Mount Holly, NJ


Investigation: May 2007

Burlington Prison Museum, NJ
Front views of prison building.

Burlington Prison Museum, NJ

Burlington Prison Museum, NJ
Rear view of prison building from prison court yard.

Prolog: In May 2007 Long Island Paranormal Investigators performed our first investigation of this historic prison museum in Mount Holly, NJ. We performed a lights out investigation using digital video recorders, digital and analog audio recorders, IR and thermal thermometers, IR vision systems, EMF and other electronic sensors.

Equipment preparation for the investigation
Lead investigator Michael Cardinuto (standing) discusses equipment procedures
with tech crew specialist DiGangi at LIPI headquarters before the investigation.

Equipment preparation for the investigation
Tech crew specialist Justin DiGangi carefully coils extension cords that will be needed
for the DVR cameras during the investigation.

Historical Background: Burlington prison was constructed in 1811 based on designs by Robert Mills, one of America’s first native-born trained architects. The design of the prison was a model of innovative thinking in terms of interior planning, fire proofing, heat and ventilation systems. The prison’s operation was also unique in that it represented the first prison to attempt reform of criminals as well as punishment. The prison remained in steady use through 1965. The building is 154 years old!

During it’s operation prisoner executions were conducted on the prison grounds.

Hanging gallows in the prison yard.
A re-construction of the type of gallows used for executions.
This gallows is constructed on the same spot in the prison yard where the original gallows stood
and where the prisoners were executed.

List of executions held on the prison grounds
The list of executions held on the prison grounds.

Old picture of the prison
Picture of the front of the prison, circa early 1900’s.

Prison artifacts
Various artifacts of prison life.

Also, prisoners executed else where in the area often spent their final days at Burlington Prison.

Additionally, during the over 150 year operation the prison also saw break outs, riots, and even murders occurred behind it’s walls. Prison museum operators confirmed that at least one person is buried in the prison’s court yard in an unmarked grave. There may be more persons buried there but records of such burials are lacking.

Location of unmarked gravesite in prison court yard.
A person is known have been buried by the tree (circled) in the prison yard.
Additional burials may also be present but records are poor.

Personer personal items
Examples of the personal items prisoners were allowed to have behind bars.

The Investigation Team: Eight members of Long Island Paranormal Investigators took part in this investigation. This investigation was lead by LIPI lead investigator Michael Cardinuto. Additional team members were investigators Jaiem Fleischmann, Michael Bainbridge, Craig Sordyl, Justin DiGangi, Peter Ferraro, Cheryl Wittmann, and Thelma D’Amico.


The Equipment Setup:
Long Island Paranormal Investigators prepared for a lights out investigation.

LIPI members discuss placement of equipment
Lead investigator Michael Cardinuto (left rear) discusses the placement
of the DVR cameras and other equipment with the LIPI Tech Crew during setup.

We set up two DVR IR cameras in the basement level, one pointing down the side hallway where it is said a prisoner killed a guard, and the other pointed down the main basement hallway. A third DVR camera and one of our digital thermometers was placed in the hallway of the woman’s prisoner wing on the first (main) floor. A fourth DVR camera was placed looking down the second floor (top floor) side hall way along with our wireless motion sensor and digital thermometer. This hall way is said to be where the museum’s light’s motion sensors often activate without anyone being there.

DVR cameras placed in the basement
A pair of DVR cameras placed in the basement where activity has been reported.

We also placed a Hi-8 camera in the second floor “dungeon room” a long with a digital recorder.

DVR cameras placed in the basement
Our Hi-8 video camera in the second floor Dungeon room.
Note the plaster figure of a prisoner as an example of how prisoners were held in this room.
Also note the prisoner graffiti on the back wall of the room.

DVR cameras placed in the basement
Lead investigator Michael Cardinuto distributes equipment to LIPI investigators.


The Investigation:
Long Island Paranormal Investigators performed a three and a half hour investigation of the prison. Our group was divided into three investigation teams and took turns investigating each of the three floors of the prison museum. Additionally, a LIPI investigator remained at the command center to monitor the DVR system. Teams would rotate assigned areas during the night to give everyone a chance to investigate each location. Teams remained in contact via Motorola-class walkie-talkie radios.

Investigating the basement floor:

DVR cameras placed in the basement
Investigator Craig Sordyl measures EMF levels in the basement kitchen room.

Basement hallway
Investigators Craig Sordyl and Thelma D’Amico in the center junction of the basement hallway.

Basement prison yard door.

Basement backdoor to prison court yard.
Prisoners would go through this door for outdoor activities and be lead this way for executions.

Basement side hallway were guard was killed.
Basement side hallway were a guard was killed by a prisoner.
Museum works say they have seen a man standing in this hallway.

Basement workshop
Basement prisoner workshop area.

Basement hallway outside workshop room
Basement hallway outside the workshop area.

 

Investigating the first floor (main floor):

Hallway along womans area on first floor.
The hallway along the woman’s section on the first floor.
Note the DVR camera on the right and the digital thermometer on the left wall.

Hallway along womans area on first floor.
Thelma D’Amico watches for paranormal activity in the woman’s hallway area.
Note the orb in the middle is just dust.

Inside one of the cells on the womans area.
Inside a cell in the woman’s prisoners area on the first floor.

Hallway outside the wardens office.
Hallway outside the Warden’s office on the first floor.
Very little activity has been reported in this room.

 

Investigating the second floor:

Basement hallway outside workshop room
The second floor hallway outside the dungeon room.

Thelma in the dungeon room
LIPI Investigator Thelma D’Amico checks Geiger counter readings in the dungeon room.

Second floor side hallway
Side hallway on second floor where museum motion sensors often activate without anyone being there.

More prisoner graffiti on the second floor.
Another example of prisoner graffiti on the second floor.

Very detailed graffiti
The detail level of some of the prisoner’s graffiti is admirable.

More detailed graffiti
Much of the graffiti is still readable after all these years.
 

More detailed graffiti
Craig Sordyl asks EVP questions in the second floor prisoner’s common room.

Walkway behind second floor cells.
The walkway behind the second floor prison cells connecting the cells to the prisoner’s bathroom.

 

Investigating the prison court yard: We had planned to go out to the court yard after dark for EVP and photography. Unfortunately, it began to rain heavily during our investigation and continued steadily so it was not possible to investigate the yard or gallows area after dark.


 Findings: The investigations of this location have revealed the following evidence and experiences:

Personal Experiences on Site – May 2007

  • A number of orbs were collect on both digital and 35mm film. Most likely dust. None appeared to beparanormal.
  • EMF readings remained very low (under .5 on the digital EMF meter).
  • While temperature ranged widely throughout the prison no noticeable cold spots were detected. Temperature variations were probably due to the weather (it began to rain heavily during our investigation) as well as the construction of the building itself.
  • An unusual mist was seen on the DVR camera facing down the woman’s prisoner hallway on the first floor. The mist formed and moved across the hallway near the ceiling and then disappeared. However, when reviewing the DVR recording the observed mist was not seen. It’s believed the “mist” was actually a dust orb of unusual size and density that moved in such a way that it appeared to be misty rather than more solid as a typical dust orb would be.
  • The wireless motion sensor on the second floor did go off once during the investigation without anyone being in the hallway. No other evidence from that section was captured.
  • Digital audio recorded a number of loud “bangs” and other unusual noises that were not heard or noticed during the investigation.
  • Several members of the LIPI investigation team reported hearing unusual sounds in the basement level. Sounds of things moving. Although none of these sounds were recorded on audio.
  • Several LIPI investigators also reported strong feelings of dread and foreboding on the basement floor and the woman’s prisoners hallway. Additionally, group sensitive Peter Ferraro reported strong feelings in both the woman’s section and dungeon room.

EVP 1:

Date: May 2007
Description: This is a Class B EVP recorded in the basement level by EVP Specialist Jaiem Fleischmann. It was recorded in the main hallway just outside the prisoner workshop. It has been confirmed not to be the voice of any of the female investigators present (only one female investigator was in the area at the time and she was halfway down the hallway away from this location). Opinion differs as to what is being said. Some think it is a female voice saying “Please help” while others think is a woman saying “So hungry”. It is because of this uncertainty the EVP is classified as B.



Investigation: January 2008

Burlington Prison Museum, NJ
Front views of prison building.

Burlington Prison Museum, NJ

Investigation January 2008: Long Island Paranormal Investigators returned to Burlington Prison for a follow up investigation of the prison.

The January 2008 Investigation Team: Long Island Paranormal Investigators returned to Burlington Prison for a follow up investigation. Present at this investigation were Lead Investigator Mike Cardinuto, Jaiem Fleischmann, Michael Bainbridge, Craig Sordyl, Justin “Credible” DiGangi, Paul Guarino, Cheryl Wittmann, Thelma D’Amico, Dimitri Haritos, Abby Haritos, and Chris Haritos.

Abby and Thelma in HQ
Investigators Abby Haritos (left) and Thelma D’Amico in HQ.

Investigation January 2008: LIPI setup DVR cameras in the basement side hallway by the furnace, basement main hallway by the bathroom/cells side hallway, the 2nf floor hall way, in the 2nd floor hallway facing into the “dungeon room”. The hard disk camcorder was placed at the end of the woman’s wing hallway. We also tested using a strobe light in the woman’s wing hallway.

DVR cameras for January 2008 investigation
DVR camera view during the January 2008 investigation.

Investigating the basement floor:

 

Dimitri and Chris in the basement
Investigators Dimitri (foreground) and Chris Haritos conduct EVPs in the basement side hallway
near the furnace and work shop rooms
.

Investigating the first floor (main floor):

 

Chris in the woman's wing
Chris Haritos checks EMF in one of the cells in the woman’s wing.


 Findings: The investigations of this location have revealed the following evidence and experiences:

Personal Experiences on Site – January 2008

  • Investigator Cheryl Wittmann reported seeing a shadow pass along the main basement hallway in front of the North side corridor (bathrooms and cells).
  • While performing an EVP session with provoking in the basement hallway by the work room EVP Specialist Jaiem Fleischmann reported hearing the sound of something moving across concrete in front of directly in front of him.
  • A number of EMF spikes were detected in the main floor woman’s wing cells.
  • Investigator Thelma D’Amico reported feeling sick while in the basement hallway near the kitchen.

Audio, video and photographs: No paranormal activity was recorded during this investigation.

Conclusion: At this time Long Island Paranormal Investigators is unable to confirm or debunk whether the prison is haunted. We do believe some kind of activity is present there. Additional investigations will be planned for this location.

 


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