed that? What if they had run out money? Now THAT is a scary thought!
Will I go back for the scare house? YES. It was a fun time. Will I go back for the day tour? DEFINITELY!
So I got a two-fer off my bucket list. A truly haunted place, and a cool scare house.
This is not a paid review for Eastern State Penitentiary…..Although it would be cool if it was!!