Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eastern State Penitentiary: Terror Behind the Walls

There's been alot of talk going on within our circle of friends for about two years now about this place.

What exactly is Eastern State Penitentiary? Well, it's a real prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that opened in 1829. According to my pal Wikipedia, it was the origin of solitary confinement and held the belief that prisoners should work together in complete silence, and could be physically punished if the rules were not followed, like used in Sing Sing. (the Auburn, or New York, System). The ultimate goal was that prisoners would seek Penance, or look up to God for forgiveness and change their ways. The progressive view was less on physical reprimanding, but on spiritual reflection.
It is said that the prison caused significant mental illness among its prisoners due to the solitary confinement. Ultimately, the prison was closed in 1970.

Today, ESP operates as a museum, giving tours to the general public. But, as a gift to me, every year in the fall, it becomes....a HAUNTED HOUSE! It is dubbed: Terror Behind the Walls. Here's what Wiki says about it:

The event, which is billed as “A Massive Haunted House in a Real Prison,” is actually made up of five separate haunted attractions inside the eleven acre complex.

A "Massive" Haunted House?! 5 separate attractions?! 11 acres?!?!?!? If this isn't up my alley, I don't know what is.

Everything about this place is like a spOooOooOoOky dream-come-true to me. The website alone is amazing. Whoever did their page seriously needs to vamp mine up alittle.

Rachael Ray called it "The Scariest Haunted House in America!"
Philadelpha Metro and AOL City Guides both want you to invest in diapers before going.
MSN City Guide says it's really haunted.

This place looks terrifying. First of all, it's gigantic. The attractions looks incredible. The entire tour is 40 minutes, which is 4x as long as your typical haunted house. There are over 130 actors throughout the entire thing. In the attraction "Intake", you are taken in on a bus, and booked, and then the warden takes you through the different rooms. You go through Lockdown, get experimented on, and even go on Night Watch, where they give you a flashlight and send you into the unknown!

Not only is this a haunted house setup...there's rumored real ghost sightings!!


Don't believe me? Check out the FAQs:

Is it Scary? Will Things Jump Out at Me?

You bet it's scary. We do our absolute best to terrify you and your friends. Imagine just being inside an 11 acre abandoned prison at night. This is Philadelphia’s premier Haunted Attraction, head and shoulders above the hay rides and haunted houses out there. Our goal is to make you scared. Really scared. And yes, it's possible that someone (or something?) might be lurking inside one of those empty, dark cells you keep walking past...More of what to expect on our Preview page.

I'd also like to say that I was really interested in doing the Fright and a Bite packages! This year, there are 6 participating restaurants, and the menus range from "Ghostly Chicken Marsala over penne pasta with Jumping Jack Wild Mushrooms" to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pulled Pork" to "Creepy Crabcakes" to the "Lamb Shank Redemption". You get your spoOoOoOoOoky dinner, and with dessert comes your tickets!
I was originally leaning towards Jack's Firehouse's menu this year. I appreciate that they are located directly across the street.

Terror Behind the Walls began September 19th and runs until November 2nd. The cost seems to vary between $20 and $30, depending on when you go.

A group of us decided to go yesterday, because this weekend and next weekend is buy one get one free (and I am cheap!).

We decided to get there early, and get something to eat at Jack's (not through fright-n-bite package, just regular).

Jack's food is ok. I bet it would have been delicious if it was off of the fright-n-bite menu, but I didn't have the privelege. The pumpkin soup was out of this world good, and they have delicious specialty cocktails (I got the pomegranete marty). Jack's also doesn't lie, it is literally across the street from the prison, which btw looks awesome from the outside:

that's me looking ominously at our task ahead.

After we ate, we strolled the streets of Philadelphia, and then went in.
Before we could enter the prison we had to sign a waiver saying that we understood the prison may not be unsafe....spooOoOoOOOOky!:

The rooms that aren't a part of the haunted house are actually the scariest of all, like this one:

But overall, the "Night Watch" attraction and the 3-D rooms are the best. It's worth a trip to see it, because the simple fact that it's in a prison is amazing.

After you go through the haunted house, they have a little museum area where you can see the visitor's center and read about it, how scary is this:

After exploring a bit, it was time to head off...

Since we weren't in love with Jack's, we decided to head to a Philly favorite:

Pat's. In a lifelong rivalry with Geno's across the street, we were told that Pat's was the best. Pat's rules for ordering were pretty spOoOoOoOky:

But the cheesesteaks were DELICIOUS!

In conclusion, Monster Bash recommends that you go to Eastern State during the day, take a tour of the prison itself, then grab a cheesesteak at Pat's and go back at night for the Terror Behind the Walls!


Jim said...

Honey, you just took all the wind out my sail for MY E.S. Penitentary blog.

Oh well, i'll have to make things up to add a little flavor when I blog about it.

Cos and Scott pooped their pants on the way home, right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great article! Too Shy to Stop writer Ariela Rose just did an article about the Eastern State Penitentiary. You can read the article here.

Monster Bash Blog said...

Thanks for reading, tooshytostop! I'm glad you liked the article! Ariela's article is also awesome, and I like your blog as well!

Thanks for stopping by :)