Top Ten Prisons to Visit

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Talk about regret, in order to elicit pure anguish, prisoners were kept in 24/7 solitary confinement, with meals delivered by cart to be eaten alone inside the cell. (Eastern State Penitentiary)

5. Ghosts of Prisoners Past
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania is considered by many to be the most haunted prison in the world. The one-time home of Al Capone—he had a designer cell decked out with an arm chair and fringed lamp—is now a historical monument and the subject of many whispers, screams, tears, and suspicions. The prison that Charles Dickens once visited now organizes tours for law-abiding citizens to get closer to the wagon-wheel shaped prison that houses ghosts instead of prisoners.

Varieties of tours are offered year-round and tell the stories of the more than 75,000 criminals who once occupied the grunged walls. The treatment was so bad here that reports have been made of all detainees being hooded before exiting their cell to minimize any contact with other prisoners and to withhold the prisoner from any sort of viewing of the outside world. It's no wonder that the so-called paranormal activity abounds here. In the past, people have reported screams and cries radiating from the prison's interior. From September to November, the historic site becomes a haunted house for those who are inclined to hear the sound of blood curdling.

Steeped in history itself, Philadelphia offers much to do after a tour of the spirit-ridden jailbird jungle-gym. To put a light-hearted spin on your ghostly day, take a Ride the Ducks tour—an amusing cruise through Philadelphia via a bus that doubles as a boat. The tour includes information on the city's history as well as the Delaware River and famous people who have connections to the city of brotherly love. Cruise by Independence Hall, the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated upon, then head to the famous cracked bell where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the country. Reboard the Quack Mobile headed toward the Philadelphia Mint, which covers five acres of money-loving land.

Other stops on the family-friendly tour include Betsy Ross's house, Ben Franklin's grave, the Vietnam War Memorial, and Society Hill—an area of Philly with significant amounts of untouched 18th-century architecture. Walk these history-laden cobblestone streets where brick rowhouses rise up on either side. Along the tour, stop off on Philadelphia's South Street, a grand mix of restaurants, shops, and bars known for its laid-back bohemian vibe.


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