Terror behind those walls

Imagine walking into a darkly- lit prison full of continuous screaming. Imagine walking into a place where there have been dozens of claims of ghost sightings.

Welcome to Eastern State Penitentiary’s haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls, ranked fifth best haunted house in the nation by AOL.

The historic Eastern State Penitentiary lies just five blocks away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The best thing about this prison is the fact that, come Halloween time, it turns into a massively frightening haunted house attraction.

The first stop in the Penitentiary Complex is the “Yard Out.” In this old rec yard, guests have encounters with ghoulish prisoners and heartless guards while watching an entertaining video with real ghost stories about the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Once inside the Haunted Attraction, it takes about forty-five minutes to go through all five haunted houses: Intake, Maximum Security, 13 Rooms, The Experiment: In 3D and Night Watch.

At Intake, guards coolly escort guests to the prison bus that leads through chambers before entering the Maximum Security section. From here, horrifying screams can be heard from those who have already entered.

Once inside the Maximum Security portion of the haunted house, there is no turning back. In the cellblocks, getting lost is just one thing to worry about. Surrounded by a world of electric fences, dark corridors and rattling cell doors, as well as ghouls, be prepared for anything to pop out of each corner.

The next attraction within the haunted house is the 13 Rooms. At this point, guests wind through the cellblocks, entering places like the laundry room and the morgue. All the while, unruly guards and inmates make each room more terror-filled than the last.

To fully understand The Experiment: 3D portion of the haunted house, just picture wearing 3D glasses while anything can pop out from anywhere. Night Watch occurs almost completely in darkness!

In this one-of-a-kind atmosphere, guests will be scared, startled and generally creeped-out by an incredible array of ghastly ghouls.

According to the Eastern State Penitentiary’s website, “Our goal is to make you scared. Really scared. And yes, it’s possible that someone (or something?) might be lurking inside one of those empty, dark cells you keep walking past.”

Though none of the ghouls can touch guests, the little things they can do, such as lightly breathing on one’s neck and following close behind, pose more of a scare than anything else.

The price for this deliciously scary attraction runs between $20-$30. Stop by any Lukoil gas station and pick up a $5 off coupon.

Tickets are purchased in half- hour time slots, so for instance, if you have the 8 to 8:30 time slot, you can only enter between those times.

Because Eastern State Penitentiary is a ruin that was abandoned in 1971, the City of Philadelphia, which owns the property, requires that every visitor complete a waiver before entering the property.

Perhaps the only downfall to this haunted attraction is the parking. Be sure to leave in plenty of time, and do not rely on the parking lot beside the prison, for it usually fills up fast.

So climb out from beneath the covers, put on your brave cap and venture over to the best haunted attraction in the tri-state area.

If you cannot make it downtown to see the horrors in person, do not miss The Travel Channel’s new one-hour special, “America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions,” which will feature “Terror Behind the Walls” sometime at the end of October.


22nd Street and Fairmount Ave,



October 18-22, 24-31


Fridays: 7-11 p.m.

Saturdays: 7-12 a.m.

All other days: 7-10 p.m.


Fridays: $25

Saturdays: $30

All other days: $20

Runs rain or shine

For more ghostly information. visit www.easternstate.org.

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