the old joliet haunted prison

the old joliet haunted prison

Old Joliet Prison, nestled in Joliet, Illinois, carries a haunting reputation marked by unexplained phenomena and chilling tales. This article explores the paranormal activities reported at this historic prison, where echoes of the past seem to linger.

The Haunted History of Old Joliet Prison

Travel up Collins Street in Joliet, and the imposing castle-like structure of Old Joliet Prison commands attention. Once a residence for some of the nation’s most infamous criminals, the prison transitioned to fame as a backdrop in films and TV shows. Today, it stands as a popular haunted tour location, attracting those curious about its ghostly history.

Timeline of Old Joliet Prison’s History

The prison’s origins date back to 1858 when it was established as the Illinois State Penitentiary. Overcrowding and deteriorating conditions marked its history, leading to the construction of Stateville Correctional in 1917. Notable prisoners, like gangster Baby Face Nelson, added to its infamous legacy until its gubernatorial closure in 2002.

Singing Spirits of Old Joliet Prison

One of the oldest ghost stories surrounding Old Joliet Prison dates back to 1932. Reports of singing from the convict cemetery nearby caused a media frenzy. While an explanation was provided, doubts persist, contributing to the enduring mystery of the singing specter.

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Interesting Paranormal Evidence from Old Joliet Prison

Visitors and paranormal investigators have captured intriguing evidence, including spirits appearing in photos, strange mists, and shadow figures. However, ghosts within the prison also display mischievous behavior, occasionally disrupting camera equipment, especially in the main yard.

Ghostly Cries from Old Joliet’s Cells

The haunted atmosphere extends to the cells, where disembodied voices, ghostly crying, and reports of prisoners whistling have been documented. Each cell block seems to hold echoes of the past, contributing to the eerie ambiance.

The Angry Spirits of Illinois’ Most Haunted Jail

Visitors have reported sudden and intense feelings, ranging from being watched to electrifying chills and oppressive negativity. Speculation arises about whether the anger of over a century and a half of prisoners still permeates through the prison.

Visit the Haunted Old Joliet Prison Yourself

Despite its closure in 2002, Old Joliet Prison has experienced an unlikely revival as a popular tourist destination. Tours and a haunted house attraction draw crowds, with the prison becoming a hub for ghost stories. Visitors are encouraged to explore and share their own paranormal encounters.


Old Joliet Prison stands as a testament to a bygone era, with its imposing structure echoing tales of notorious inmates and paranormal occurrences. The blend of history and hauntings creates an atmosphere where visitors can immerse themselves in the mysteries that shroud this iconic prison. Whether a skeptic or a believer, the allure of Old Joliet Prison’s paranormal legacy invites exploration and the chance to uncover the secrets that linger within its walls.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Are the reported paranormal activities recent, or do they date back many years?
    • Reports of paranormal activities at Old Joliet Prison have been common for decades, with some stories dating back almost a century.
  2. What is the haunted house attraction near Halloween, and why is it regarded as the scariest in Illinois?
    • The haunted house attraction at Old Joliet Prison is known for its spine-chilling experiences, leveraging the prison’s eerie ambiance to create a truly frightening encounter.
  3. Has Old Joliet Prison been featured in any notable films or TV shows besides “The Blues Brothers” and “Prison Break”?
    • Yes, Old Joliet Prison has been a prominent filming location for various productions, contributing to its fame in the entertainment industry.
  4. Do paranormal investigators regularly visit Old Joliet Prison, and what evidence have they found?
    • Yes, paranormal investigators frequently visit the prison, capturing evidence such as strange mists, shadow figures, and disruptions to camera equipment.
  5. How can I book a tour of Old Joliet Prison, and what can I expect during the visit?
    • Tours of Old Joliet Prison can be booked through the Joliet Area Historical Museum’s website. During the visit, participants can explore the historic prison, learn about its past, and potentially encounter paranormal phenomena.
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