George Bernard Shaw was credited with having once said that good intentions pave the road to hell. Nothing could be further from the truth in the case of the Mansfield Reformatory (now called Ohio State Reformatory) built between 1886 and 1910, according to Wikipedia. The original intent of the institution was to educate and re-direct young men who got off on the wrong foot in life. However, when the Ohio State Penitentiary burned down after World War I, the Mansfield Reformatory became the new residence of the hard core criminals.

A quick pre-tour of the facility with the Ghosts of Ohio group opened the grand castle like building to observation and checking out the theory of hauntings there. There are 2 sets of cell blocks, East and West and a solitary confinement row of cells – the appearance of the long closed prison is dank, dark, foreboding with old leaded paint peeling badly everywhere – the small cells housed as many as 6 inmates at a time and after several men were thrown over the rails of the upper floors, or jumped to their deaths, the open area in front of the cells was closed off with a wall of bars the full length of the block.

Wind blows freely through the building where there are no windows, only screens so it was about the same temperature as it was outside; in the summer it is stifling hot and humid.

The stories are horrific and this place became a hellhole for any living soul. Wikipedia noted that there were 200 deaths, which included 2 guards during its active period.

The Ghosts of Ohio group brought recording devices and other hand held equipment, to see if, once we broke off into small groups, each investigating one section or another, all in turn, we could detect any of the emotional fingerprints or residue left by highly traumatic incidents that occurred many years ago, then reporting back to the dining hall where we exchanged findings as we ate pizza.

Stationed at one end of the solitary confinement cells, I did hear some foot falls but thinking it was a passing group, did not become concerned. I did say aloud, “Wendy, is that you?” which got recorded onto the highly sensitive little recorder near the chair where I was sitting.  Later I saw a streak of bright green light which flashed quickly as if it were coming from under a door at the end of the hall. Cathy saw the green light as well, from the floor above at that end of the hall.

Wendy and John were in the gift store (souvenirs from this place?) when they heard what sounded like a heavy piece of furniture, or chest, being dragged across the floor in the library above. They went running up there to investigate, but the noise was gone by then.

Some folks go on this tour more than once. I only hoped not to be haunted by nightmares but once I hit my mattress, so thoroughly exhausted from all the stair climbing, sleep kindly swept my head clear of ghosts.


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