Smithsonian | Wanna Go to Shawshank?

I hear it’s haunted!

Source: HauntedX
Source: HauntedX

Twenty years after the fact, Mansfield, OH has turned what is popularly known as Shawshank State Prison (because of Stephen King, Frank Darabont, Tim Robbins, and Morgan Freeman) into a haunted tourist attraction. The abandoned reformatory was purchased by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society for only a $1 back in 1994, with the promise that it would be renovated. Well, since then it “has managed to draw 80,000 visitors a year to the site, all eager to experience the prison for themselves.” Visitors just have to be careful, though they receive a “Get Out of Jail Free” card at the beginning of the tour, if they take themselves into a cell they should Never. Close. The. Door.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted:

“To be honest, we don’t have keys for some of these,” Pastor Puff said, noting that locksmiths have to be called. “We have ’get out of jail free’ cards that we hand out, but they know if they get stuck and we have to call someone in here to free them, they’re paying for it.”

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The “Haunted Prison Experience” is currently open until November 1, running tours Thursday through Sunday evenings during the week. They claim to never sell out, even selling tickets on the day you arrive for the tour. You can order tickets in advance here, and tour hours run Thurs 7 pm-11 pm, Fri and Sat 7 pm-Midnight, and Sun 7 pm-10 pm. Gates open at 6, and the box office opens at 6:30.

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