History: When it was built in 1886, at a cost then of $1.3 million, the Ohio State Reformatory (also known as the Mansfield Reformatory) was the largest in America. It evolved into a state penitentiary over time, and housed over 150,000 individual residents, as many as 3,500 at a time, from death-row inmates to adolescent petty thieves, before closing in 1990. The state built a modern correctional facility next door, and began tearing down the reformatory, before being stopped by local preservationists. Efforts are underway to restore the building, and it is used occasionally as a film location and for ghost hunts. Portraits of Lenin and Stalin loom over the central guard room, left from the filming of a Harrison Ford feature film, Air Force One. Set dressings from the Shawshank Redemption are also visible inside.
Located at 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, Ohio 44905 419-522-2644
On November 6, 1950, Helen Glattke, the wife of the prison superintendent knocked down a loaded pistol off a closet shelf and shot herself through the left lung. The next day she died in the Mansfield hospital. In February 1959 the superintendent himself died from a heart attack in his office. An inmate hung himself in his cell in 1955 and another burned himself to death in his cell with turpentine and paint thinner stolen from the prison furniture shop. Two convicts were once left in a cramped single-occupancy solitary confinement cell overnight; in the morning only one walked out. The other was stuffed under the bunk. In 1957 a riot put 120 men into the 20 solitary cells for 30 day stints. There is also a bizarre story of a ghostly running man who has been seen. According to historical records it may be a former inmate who's throat was slit so badly that when he ran, his head literally bobbed from side to side gushing blood like a geyser as he tried to get to the washroom.
Hauntings: Numerous reports of shadowy figures have been seen and
recorded in various locations but mainly the East Cell Block and Solitary
Confinement. Sounds of prison doors slamming, screams of prisoners, footsteps on
the metal stairs and walkways, the ghost of the former warden’s wife killed by
a falling pistol has been encountered near the their living quarters, a ghostly
figure has been seen on Reformatory Road, people being scratched, equipment
manipulation, disembodied voices, numerous EVPs, cold spots and equipment
Cell 17 of the East Cell Block
was where James Lockhart committed suicide by dousing himself with paint thinner
and turpentine and then setting himself on fire. Prison guards and nearby
inmates claimed that after he was put out with fire extinguishers, the flesh
from his body fell off of him in chunks. This area today is location where many
investigators receive EVPs and encounter a very heavy feeling.
Other reports include shadow people, orbs, unusual mists, voices, slamming cell doors, batteries being completely drained, numerous EVPs and phantom footsteps.
The GRS investigated Mansfield Reformatory on July 20,
2017 and the team included: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Jim Piscopo, Michael Wright,
Greg, Kos and Dale Kaczmarek
Equipment setup: No Command Center was set up this time around;
instead all the investigators used either hand-held devices or set up IR cameras
and camcorders in remote areas with no live feed fed back to monitors.
Experiments performed: EVP sessions were conducted in the East
Shower Room, Solitary Confinement and Lockhart’s cell. While in Solitary we
used a REM Epod, Tri-Field Natural EM Meter, X-Cam SLS system as well as K-II
meters, digital recorders and cameras.
Greg Kos: After a very good tour of the cell blocks and all the
additional rooms including the upstairs of the Wardens house and the Chapel,
Stan and I decided where to set up our IR cameras. I set my IR camera at the
ground floor of the East cell block. My camera was aimed in the direction of the
infamous shower room. I had placed the IR camera around 30 yards from the corner
of the shower room. I recorded approximately 3.5 hours of film time.
My other equipment that I used
that night was my K-II meter EDI+ and my voice recorder. My EDI+ was left by my
IR camera but not within view. I have learned now not to keep it out of view of
the camera. I picked up no evidence with my K-II outside of the meeting room
upstairs of the Wardens house. I had no evidence on my voice recorder; however I
wish I could have picked up the footsteps that followed behind me on the 3rd
floor of the East cell block during a challenge that was made by our guide. The
challenge was to walk all the way around the 3rd floor with no light but we were
allowed to carry our voice recorders. This is when I heard the footsteps
following behind me.
When I finally reviewed my video
I saw what appears to be a head sticking through the bars. Below the head there
was a pair of hands hanging from the cross bar of the cell.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at
Mansfield and would consider doing two nights there. A great location even
though I'm not a fan of Shawshank!
Kathie Para: GRS members present for this investigation were Dale
Kaczmarek, Stan Suho, Jim Piscopo, Mike Wright, Greg Kos and me. We were also
joined by a few more investigators that we occasionally join up with. There were
a total of 13 of us in the building that night.
It is a massive building, so
unfortunately we couldn’t possibly begin to cover everything we wanted to.
Personally, I spent time in the following locations doing EVP sessions: Shower
room in the east cell block (I actually did two separate sessions there), first
floor of the east cellblock, the basement, the “chair” room on the third
floor and the residences on the third floor.
The cellblock areas are somewhat
unnerving, as if you are being watched the whole time. We got K-II activity in
response to questioning. We also heard unexplained noises.
We heard noises in the shower
room as well as a few relevant Ovilus responses.
One in particular was the word “column”, which popped out first
thing. There are a couple large Greek style columns in the middle of the room.
basement seemed mostly quiet, but after standing there a while I did get the
feeling of cobwebs on my legs. I was wearing shorts. At first I did nothing but
it soon felt as if the cobwebs were wrapping around my legs and climbing higher.
I then bent over to brush my legs and told Greg and Mike what I felt. I then
said to please touch Greg’s leg, since he also had shorts on. Greg then
started to get the same cobweb feeling surround his legs. There were no spider
webs or cobwebs to be seen in the basement. This was just another cool personal
I didn’t really get much
evidence anywhere on the third floor, although we did get responses with the
dowsing rods. But twice I got turned around and couldn’t find my way out (once
with Mike and then again with Mike and Greg.) It seemed every time Mike and I
realized we needed to turn around we would hear a noise. I tried not to panic
but honestly felt as if we were being led the wrong way at every turn. Kind of
crazy, I know but I really felt that we weren’t alone and someone was getting
a kick out of us wandering around or maybe playing with us!
Due to having issues with my
knee I didn’t get to explore as much as I would have like on the upper
cellblocks, which was disappointing. But I would most definitely go back and
investigate this great building again.
Pizza and soda along with a
couple of great tour guides a big plus!!
Piscopo: We arrived at the reformatory about
6:00pm. We were checked in and given a tour of the prison. We started setting up
about 8:00. I set up my Sony camcorder with night vision on the first floor
solitary confinement section.
set up we went to different sections to do EVP sessions. We investigated until
1:30am and then went up to the third floor guard tower for a challenge.
was completely voluntary. Each person had to walk thru a door that led to a
prison block and completely walk around the block and back to the starting
point. Only one person at a time in the dare with no flashlights or light of any
kind. It took between 4-7 min. to complete the task. When I went thru about half
way down the first hallway I thought I saw movement in a cell on my left. Two of
the halls were very log and started with very little light and then went to
total darkness. Just before I reached total darkness it looked like the hallway
was getting narrower and at the end I saw what appeared to be a white vail or
cape. It was a very interesting experience.
Stan Suho: Ah, my second
visit to this huge old prison. Walking problems kind of kept me confined to the
lower floors, but there was plenty to see and do. Because of the huge size of
the complex, I chose not to have a command post station. I teamed up with Greg
to do some IR video recordings. Greg set up at the far end of the left cell
block next to the shower room. I was at the opposite end of the cell block in
solitary. This consists of two wings with me in the left wing and Jim in the
right wing. I had the standard camera setup with a very sensitive microphone.
The microphone is important because Jim reported picking up a scream and cell
door banging shut. I did not pick them up although we were in the same building.
When the cameras were set up and recording to DVRs I went into my picture taking
mode. Thus progressed the evening.
Nothing to report
on my end, but Greg thinks he may have captured something, as well as Jim.
Dale Kaczmarek: The three locations I conducted sessions at were the
East Cellblock shower room, Solitary and James Lockhart’s Cell #17. I only
received one interesting sentence in the shower room which said, “I don’t
In Solitary the Ovilus X was
extremely talky in dictionary mode but did not answer any specific questions
posed. Two stick figures were observed and recorded. This session was attended
by James Piscopo, Jeannie Chilton, Susan Hartley and later Stan Suho. For brief
instant, a stick figure was seen sitting on the toilet but more interesting
after I made reference that there were two beautiful women sitting in the cell
block, I saw and recorded another stick figure that appeared to be masturbating!
Finally in Lockhart’s cell
which was a very heavy and unpleasant feeling, I received a very sharp pinch or
pain in my left shoulder. Chilton took a look and reported that I had a red mark
exactly where I experienced the pain. A subsequent picture was then taken. The
X-Cam SLS system and Ovilus X both died in this cell probably due to
interference from spirits or battery drain by them. We cut our session short
because the participants felt very uncomfortable.
Door slam mansfield17.MPG –
Piscopo’s IR camcorder stationed in Solitary picks up the sound of a door
slamming in the distance.
East cell block noise.MPG –
while conducting an EVP session in the shower room in the East Cell block, a
faint noise is heard and recorded.
I don’t like you mansfield17.
MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the men’s shower room in the
East Cell block, as soon as the Ovilus X was turned on in dictionary mode it
says, “I don’t like you.”
Loud bang mansfield17. MPG –
Piscopo’s static IR camcorder stationed in Solitary picks up the sound of a
loud bang in the distance.
Shower bang.MPG – while
conducting an EVP session in the shower room in the East Cell block, a loud bang
was heard and recorded.
Solitary1 mansfield17.MPG –
while conducting an EVP session in Solitary Confinement, I mentioned about two
women were in the prison cell. Almost immediately a stick figure shows up on the
X-Cam SLS system that appears to be masturbating.
Solitary2 mansfield17.MPG –
while conducting an Ovilus X session in Solitary Confinement, two stick figures
appear outside of the cell on the X-Cam SLS system and then one appears in the
cell next to Hartley that almost appears to be hanging from his neck for a few
seconds before disappearing.
Strange sound mansfield17.MPG
– Piscopo’s static IR camcorder stationed in Solitary picks up a strange
sound in the background that almost sounds like it says, “Hello.”
Strange sound2 mansfield17.MPG
– Piscopo’s static IR camcorders stationed in Solitary picks up another
strange sound or snap in the background.
Strange voice mansfield17.MPG
– Piscopo’s static IR camcorder stationed in Solitary picks up a strange
Whine mansfield17.MPG –
Piscopo’s static IR camcorder stationed in Solitary picks up a whining sound
in the background.
Conclusions: This visit to Mansfield was by far the quietest it’s
been ever. There were very few relevant EVP, Ghost Box or Ovilus X responses at
any location visited throughout the building. There were more reports of weird
feelings throughout the locations visited and, in some cases, very heavy
feelings that were never encountered during previous visits to the
Kos did apparently pick up something that resembled a human figure, head and hands poking through a cell near the men’s shower room in the East Cell Block, however due to the fact that it persisted for the entire length of the video, I would assume that it probably was due to something natural like matrixing, simulacra or even pareidolia. Also due to the low resolution and display on the camera’s field, it is more difficult to make out. I have placed it on this report and circled it for better viewing. You be the judge.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
© 2017 Dale Kaczmarek. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Dale Kaczmarek