For many years, Eastern students have been visiting Eastern State Penitentiary to get themselves into the spirit of Halloween. The large inclination audiences have is that Eastern State Penitentiary is known for its paranormal activity. The Penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark, was first established in 1829 and became famous for its unique tactics for inspiring penitence within a prisoner.
A few prisoners are still remembered today by their criminal branding, such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. As their punishments were rather cruel and unusual in such a depressing setting, many stories arose from the prison and have since been passed down for other audiences to hear. More than likely this only increases the Penitentiary’s attendance for their annual Terror Behind the Walls event.
Terror Behind the Walls, the most frightful haunted house in the tristate area, brings to life everyone’s worst nightmares. Eastern State Penitentiary holds the haunted house, or may we say haunted prison, each year beginning in September and ending the first weekend in November. This event takes you through six horrifying attractions within the penitentiary itself, creating the environment of jeepers and creepers.
The six attractions take you on a journey of the “prisoners” breakout of the Penitentiary. As you travel with your friends, you can decide whether you would like the experience to be interactive or passive. If one decides to opt in for an interactive experience they should not be surprised if they are grabbed, taken away or sent through hidden passageways by themselves. You may wish you chose to be passive, as you may find yourself very alone in a dark corridor with no one to help.
When we attended this horror attraction, senior Madison Messics wore a glow in the dark necklace to indicate that she consented to being touched and potentially taken away by each of the attractions’ monsters. Junior Kelsey Fiander-Carr, on the other hand, decided against the interactive experience. In one instance, Messics and Fiander-Carr, who came as a group, were separated. Throughout the infirmary, Messics was asked horrific questions like “can I have a hand?” Although this seems like a harmless question, the monsters in the infirmary, who were zombie nurses, wanted Messics’ real hand. After this request, Messics was taken to a hospital bed and was only able to reach Fiander-Carr after the nurse released her.
Terror Behind the Walls brings the idea of a paranormal breakout to a whole new level. With each attraction comes a different theme and setting. One may be in the infirmary ward, trying to get past nurses who would love to practice an unethical surgery on anyone they can get their hands on. You may also find yourself making your way through the very sharp and dangerous machine shop filled with tools and gruesome scenes. As you travel, be sure to have a sharp eye as what you believe you see is not always how it appears. During one attraction, there was a 3-D section that altered the way its audience saw the scene. At one point, Fiander-Carr thought that she was going to fall off of a platform that was holding her. The 3-D glasses the Penitentiary had her wear in addition to the flashing lights, many goers fell once they entered the section. At another point in time, the scare fanatics were chased by a monster with a chain saw. These are among dozens of situations that can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
If you are looking to be in a horror movie of your own in this season of Halloween, Eastern State Penitentiary is the place for you. Tickets range from 19 dollars to 45 depending on how busy the attractions are. For more information, look through their website at www.easternstate.org.