I have always been interested in the supernatural. I can't explain any of it and I am not entirely sure I have experienced anything especially paranormal but I still find it all fascinating. Last year my friend Aaron, also a supernatural lover, got involved with The Waverly Hills Sanatorium and made their fabulous website. Thanks to this connection he took me and a few other friends along for a lock in at the infamously haunted former TB hospital. A creepy place if I have ever seen one. Yesterday, Aaron, Brian, Anne, and I went to the Mansfield Reformatory, which is now known for lodging spirits.
Mansfield, Ohio is about an hour and a half away from me and an easy drive. The old Reformatory is hard to miss. The stone prison looks more like a castle and as the tour guide stated, it was built to look intimidating. Mission accomplished.
We began the tour with a chat outside covering the basic rules: don't steal anything and don't try to scare people and act like a fool or you will be kicked out. Once inside our tour guide told his own tales of seeing and hearing unusual things and shared the history of the former prison. I was most interested in the mirrored mansions that once hosted the warden and important officials who visited the area. Even though the mansions' paint was peeling and the floors were crumbling, it was still evident that it was once a gorgeous house. One former warden's wife, Helen, died in the mansion and supposedly still wanders the building.
After the guided tour, we were all set free to roam the building until 6 AM. We spent time sitting in dark rooms and listening to sounds. Walking though the cell blocks, I was amazed how small the cells are. My only impression of prison is what I have seen on TV and the reality was striking. Many of the cells still had old reading materials. The huge library still had a few legal journals and the librarian's desk was still intact.
Brian and I left around 1 AM and Aaron and Anne stayed until 3 AM. Of course Brian and I missed the good stuff. Aaron called me this morning and let me know that they heard unusual sounds and some possible EVPs after I had left. That's how it goes.
While I did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary, this was a fun and interesting trip. There is something here for everyone. If you are like me and love history, you will enjoy the stories of the prison and the prisoners while looking at the old fixures. If you are into the supernatural you are surely to find something creepy and if you are a movie buff you'll love seeing the props left behind from Airforce One and Shawshank Redemption. Since I live so close, I will definitely return sometime in the future, despite the fact that nothing scared me. There's always next time.
Check out Brian's review of the trip at The Morning Toast.