Baron's Blitz: A night in jail

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Baron's Blitz: A night in jail

Postby Baron von Gosu » Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:43 pm

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Last friday my wife and I embarked on a journey I'd been planning since I was 12 years old. For nearly 20 years The Ohio State Reformatory has sat vacant in a field in Mansfield, Ohio. In all the building spans over 175,000 square feet including 2 cell blocks and a mansion set within the main building to house the warden, his family, and unmarried guards looking for convenient living and overtime. Although the building has long since been shut down as a state prison, the grounds itself still remain incredibly active having been the sight for feature films (Shawshank Redemption being the biggest), day tours, and night time ghosts hunts. Each year thousands of people traveling all over the country venture into what is arguably the biggest gathering of people who'd never make it to the end of a horror film.

On a night forecast for thunder storms, my wife and I, armed with a video camera, infra red illuminators, and a fishing vest with several tools of the trade ventured into one of Ohio's most haunted locations. The following is the night I spent in jail.

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Extending from the main building are the two cell blocks that make up the prison portion of the grounds: east block and west block. The cells, as you can see in the pictures, are stacked on top of another creating four tiers of cells stretching for nearly 1/16 of a mile on each tier. To walk from end to end is even more daunting when you have less than three feet of space from the cell doors to the thin bar saving you from a potential 4 story fall to the concrete floor below. Add in all the lights being off and...well I'm getting ahead of myself.

Beneath the cell blocks are the various hall of solitary confinement. Much like in the movies, these cells are tiny, have a solid steel door with a single slit to allow light and food to enter, and is as remote in their isolation as you can get. Even the windows on the wall across from the cells were bricked over during the building's operation to complete the abyss of isolation. During our tour at the beginning of the night our guide informed us of a prison riot resulting in over a hundred men being banished to 30 days 'in the hole.' The fact the cells were tiny even for one man didn't stop them though as 6 men were assigned to each room for the full 30 days. Imagine trying to sleep in your hall closet with 6 other dudes locked in there with you, and you may start to get an idea of the hell they were put through.

In terms of the ghost hunt solitary would play a large role into events that would happen later in the night. Did we get any evidence? You'll just have to keep reading to find out.

Next we went up to the warden's quarters on the third flood of the main building. The mansion portion of the prison contained living quarters, administrative offices, and several rooms used in the different hollywood films to come through the place. The story of hauntings here are numerous, but perhaps the most prevalent is that one of the wardens and his wife. The story of the warden dying isn't too terribly interesting. I believe it was a heart attack or some other natural cause. His wife, however, died from a gun shot accidentally inflicted on herself after she knocked a gun off a shelf in the closet while attempting to reach something on a higher shelf. The legend goes she died in the building, but according to news articles at the time she died a few days later in the hospital. Still, her ghost is said to walk the third floor along with her husband, and by far are the nicest if not rarest ghosts to find in the place. Our guide recommended sitting down for an hour with the lights off and just 'let things happen.' This is often a good tip for ghost hunting since a lot of times it's about being in the right place at the right time. Here is one of the dozens of pictures I took while my wife and I spent an hour sitting up there waiting for things to happen:

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At about 2:30 am things started to get very interesting. Nearly half the people there that night had either left or were in the process of leaving, including my wife who'd told me she was fading to sleep rather quickly. I ended up walking her out to the car, giving her the keys, then grabbing my gear to head back into the building alone.

Yes...I said alone.

Now, we've spent some time on Dead Air discussing the possibility of ghosts, skeptics, and personal experiences, but even the strongest disbeliever goes through a basic impulse of survival when you're standing on the fourth tier alone staring at pitch black in every direction.

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Even the air felt thicker standing alone on the various tiers. Most of the cell doors to the various rooms remained open allowing easy access to sit inside them when attempting to record paranormal activity. Yet sitting in the rooms paled in comparison to the nervousness felt standing out on the walkway.

I guess the best way to describe is it would be to compare it to the prison sequences in the PC game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Every so often you'd have to turn your flashlight on to see where you were going only to stop and turn it off real quick when you hear a strange noise or ducking into a cell as if to hide from something coming toward you down the walkway. Of course life isn't a video game, so resisting the urge of survival, I moved toward the strange noise attempting to to catch something on my various instruments. Besides, even if I did decide to run from any sort of danger, there's really no place to go. You either have to move down to the end of the tier or hop over the railing and take your chances with gravity.

It was also incredibly hard to shake the feeling of being followed when in the cell block. Right now I chalk it up to being alone in a pitch black jail with no hope of escape simply terrifying my internal sanity meter, but at the time it was amazing to feel the rush of fear while actually being there.

The next stop on my lone journey through the prison led me to here:

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The chair room. In this room there is a single chair bolted to the floor. What the room was used for I'm not sure because our tour group didn't visit this particular room. Still, seeing as this was the only room with a bolted chair, I felt it probably had some sort of significance. At this point I met up with a group of three others who'd already been in the room attempting to coax any potential spirits to play a flash light sitting on the floor. With their agreement I set up one of my many instruments and started asking questions.

"How many people are in this room right now?"

......'5.'

The answer was correct.

"How many guys are in this room?"

.....'3.'

Again correct.

We got a few more tid bits before things got quiet. Together my new group and I ventured to solitary confinement. We sat together in the dark and turned off our flash lights.

One of the group asks, "Can you say my name?"

.......'king bitch.'

I ask, "What about my name?"

.....'bastard.'

"What color is their flashlight?"

......'blue.'

Correct.

Things again got quiet. Soon our time at Mansfield was up. My wife and I left the building at 4:50 am, just barely ten minutes before the official end time for the ghost hunt. In all I gathered over 6 hours of audio still needing to be reviewed and 7 hours of video and close to 500 pictures. As of now I can't confirm much else in terms of evidence, but I'm curious to see over the next week what else we got. What I listed above was what I actually heard and recorded using a device called the Frank's Box, which uses white noise on the AM/FM radio band that supposedly gives ghosts the ability to communicate. In addition to this tool I also brought the following with me:

-Night vision camera with two infra red illuminators (increases sight distance of night vision)
-Frank's Box
-Ovilus
-kII EMF meter
-Digital voice recorder to record electronic voice phenomenon (EVP)
-Small objects able to possibly be moved
- Full Spectrum Digital Camera (takes pictures only in infra red and ultra violet light spectrum)

In all the Ohio State Reformatory was the most intense, intimidating, and rewarding ghost hunting experiences I have ever had to this date. I've dreamt of this night since I was 12 years old, and I must say, whatever evidence may or may not be present upon my review of the evidence I have to say the journey was well worth it. I fully plan on returning some day soon for the next adventure within the forlorn walls of the OSR. Only maybe next time I might be able to bring all of my equipment with me. Hell, I may even bring you.

There are tons more locations I visited during the night but I can't (ie: won't) talk about them all right now. After all, I still have a show to do on Friday (hint hint). So with that I leave you for Friday.

Until next time, dear reader, stay tuned to Dead Air.
"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light."
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