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Recent Investigations by Long Island Paranormal Investigators:

Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA

Eastern State Penitentiary outer wall
The outside walls of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Eastern State Penitentiary outer wall
The main gates of Eastern State Penitentiary.
 

Prolog

In early spring of 2008 Long Island Paranormal Investigators conducted a private overnight investigation in the historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The shear size of the facility was a challenge for both equipment setup and coordination of investigation teams. But all was performed well and a successful investigation was conducted.
 

History of Eastern State Penitentiary

In the historic city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania stands the 11-acre menacing structure that is Eastern State Penitentiary. In 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a member of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, presented the idea to create a "true penitentiary", a place of penitence.

History of Eastern State Penitentiary
Historical plaque outside Eastern State Penitentiary.

Thirty years later, the Society finally got the approval. Its system was inspired by Quaker methods, which was isolation of the prisoner & labor. This place would not just serve for punishment, but would try & help the criminal find enlightenment. John Haviland, a British architect, was hired to over-see the construction of the penitentiary in 1822. It was his “radial” design that had gotten him the job, which originally belonged to William Strickland. The original 7 cellblocks, stemmed from a central rotunda, which was used for surveillance.

Eastern State Penitentiary diagram
Eastern State Penitentiary layout diagram.

Church inspired arched windows & 30 ft hallways were the interior design idea. The outside was designed in a Gothic-medieval style to intimidate those around & make those fear what would lie beyond those walls. He called it "a forced monastery, a machine to reform". He also made sure every prisoner had their own cell with heat, flushing toilet, running water & a skylight. Over 300 prisons around the world were designed after Eastern State in the 19th Century. In October of 1829, Eastern State opened its doors & received its first inmate Charles Williams, a burglar. Many believed that solitude & labor would lead to regret & penitence, which was called the Pennsylvania System. The prisoner would be given a Bible & honest work to pass his or her time. Masks were made for the prisoners to avoid contact with others when outside the cells & to prevent escape. Feed doors & individual exercise yards were constructed to avoid any contact with others.

Food hole in cell door
Food hole in a cell door.

Hooded prisoner in Eastern State Penitentiary
Example of a hooded Eastern State prisoner.

By 1913 the isolation of prisoners was over & inmates were allowed to eat & work together. In July of 1923, Leo Callahan & 5 others escaped Eastern State & to this day he’s never been captured. Several famous inmates spent time at Eastern State such as William Francis Sutton a.k.a "Slick" Willie & Al "Scarface" Capone. "Slick" Willie was 1 of 12 inmates that successfully escaped in 1945 from a tunnel that was dug by Clarence Klinedinst. They were all re-captured soon after.

Prison who escaped
This prisoner escaped by tunneling under the walls of Eastern State Penitentiary.
The famous Willie Sutton also escaped by way of this tunnel.
Both were quickly recaptured.

There was even Pep the dog, who was sentenced to life for killing Governor Gifford Pinchot’s wife’s cat. He was even given inmate number "C2559".

Pep the prison dog
Pep the prison dog's prisoner photo.

Many more cellblocks were built in the coming years, which were called “Klondike”. These cells were much different than the originals, small & windowless, no running water or light. They were used for true punishment. The last addition was in 1956 with the construction of "Death Row", cellblock 15. Death row only held prisoners that were sentenced to death; executions have never taken place at Eastern State. Elmo Lee Smith was one of the most vicious inmates held in death row for the mutilation & murder of several young girls & in April of 1962 he was the last person in Pennsylvania to be executed on the electric chair.

Elmo Smith in Eastern State Penitentiary
One of the more infamous prisoners of Eastern State Penitentiary.

In 1961, the Government made Eastern State a national historical landmark & in 1971 it closed it’s doors after 142 years. In the coming years the site was used by the city as storage, a place for vandals & was even threatened to be demolished for commercial use. Thanks to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the beginning of preserving the site began in 1991. It remained closed to the public for nearly 20 years when in 1994 it re-opened its doors for daily tours of this historic site. Even though the penitentiary is open for tours a lot of the areas are is in ruin & is closed off for the safety of the public. Funding from the city of Philadelphia & the help of the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Inc, preservation & restoration of the prison has been & still is on-going.

 

Haunted History


John the Lock Smith

 

LIPI was told the story of John, a lock smith who was working on repairing the door locks on the gates that opened up from the prisoner private exercises areas to the baseball field. John report that was he was preparing to exit one of the exercise areas he was working in a large black mass he described as a Vortex appeared at the door way.

A private exercise area at Eastern State Penitentiary
One of the private prisoner exercise areas at Eastern State Penitentiary.

John had to run through it to get out. As he ran through the vortex he said it felt 'things' were trying to grab at him and pull him into the vortex.

 

Ghost Cats

Throughout the grounds, hallways, cell blocks and even in the cells of Eastern State Penitentiary are a number of plaster figures of cats.

Plaster cat figures at Eastern State Penitentiary
A pair of cat figure at Eastern State Penitentiary.

These are in tribute to Dan McCloud (aka "Dan The Cat Man). For 28 years after the prison officially closed in 1971 Dan would come 3 times a week to feed the jail house cats that remained.

Dan The Cat Man at Eastern State Penitentiary
A plaque about Dan McCloud and the cats of Eastern State Penitentiary.

The cats were all eventually captured and neutered but allowed to live out their lives on the prison grounds. Officially the last cat died in 2003 or 2004 but current penitentiary workers state they have seen a cat or two still on the grounds.

Reports differ as to the number of plaster cat sculptures. Officially the count is 36 but we also heard there are 48.

 

The Investigation Team

LIPI's investigation team was lead by Lead Investigators Mike Cardinuto and Jaiem Fleischmann. Other members and guests in attendance were Justin "Credible" DiGangi, Paul Guarino, Thelma D'Amico, Mariela D'Amico, Amanda DeCarlo, Mike Bainbrdige, Craig Sordyl, Jacqueline Morena, and Cheryl Wittmann.

LIPI in front of Eastern State Penitentiary main gates
The LIPI investigation team in front of the main gates of Eastern State Penitentiary.


The Investigation Equipment

For investigating this penitentiary Long Island Paranormal Investigators used our 4 camera DVR system, our Hi8 Video Camera, digital and analog audio recorders, digital photography and 35mm photography, a variety of EMF detectors including the K2 meter and Trifield meter, IR thermometers, digital and ambient thermometers, IM-176 Geiger counter, and our remote temperature data logger.

Loading equipment for the Eastern State Penitentiary investigation
LIPI investigators load equipment before departing for Eastern State Penitentiary.

The DVR system's IR cameras were placed in several of the cell blocks, including the Cell Block 12, the location where TAPS recording an apparent shadow figure.

Mike Cardinuto directs setup at Eastern State Penitentiary
LIPI Lead Investigator Mike Cardinuto directs the equipment setup at Eastern State Penitentiary.

LIPI tech crew setting up at Eastern State Penitentiary
Long Island Paranormal Investigators Tech Crew setting up at Eastern State Penitentiary.

DVR camera views from the Eastern State Penitentiary
LIPI investigators load equipment before departing for Eastern State Penitentiary.


The Investigation Plan

The plan called a lights out investigation with 4 teams of 2 investigators and one team of 3 investigators each to spend time investigating the cell blocks that radiate out from the central rotunda. Long Island Paranormal Investigators teams would rotate throughout the night giving everyone a chance to investigate the whole area as well as bring different equipment to each location. Unfortunately due to on going restoration activities at Easter State Penitentiary not all the cell blocks were available for us to have access during this investigation.

Jaiem instructs guests at Eastern State Penitentiary
Long Island Paranormal Investigators Lead Investigator Jaiem Fleischmann (center) instructs LIPI guests
Jacqueline Morena (left) and Mariela D'Amico (right) on procedures for the night's investigation
at Eastern State Penitentiary.


The Investigation

The LIPI team left Long Island early Saturday morning for the drive down to Philadelphia, PA.

The LIPI vehicle signs
One of the LIPI vehicles outside Eastern State Penitentiary.

The drive down to Philadelphia was quick and easy dEastern State Penitentiaryite the rain and drizzle that was encountered. We arrived at our hotel, briefly checked in, then decided to go over to Eastern State Penitentiary for a day time visit.

Long Island Paranormal Investigators in Philadelphia
Long Island Paranormal Investigators' investigators (left to right) Cheryl Wittmann and Thelma D'Amico
with LIPI guest Mariela D'Amico on the streets of Philadelphia outside Eastern State Penitentiary.

Inside Eastern State main gates
View of looking into Eastern State Penitentiary from inside the main prison gates.

In side the walls of Eastern State Penitentiary
A view inside of the walls of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Driving up to Eastern State Penitentiary was an experience itself! The share size of the facility and the medieval castle appearance was striking and imposing (just what the designer intended as a symbol of the justice system). Looking at the outer walls and guard towers one could hardly imagine such a structure with in a major city.

LIPI went into the visitors area and confirmed our scheduled night investigation. We also decided to sign up for a day time tour to get both day photos as well as a good feel for the location before we had to be there in the dark.

 Visitors center hallway
Tech Manager Justin in the visitors hallway of Eastern State Penitentiary

Signing in for the tour and investigation.
Long Island Paranormal Investigators sign in for the tour and paranormal investigation.

Drawing that shows original design
Drawing of original planned lay out.

Description of the conditions
Depictions of daily life.

Original prison door
The original door of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Prisoner visitation room
Investigators Mike Bainbridge and Paul Gaurino in the Visitation Room.

Weapons made by prisoners
Examples of home-made weapons confiscated from Eastern State Penitentiary prisoners.

Other designs based on Eastern State.
Examples of other prison designs around the world inspired by Eastern State Penitentiary.

Our tour guide took us inside the walls of the prison. He explained the uniqueness of the design and construction. Touring the hallways it was explained the ideas of the early builders for prisoner reform and how those ideas changed over the years. Many of the more famous inmates and events were pointed out. Unfortunately several of the cell blocks were undergoing extensive renovation and we were unable to go inside, both during the day and at night.

 

Starting the day time tour
LIPI on the day time tour of Eastern State Penitentiary.

 

The following are photos of the various hallways, cell blocks, and out door areas in Eastern State Penitentiary:

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary guard tower
On of Eastern State Penitentiary's guard towers.

Eastern State Penitentiary baseball field
Eastern State Penitentiary prison baseball field.

A typical Eastern State Penitentiary double cell
A more typical prisoner cell in Eastern State Penitentiary.

In door plumbing
Eastern State Penitentiary was unique to offer indoor plumbing and central heating.

After the tour LIPI took a break and had lunch at a local deli near Eastern State Penitentiary. We then returned to our hotel for a bit of relaxation before the evening’s investigation.

LIPI takes a break for lunch
LIPI investigators enjoy lunch after the Eastern State Penitentiary daytime tour.

We returned to Eastern State Penitentiary shortly after dark and had dinner at Jack’s across the street.

LIPI having dinner at Jacks
LIPI at the dinner table at Jack's, across the street from Eastern State Penitentiary.

LIPI having dinner at Jacks
Long Island Paranormal Investigators having dinner at Jack's before investigating Eastern State Penitentiary.

After dinner we met up with our Eastern State Penitentiary guide/chaperone for the night and began setting up for the investigation. The setup went quickly and we went lights-out throughout the prison except for the central hub/rotunda.

Mike carrying equipment
Lead investigator Mike Cardinuto lends a hand carrying in equipment for the investigation.

Thelma sets up a thermometer
Investigator Thelma D'Amico sets up a digital thermometer in a cell block.
Note the orb in the lower right is dust.

LIPI investigation teams took turns in the various cell blocks and outside areas of the prison.

Craig in cell block 12
Investigator Craig Sordyl in Cell Block 12, 3rd floor.

Far end of cell block 12
Far end of cell block 12.
Note: LIPI investigator
Craig Sordyl on the far left.

Amanda takes 35mm photos at Eastern State Penitentiary
LIPI guest Amanda DeCarlo takes 35mm photos in cell block 12 at Eastern State Penitentiary.

The isolation block cell 13

The isolation block
The remains of the Eastern State Penitentiary isolation cells (cell block 13).


Mike in the Al Capone cell block
Lead investigator Mike Cardinuto takes EMF readings in the Al Capone cell block.

DVR camera in a dark hallway
A DVR IR camera stands watch in a dark cell block hallway inside Eastern State Penitentiary.

Jaiem takes digital photos at Eastern State Penitentiary
LIPI Lead Investigator Jaiem Fleischmann takes digital photographs at cell block 8
inside at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Al Capone cell
The restored Al Capone cell, as it was when he was an inmate in Eastern State Penitentiary.

Al Capone cell
Photograph of Al Capone's inmate record at in Eastern State Penitentiary.

Craig takes IR thermometer readings at Eastern State Penitentiary
LIPI investigator Craig Sordyl performs IR Thermometer measurements in a cell block hallway
inside at Eastern State Penitentiary.

The investigation concluded at 3am. We were exhausted.

The next morning after a brief continental breakfast we hit the road for our ride back to Long Island with many hours of video and audio to review for this investigation.

A cold morning
LIPI investigators early the next chilly morning ready to return to Long Island.


Findings:

Audio : (Analysis in progress - results will be posted when completed)

Photographs : (Analysis in progress - results will be posted when completed)

Video : (Analysis in progress - results will be posted when completed)

Personal Experiences on Site

  • Date: March 15, 2008
    Location: Baseball field/Al Capone cell block hallway
    Description: Lead investigator Jaiem Fleischmann and investigator Mike Bainbridge were at the prison baseball field. Mike tried to call the ghosts of the cats with no apparent results. Approximately 20 minutes later inside the Al Capone cell block hallway both investigators twice clearly heard the sound of a cat meowing.
     
  • Date: March 15, 2008
    Location: Cell block 12, 3rd level
    Description: Lead investigator Jaiem Fleischmann and investigator Craig Sordyl were mid-way in the cell block when Jaiem saw a shadow move along the opposite wall. A few moments later he reported seeing what appeared to be a dark figure standing in front of a cell at the far end of the cell block.
     
  • Date: March 15, 2008
    Location: Al Capone cell block hall way
    Description: Long Island Paranormal Investigators' guest Mariela D'Amico reported suddenly feeling a deep and intense feeling of sadness and the feeling that something wanted her to leave the area immediately.
     
  • Date: March 16, 2008
    Location: Al Capone cell block hallway
    Description: Lead investigator Jaiem Fleischmann and investigator Cheryl Wittmann were taking EMF readings when Cheryl said it felt like something had moved past her. She said it felt like a wave had passed over her.
     
  • Date: March 16, 2008
    Location: Al Capone cell block hallway
    Description: Investigator Thelma D'Amico and LIPI guest Jacqueline Morena were leaning against the wall doing EVPs when they both looked down the hallway toward the Al Capone cell, where the mirrors are on the hallway walls. They report seeing what looked like the reflection of a person walking quickly past one of the mirrors (from right to left) twice in the same direction fast. Thelma called for Investigators Mike Cardinuto and Justin via walkie-talkie to come and help try to debunk what they saw. In spite of several attempts all four were unable to recreate an debunk debunk it.
     
  • Date: March 16, 2008
    Location: Al Capone cell block hallway
    Description: Investigator Thelma D'Amico and LIPI guest Jacqueline Morena were in the wing and Jacqueline's K2 meter was acting strangely when standing by cell 470. The green light was flickering quickly & when she reached a certain point all the lights on it died completely. It also happened when they sat in the one cell that had little bunks in it. It would be working fine & then the lights would flicker & die. The batteries in the meter had been replaced prior to this investigation.
     

Conclusions: Long Island Paranormal Investigators is still reviewing our evidence. The results will be posted here when completed.




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