Most Haunted Places in America: Old Idaho Penitentiary
Known as the first prison built in the state of Idaho; the penitentiary located east of Boise had housed over 13,000 inmates which also included 215 women. Like with most prisons, several inmates have died over the years which can lead to several unexplained and possibly paranormal
Built in 1870, it originally began as one building, but was expanded to include 15 with the help of those who were housed at the prison used quarry that was located within the ridges that surround the city. The prison closed down after a century of housing inmates over riots that were caused by the conditions of the penitentiary.
Since the demise of the prison, Old Idaho has become a historic building which became official right after it was shut down by the State of Idaho when the old penitentiary was listed by the National Historic Society. Today, Old Idaho houses a museum, which is opened all year round. Although there are no documented reports of any haunting’s, many believe that because Old Idaho Penitentiary housed some of the most ruthless criminals, that there are going to be some haunting’s.
One story was about a prisoner named Raymond Snowden, who was known as the Idaho Jack Ripper, had brutally murdered a woman and was sentenced to die by hanging. Stories have it that he hung for 15 minutes in the gallows inside of the prison in 1957. They say he haunts the former prison and a cigar store in downtown Boise called Hanafin’s.
Others have reported strange noises, rattling of the walls, wails, and apparitions throughout the years. Visitors have also stated that they have been touched or pushed by someone within the prison walls. Some people have had the feeling of being watched and touched by something that wasn’t there. Others have reported seeing figures tending to the beautiful rose gardens within the prison property.
These stories caught the attention of Nick Groff, Aaron Goodwin, and Zak Bagans of the Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures who decided to visit the 139 year old prison to see these haunting’s for themselves. They spent a night at the former prison in building 5. Did they discover the folklore to be true or is it just that folklore?
The boys at Ghost Adventures did discovered some interesting activities within the former prisons walls. This lead them to believe that yes, there was some paranormal activities which occur at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. While spending time inside the prison showers, Aaron felt a presence there and in Building 5 they were able to bring what they believed to be Raymond Snowden out by holding a noose. He presumably appeared by grabbing Zak’s arm. There was even camera footage of a hooded shadow using an experimental piece of equipment, which was also believed to be Ray himself.
Some ghosts never leave the place of their death while some are able to move on to the other side. At the Old Idaho Penitentiary, some things were meant to stay behind those walls forever. If you do not see or hear the ghosts that roam Old Idaho Penitentiary on your visit, you are guaranteed to feel the energy that has lingered behind.