Case Files: First Team to Investigate Eastern State Penitentiary 1999
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
I had the opportunity to investigate one of the most incredible locations in today’s haunted landscape. Even better, we were the first! I received a call from one of our new members in SJGR, Lou G., may he rest in peace, about a location in Philadelphia he was able to solidify for us. He said we would be the first paranormal team to get in and investigate, and said it was an old prison. My curiosities were peaked! Then he said the name; “Eastern State Penitentiary.” This was an insane chance to get in on the ground floor and do some great work.
We arrived at the behemoth of a compound at around 6pm. The walls were so high it was intimidating to look at this building. It resembled a very creepy castle. Trying to focus less on the foreboding building, we assessed the equipment we had. Then we met up with the rest of the team at the unassuming door in this grand structure, all together ready to take on the huge project. *I'm on the far left of the first row.*
We started the adventure in the main foyer area, looking at several directions to go through, which were characterized as cell blocks. To the left, we began with the Al Capone Cell, or “Park Avenue” for its “luxurious accommodations.” This cell had some great stories of paranormal activity, including how Capone would talk to spirits in the cell, according to local legends. Sadly, our team didn’t get any activity in his cell. Whatever spirits plagued Capone seemed to have left with him.
From there, we went into the Cell Block 8, where we had a few EMF anomalies, one we were able to chalk up to the electric box above the doorways to one of the cells. Around cell 35, we had some activity, and one of the investigators Courtney B stated she saw with her naked eye red lettering above the door in the dark. She asked us to shine a flashlight in that area, yet, there wasn’t any red lettering.
Unfortunately, we had a lot of dust contaminating the area, but we were able to discern dust from actual activity during the night through photo and video evidence. Throughout the investigation, you will hear the term “pixie dust” on the videos. Pixie-dust is characterized as an electrostatic discharge in the air, like “salt and pepper” on the old TV’s. In the flash of a camera, the photographer can see this above the camera in the air in front of them. I have seen “pixie dust” in the form of a human being at one time. So, it is legitimate, and we do capture a great deal of evidence around this phenomenon.
From Block 8 we proceeded to Cell Block 9 our team didn’t experience any paranormal activity. We progressed to Cell Block 1 which is the oldest cell in Eastern State. It was the first cell block of the prison dating to 1829. It too was free of paranormal activity. From the yard, past the Print Shop, and into Cell Block 10, we still came up empty in both electronic and photographic evidence.
After a whole section of the prison offering no activity, we progressed to Cell Block 6 across the Surveillance Hub (Center of the Prison) hoping to get some good evidence. Towards the end of the block there was a tree growing through the roof of one of the cells! Here, I felt a huge wave of energy and snapped a photo. A solid orb was captured in the photo.
It is entirely possible that as nature was reclaiming this particular area, the energy and photographic evidence was emitted from the tree. Hildred, standing toward the surveillance hub, felt something in the entryway of the block, along with several other investigators feeling similar “pulling” feelings. The energy was pulling everyone toward cell block 12 and this is where things really ramped up.
In Block 12, there were three levels, and it was insane! I was on the second level, as teams went to the third and first. Chris, our videographer, and Lou went to the third level, while I was capturing pixie dust on the second, along with visual sightings. I saw shadows flying around the end of the cell block as well as feeling the energies of several entities surrounding me. Lou heard movements and voices in some of the cells, while Chris was also seeing shadow figures on the third. I can describe it in words, but you must watch the videos!
There was so much going on, that the videos do it all justice. We had photography in the form of pixie dust in the center of the block, shadow figures in the cells and on the deck, and sounds coming from in the cells while the teams were moving.
After the “festivities” in Cell Block 12, the team proceeded into the Hospital Ward, and ran into activity going into the ward. Electromagnetic energy flying around, orbs or spherical balls of light were seen in the video pulsating. Incredible photos that were taken that wouldn’t be replicated throughout the whole prison. In one photo Lou held out his hand and an orb rested in his palm! Courtney B saw shadow figures down the hallway towards the psychiatric room. When we arrived at those rooms, the activity started picking up with photography, temperature drops, etc. Hildred was touched in the doorway by unseen energies. She held out her hand to the room and felt someone gently grasp her hand. On a side note, ironically, we came across a door number 666. Today, the facility has removed one of the sixes.
Once we finished investigating in the hospital, the team then trekked out to the yard again and saw the Death Row cells, snapping pictures through the fenced separators of the small several cell block. The photos captured nothing but a few orbs.
This lack of activity led the team into the final and most unbelievable place of the night. Cell Block 2. When I walked in, we instructed everyone to be silent. Walking silently through the block, midway, we all heard an audible “Help Me!” The disembodied voice came from the center of the prison where nobody was stationed. It was so clear and loud, we caught it audibly, on video, and in the audio recorder. Naturally, we headed over to the center to investigate where the voice came from and verified that there were no living humans in this area. At that point, we packed up and ended a very successful investigation session.