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Closed March 31st and April 1st.

The Historic Ohio State Reformatory will be closed on March 31st for a special event and on April 1st for Easter. 

Starting April 2nd, we will be open 7 days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Get a Ghost? Share Your Evidence!

Have you recently captured something supernatural at the Ohio State Reformatory? Prove it!

Paranormal hunters from Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters Academy, and Ghost Asylum have all graced the haunted halls of the prison.

Spirit photography involves taking a great deal of photos in quick succession, mastering high-quality photographical equipment, and adjusting lighting and focus … not to mention locating the ghosts in the first place.

Because of the balance of skill and strategy that capturing ghosts on camera requires, paranormal enthusiasts at the Reformatory urge those who do “get a ghost” to share their experiences with the rest of us.

Add your evidence to the gallery of haunting experiences:

The Ohio State Reformatory Facebook PageThe Ohio State Reformatory Twitter PageThe Ohio State Reformatory PinterestThe Ohio State Reformatory Youtube

If you’re one of the fortunate few to capture a paranormal experience at the Reformatory, post your discoveries during a ghost hunt with our hashtag: #PrisonGhostHunt.

Join the throngs of visitors to the Ohio State Reformatory who have witnessed a paranormal event.

Happy hunting!

Haunted? Really? The Skeptic’s Guide to Paranormal Activity

Nearly half of Americans believe in ghosts and the paranormal activity surrounding their existence…however, suspiciously murky spirit photography and unreliable rumors lead skeptics to wonder: How much of this so-called “evidence” is based in truth, and how much is based in fiction (intentionally or unintentionally)?

We asked one of the enthusiasts. Molly Cabrera is the Program Coordinator at the Ohio State Reformatory, the famous site of a multitude of compelling ghost sightings.

What does a genuine paranormal experience look like?

Cabrera sees the physical experience of a ghost hunt as the most memorable form of evidence. “There’s no way to capture the feeling of your skin crawling as the temperature of the room drops,” says Molly. “The best tools investigators have are their senses.”

Guests walk through the Reformatory’s doors hoping to witness a paranormal occurrence—and to walk away with an impressive picture or two for Instagram. According to Cabrera, many succeed.

“Typically, they capture that [evidence] with the use of cameras and voice recorders… That is how most would recognize a haunting.” 

How do the ghosts at the Reformatory typically reveal themselves?

“The most common report of paranormal sightings at OSR would be shadow figures,” Cabrera reports. “I have had multiple visitors (and staff) speak of a tall, dark, human-like figure lurking in solitary confinement.”

Other phenomena reported include footsteps down the halls (with no apparent source), strange smells (including the scents of roses and cigars in Warden’s Quarters), and the sudden sounds of slamming doors.

Haunted? Really? The Skeptic’s Guide to Paranormal Activity | The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH

 How does one recognize a fake haunting?

Just the experience of being in a new and unfamiliar place can feel like a haunting without truly being a paranormal moment, causing visitors to mistake the natural for the supernatural.

“Because the building is old, it has squeaky floors and strange, unfamiliar noises,” Cabrera explains. “To no fault of ours, some guests will take those noises [to be] paranormal.”

“You hope that places with paranormal claims are truthful with the activity that happens, but some are just not credible.”

Facilities that advertise fake hauntings can fool the inexperienced ghost hunter by tampering with evidence: editing photos and distorting recordings.

Don’t be fooled! Take up the Ghost Hunt Challenge

If you have an interest in the paranormal (skeptical or otherwise!), the Ohio State Reformatory is a powerful place to begin, with a rich history of hauntings dating back to the prison’s early days.

Make a date to experience the Reformatory’s guided tour to learn more about its inhabitants on the other side, or enroll in ghost hunting classes to increase your chances of spotting the paranormal. Learn more >>

SHOCKING PROOF of 10 Real-Life Ghost Stories at an Ohio Prison

From the suicides of desperate inmates to the mysterious death of the prison superintendent’s wife, death was a constant within the Ohio State Reformatory’s walls for decades. These dramatic past events make for the perfect hunting ground for haunting grounds.

Here are some of the prison’s most famous residents… some of whom you might meet when you visit*…

1. HELEN GLATTKE: In 1949, Helen Glattke, the wife of Arthur Glattke (the prison’s superintendent from 1935 to 1959) died unexpectedly: as Helen reached up to her closet shelf to retrieve her jewelry box, a handgun fell – according to the official report – and discharged, striking Helen’s left lung. Two days later, she died of complications from the injury.

GLATTKE GHOST SIGHTINGS: Ghost hunters have smelled the scent of roses (Helen’s distinctive perfume) and seen Helen walking to her bathroom. Others have reported smelling the fumes of the cigars he habitually smoked.

When Helen and Arthur passed—he died of a heart attack nearly a decade later—they left their sons orphaned. Molly Cabrera, the Ohio State Reformatory’s Program Coordinator, says: “We believe Helen and Arthur are attached to this building because they raised their family here,” who moved out following their respective high school graduations.

2. THE GUARDS KEEP GUARDING: Working in one of the country’s most disreputable prisons, over-crowded, disease-ridden, and brutal on inmates, the prison’s guards were frequently subject to violence… even as they doled it out to prisoners. They linger still.

GUARD GHOST SIGHTINGS: Some investigators have experienced invisible hands assisting them up the stairs at the Reformatory, feeling pressure on the small of their backs or arms.

3. FRANK HANGER: One of the prison guards, Frank was murdered by a disgruntled inmate in the 1940s. He can still be found at his old place of business.

HANGER GHOST SIGHTINGS: “We have had reports of [Hanger] … being spotted repeatedly, not only on camera but during a live investigation,” says Cabrera. Frank, true to his role in life, is “known to respond well to authority figures, like police officers.”

4. IN THE HOLE: Two inmates went into solitary confinement, but only one came out. The other was found dead, stuffed under the bed.

THE HOLE GHOST SIGHTINGS: “The Hole,” is one of the most haunted spots in the prison: visitors report experiencing nausea and discomfort, as well as other phenomena like cold spots, the feeling of “being watched,” and mysterious breathing down their necks.

5. THE BOY IN THE BASEMENT: The Ohio State Reformatory’s basement is the site of a particularly disturbing tale of a boy of only fourteen being beaten to death.

BASEMENT GHOST SIGHTING: Sightings of the boy’s small figure have been reported, along with a vague sense of his “malicious presence.” Others claim to have seen a figure running away, as if in fear. 

6. SUICIDE SPIRITS: Life at the Reformatory could be brutal. More than a few inmates committed suicide out of desperation. In the shower room, located in the east block cell, a supernatural presence is often noted, thought to be the spirit of one inmate who hung himself.

SUICIDE GHOST SIGHTINGS: Today, he messes with flashlights and other electronics. Visitors have also reported feeling as though they, too, are being choked.

7. GRAVEYARD GHOULS: As frequently as inmates died, it should be little surprise that the Reformatory boasts a substantial cemetery. A former area of the grounds, it’s still used to bury prisoners who die while incarcerated. Many people believe that inmates who were buried in the cemetery still come back and haunt the reformatory and report to us. 

8. DEATH BY FIRE: According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the East cell block is the largest free-standing group of cells … and the quantity of ghosts is equally as daunting! Here, among numerous violent deaths, one infamous story stands out as particularly macabre: One desperate inmate doused himself in kerosene and lit a match, burning himself to death.

FIERY GHOST SIGHTING: Rumor has it that occasionally, his dying form is visible to visitors, a startling sight for the mild-mannered. 

9. WATCH YOUR STEP: The stairway leading to the guard tower at the Mansfield Reformatory is more perilous than it might first appear.

STAIRWAY GHOST SIGHTINGS: There have been reports of unseen occupants shoving visitors, who must take care to avoid falling as a result. Voices and laughter can be heard echoing there, as well. 

SHOCKING PROOF of 10 Real-Life Ghost Stories at an Ohio Prison | The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio

In December of 1891, Ms. Wise was tortured by robbers who broke into her home to steal the “family treasure” rumored (falsely) to be hidden on the premises. After stealing what money and jewelry she had, robbers left a brutalized Phoebe to free herself from where she was tied and make her way to the Reformatory to contact the police. A local “eccentric,” Ms. Wise can’t seem to move on, perhaps as a result of this horrific trauma and the many others that plagued her.

WISE GHOST SIGHTINGS: Relatively harmless but liable to startle newcomers, Phoebe can often be seen heading toward the Reformatory, either in pursuit of police aid or to fetch water from the spring nearby, and some claim she’s tried to hitch a ride back. Her appearance can be alarming: during Ms. Wise’s life, her stooped form and state of dress, combined with her reputation for shouting angrily at passersby, convinced local children that she was a witch.


*Not all areas are accessible on ghost hunts.

Skeptical? Want to experience the Reformatory for yourself? Stay the night in the Reformatory and take the Ghost Hunt Challenge. Learn More >> 

Camp Bartley: A History of Imprisonment


                 In the years prior to OSR’s construction, the land it now occupies had a different purpose: an Army camp during the Civil War. However, it wasn’t only soldiers who spent time here… and it wasn’t always voluntary.

                Just after the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina (and the start of the war), President Lincoln issued a call for volunteers to help quell the rebellion. Ohio men responded in force and quickly filled up the training camp in Columbus. Soon enough, more camps were established, including Camp Bartley here in Mansfield.

                Camp Bartley was a popular place to watch the soldiers train. So popular, in fact (among young women), that a warning was published in the newspaper that no unaccompanied young women would be allowed into camp.

                Many of the regiments that trained here went on to see action in some of the war’s most famous battles including the Siege of Atlanta.

                But beyond the enlisted men, there were a few other residents of what newspapers dubbed “Camp Mansfield”.

                Not everyone in the northern Union states was in favor of the war, let alone in favor of the draft. There were protests across the country, many very close to home.

                In 1862, citing public morale, Habeas Corpus was rescinded.

                This allowed for those who’d protested or made public statements opposing the war or the draft to be arrested, at times without cause or warrant. Some of those men found themselves imprisoned on the land that would someday become the Ohio State Reformatory.

                The Commandant of Camp Bartley was a man named Charles T. Sherman, the oldest brother of William Tecumseh Sherman. Like his brother, Col. Sherman was no-nonsense and followed orders to the letter. When disgruntled citizens (and a few judges) of Ohio demanded that he release those who’d been arrested without a warrant, Sherman simply replied: “I shall disregard this writ, and will not obey its requirements.”

                In a rather foreboding turn of events, men remained here imprisoned for the duration of the war. And, just 34 years later, another group of men would arrive and start their own sentences. This time, though, they’d have had their day in court.

November and Beyond

                Visit the Ohio State Reformatory during our Holiday season and beyond…

                For the first time, this November we will be hosting author and paranormal investigator Sherri Brake for her Ghost Hunting 101 class. Brake has hosted events at the Reformatory in the past and this new event promises to be just as fun and educational. A two-part event, you’ll spend the day learning about ghost hunting and the history of the Reformatory and then return in the evening to actually investigate the building using what you learned during the day. This event will take place on November 18. Please book your tickets in advance.

                From November 24th until December 17th, the Reformatory will be open seven days a week for daytime tours. Wander the self-guided tour route and explore the cellblocks, solitary, and more at your own pace. Or, when available, take a tour with one of our trained guides. Guided tours will be available based on the availability of the tour guides so call ahead to check on a specific date. Remember: the Reformatory doesn’t have heat in the majority of building so wear layers! Hours will be from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, with the last ticket being sold when the gates close at 4. Tickets can be purchased when you arrive for tours or can be purchased in advance on our website

                Looking further ahead, we will once again be hosting our Murder Mystery Dinner Theater next early spring. Keep an eye on our website or our Facebook page for updates and for information about ticketing- these dinners sell out quickly so get them early!

Exciting changes and new events are coming to the Ohio State Reformatory- we can’t wait to show you what’s next!

Paranormal Program

                 The Ohio State Reformatory is world-renowned for being so paranormally active, bringing professional investigators and novices alike to explore the dark halls and maybe-not-so-empty cells. Shadow figures are seen, ghostly footsteps are heard, and some even experience things like hair being touched or being jabbed with an unseen nightstick…

                New for 2018, we will be adding new and exciting Paranormal Programs:

                For those new to ghost hunting, we now will be offering a Ghost Hunt Challenge!

                Join the OSR staff as they lead you to some of the most paranormally active locations and teach you how to look for ghosts and try out state-of-the-art equipment. After a two-hour learning experience, pizza will be provided. From there, you’ll be free to explore the building until 3 am to test out your brand-new ghost hunting skills!

                Not a novice? Then our intermediate/advanced ghost hunts are for you! Set up like our previous public ghost hunts, you will be given a quick tour followed by a pizza dinner. Afterwards, explore the building until 3 am. These events are for the more experienced investigator- with at least three investigations under your belt already.

                And for the true professionals, we still have private hunts available. Book a night with just your team or your friends here at OSR. Availability is limited so book ahead quickly with Molly at

                Want the full paranormal investigation experience but don’t have the equipment? Use ours!

                Starting in 2018, we will have a selection of paranormal equipment for rent. Track the fluctuations of EMF when a spirit passes by or watch the temperatures drop with a digital thermometer…then return them to us! More information on the rental program will be posted on our website as we get closer to 2018.

                Want to build your arsenal of equipment? We will also be carrying more types of equipment in the Museum Store!

                Book tickets and find more information on our Paranormal Program Page.

Escape from Blood Prison

                 Think you can ESCAPE FROM BLOOD PRISON?

                Starting on October 12th, OSR will be taken over by the insane residents of Blood Prison:

                “The United States prison system is in disarray…The worst inmates all over the United States have escaped their respective institutions looking for a new place to call home. After numerous murder sprees and in some cases “Clown Sightings” across the nation, these psychopaths have found the destination they were looking for in Mansfield Ohio. Once known for filming movies and music videos, these crazed inmates have taken over and renamed it BLOOD PRISON! The authorities do not dare go after them as these extremely psychotic inmates have The Ohio State Reformatory locked down…but every Halloween they open up the gates and dare anyone to try and make it through this once famous prison…”

                With professional make-up, special effects, lighting, and crew of actors, Escape from Blood Prison is sure to terrify those brave enough to enter.

                Our gates open at 6 pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from October 12th until November 5th, you’ll have plenty of chances to see what’s lurking inside the walls of OSR. On-site, you’ll find vendors, food trucks, and frights galore.

                Tickets can be purchased in advance online or when you arrive. General admission is $20 per person. If you’d like to skip some of the wait, the Speed Pass is $30 per person. With those two tickets, you can add an optional Touch Pass for $5. With the Touch Pass, Escape from Blood Prison gets even more interactive- the actors can reach out and touch you throughout the building. For the fastest admission and a complimentary Touch Pass, try the Lightning Pass for $40 per guest. Visit to purchase tickets in advance.

                As this event is pretty intense, it is only for those thirteen and up- and not for those with heart conditions, other health issues, or those who are pregnant. The route will twist and turn throughout the Reformatory and will be going up and down flights of stairs, down narrow halls, and across uneven floors- be advised that this is not a handicap accessible event.

                Group rates are available for groups of twenty or more- just email to make arrangements.

                And don’t forget to pick up a souvenir of from your time inside the walls of Blood Prison! Our newly renovated Museum Shop will be open and ready for business during the event.

                For more information or to book tickets, visit

Closed for the Season…


Another summer season at the Ohio State Reformatory has come to a close but we are still very busy!

As you might have seen in the news, OSR will be the filming location for another movie: Escape Plan 3!

And when filming wraps, our Halloween season begins…

Are you brave enough to Escape from Blood Prison? Visit us October 12th through November 5th (Thursdays-Sundays) make your escape attempt!

Visit for more information and tickets!

We will reopen for our holiday tour season on Friday, November 24th, 2017.

Thank you for making this our best summer yet!