Location: 100 Reformatory Rd, (just off SR 545) Mansfield, OH Map
Tel. (419) 522-2644
Architect: Levi T. Scofield
Tourist information center
Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 124 N. Main St, toll-free: +1-800-642-8282, fax: +1 419-524-7722.
Downtown Mansfield, 55 N. Mulberry St, ☎ +1 419 522-0099, fax: +1 419-526-6853.
Ohio State Reformatory is a former prison situate in a small town of Mansfield, Ohio Despite it small size made history as a filming location of The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Besides the Ohio State Reformatory claims to be one of the most haunted locations in United States. Initially the field of the future Ohio State Reformation served as a training ground for Union soldiers. In 1867 the area was used for construction of Intermediate Penitentiary for boys as a intermediate between Boys Industrial School in Lancaster and the State Penitentiary in Columbus. Prison was constructed between 1886 and 1910. Initially the project was given to Levi T. Scofield from Cleveland who wanted to design a building that would inspire inmates to become better people. However during the construction the place of chief architect was given to F.F. Schnitzer. His name you might see on the corner stone near entrance.
Ohio State Reformatory has also a very sinister fame that surrounds
its. It is a claim that people who did hard time here in the past
still do their time after their deaths. Many people come here in
hopes of finding a proof of supernatural forces. One of the most
unique features of the facility is its East Cell Block that is
considered to be the largest free standing steel cell block with six
level of prison cells. It is also considered one of the most haunted
place here. Many eye witnesses reported seeing ghosts falling in the
East Cell Block. Others reported people hanging by the rope tied to
the railings of the fourth level. It is particularly disturbing that
some of the ghosts seem to attack women in particular. Many were
slapped, hit, pushed, their hair pulled and other violent acts.
All these apparitions might be recreations of what had happened in Ohio State Reformatory decades ago. Many prisoners were executed by their fellow inmates by being thrown off the railings. There was very hard to prove who actually did the killing once the guards made to the top levels. One of the former inmates reported that when he was doing time in the early 60's in the Ohio State Reformatory, one of his neigh bouts made himself a rope from his lines, tied himself to the railings when they were allowed out of their cells in the morning and jumped, hanging himself instantly. Another inmate by the name Lockhart in 1955 sprayed himself with a paint thinner and set himself on fire in his cell 13. Inhumane conditions of the prison led him to this horrific act. His own family refused to get the body so he was buried at the prison cemetery in a simple wooden box.
On November 6th, 1950 Helen Bauer Glattke, wife of prison's superintendant Arthur Lewis Glattke, accidentally shot herself when she knocked down her hand gun. At least this is an official story. Many claimed that Arthur Glattke shot her wife to avoid legal and social problems of divorce. Anyhow superintendant died in 1959 from a heart attack in his own office to great dismay of guards and inmates alike.
Chapel of the Ohio State Reformatory seems to be one of the more spooky places with shadows moving around. Besides the office of the former superintendant is visited by ghostly figures. Some of the visitors also reported two distinct voices that talked to them. One is described as wimpy ghost and another voice seemed to come from a large man. Besides several eyewitnesses claimed to see two ghostly apparitions that were busy kicking and fighting each other by the prison's pond. Unfortunately there is not much we can say about these ghosts and no one was able to pinpoint any historical figure that could be responsible for these visions.
Another haunted location in Ohio State Reformatory is "the hole" or solitary confinement cell that has claimed its own victims. The procedure of putting someone in a hole was simple. They would strip you, give you new set of cloths and put you in a room that had a temperature of about 98 degrees F year round. The only thing you could get inside the solitary confinement is the Bible. For some reason two men were stuck there after a fight. Apparently guards wanted to give these two guys plenty of time to discuss differences and settle conflicts. The next morning only one of the men remained alive. The hole also claimed a life a guard who was beaten to death with an iron bar by one of the prisoners who have escaped his solitary cell. It is no wonder that this particular location has many full body apparitions as well as disembodied voices of a man who could have been one of the inmates or a guard.
There is no doubt that if ghosts do exist they certainly can be found in Ohio State Reformatory. Whether it is simply echoes of old rusted building as sceptics claim or souls of over 200 inmates and security guards that died here it is up to you to choose. One thing is for certain. Almost every single reality show that deals with paranormal visited this place.
Restoration and tours
The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society is currently working to restore the facility to its original state. Restorations to date include the removal of debris, replacement of roofing, complete restoration of the Warden's quarters, as well as the complete restoration of the central guard room between the East and West Cell Blocks. The restorations are being funded through donations and tour fees. The windows of the south side east cell block have been replaced, as well as all of the original stained glass windows that were in the building and are currently being re-installed in the building. The building is also being used as a haunted house tour during October for Halloween since it's known so much for being haunted.