Shriek Show - Ohio State Reformatory Kate Shields & Abby Gehlhausen
This week we are covering the Ohio State Reformatory. Located in Mansfield, Ohio the reformatory operated as a prison for young inmates from 1896 until 1990. Inmates were admitted for 18 months, and if they seemed to improve, they could be released after that time. If not, they received another 18 months. This was a pretty successful system until the 1960s when the government took out the money for reform and made it a high-security facility. The conditions got so bad that the inmates sued the state of Ohio and the reformatory had to close. During the time that it was open, around 154,000 inmates passed through the gates and about 200 people died there, including two guards that were killed during escape attempts. The reformatory sat empty for several years until local activists rallied to purchase the building from the state for $1 and committed to repairing and restoring this historic structure.
What draws people to the reformatory however is the paranormal activity. Many men were treated badly and they are said to still roam the reformatory halls. Visitors claim to be punched and pushed by unseen forces. They are also said to experience an unexplainable cold chill while on the prison grounds. Witnesses have reported seeing shadowy figures and hearing cell doors bang. Even the Ohio State Reformatory’s access road is said to be haunted. According to local legend, it is the ghost of Phoebe Wise, a prominent recluse and eccentric from Mansfield.
The Reformatory has a multitude of different haunted tours available if you are interested.