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article imageShawshank Redemption prison hosts haunted house, ghost hunts Special

By Kim I. Hartman     Oct 26, 2011 in Lifestyle
Mansfield - Halloween enthusiasts looking for an adventure should head to the Ohio State Reformatory, where they will find a haunted house attraction behind the prison walls of the facility made famous in the Shawshank Redemption, Air Force One, and Tango and Cash.
For the ghostly season, the reformatory is offering a haunted house-style "Haunted Prison Experience," for visitors who want a unique opportunity to experience the infamous prison.
The Ohio State Reformatory (OSR) was built in 1896 and original housed young offenders who had graduated from the ranks of the Boys Industrial School in Lancaster and was the last stop for most, before being sent to the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus. The OSR remained in full operation until 1990 when the last prisoners were moved to a new facility adjacent to the historical prison, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Five years after its closing, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society (MRPS) was formed to restore, maintain, and preserve the castle-like prison, which boasts the largest free-standing steel cellblock in the world, according to Guinness World Records. The MRPS showcases the reformatory through its all-night ghost tours, walking tours, dinner theatre, haunted house and a museum, where visitors can see documents relating to the prison and its inmates, and their personal struggles with life at the reformatory.
HauntedHouses.com reports over 200 inmates died at the Ohio State Reformatory, some of whom reportedly still remain in the ominous structure. Brutal conditions led to inmate violence, suicide, prison escapes, accidents, and epidemics.
Paranormal activity has been investigated by professional ghost hunters and seen on television on Ghost Adventures, Scariest Stories on Earth and Scariest Places on Earth. Ghostly apparitions and moving orbs have been seen in the Warden's office, the cell blocks, the basement, the Chapel, and the West Wing Shower Room. The sound of footsteps and voices, one said to be that of a warden's wife who died in an accidental shooting that has been questioned as being a possible suicide, have been recorded throughout the reformatory.
Visitors who want to take part in the Halloween Haunted Prison Experience have until Monday to purchase tickets, at a cost of $17 per person, to experience the one-of-a-kind haunted attraction. A two dollar parking fee is charged per vehicle.
Ghost tours of the elite haunt, which run from 8pm until 5am, have ended for the 2011 season, and will begin again in March. The tours are very popular among amateur and professional investigators of paranormal activity. Advance tickets are recommended and available online.
All proceeds from the haunted house and tours of the facility go directly to Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society to be used in the restoration of the reformatory.
The Ohio State Reformatory is part of the Shawshank Trail, that movie fans can follow to visit twelve sites in Ohio where filming for the movie, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was filmed.
The giant oak tree, seen in the ending of the movie, was permanently damaged when it was struck by lightning in August. The tree sits on private property but can be seen from nearby Malabar Farm, one of the stops on the trail.
Ohio State Reformatory  the site of filming for the movie Shawshank Redemption.
Ohio State Reformatory, the site of filming for the movie Shawshank Redemption.
A walkway between cells at the Ohio State Reformatory.
A walkway between cells at the Ohio State Reformatory.
LeeLee821
Ohio State Reformatory Cell Block
Ohio State Reformatory Cell Block
LeeLee821
Cell Block 5 at the Ohio State Reformatory.
Cell Block 5 at the Ohio State Reformatory.
Ian McKellar
Prison cell at the Ohio State Reformatory.
Prison cell at the Ohio State Reformatory.
Tom Hart
A cell at the Ohio State Reformatory  where parts of the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed.
A cell at the Ohio State Reformatory, where parts of the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed.
Ian McKellar
Ohio State Reformatory
Ohio State Reformatory
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