The Ohio State Reformatory or the Mansfield Reformatory is an eery and haunted abandoned prison if ever there was one. The prison was built between 1886 and 1910. It was used up until 1990 when it was closed because a Federal Court ordered it closed due to its inhumane conditions.

It has been a favorite for TV shows, movies, and music videos - notably including The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Some of the films shot there were filmed while the facility was still in operation. It is also regarded as one of the haunted places in the USA. For another haunted house built for the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles, check out the haunted Winchester House in California.


History Of The Ohio State Reformatory

The prison was shuttered by the federal court after a prisoner's class-action lawsuit decried the facility as being overcrowded and the conditions inhumane. It had meant to be shut in 1986 but was delayed for 4 years due to delays in constructing the replacement corrections facility.

  • Court Case: Boyd v. Denton

After closing, most of the grounds and supporting buildings were demolished (including the outer wall). In 1995 the remaining parts of the prison were transformed into a museum and they have worked to preserve the remaining buildings against further deterioration. Today the East Cell Block remains the largest free-standing steel cell block in the world.

Visiting The Ohio State Reformatory

Today the Ohio State Reformatory is open to visitors who wish to come and see its many years of haunted history. Note that opening times vary and there are more tours. See their website for up-to-date information.

As one visits this notorious prison, one will visit the cells that once contained some of the toughest criminals in American history. One can tour the intact set of the movie The Shawshank Redemption.

  • April 1 to September 2: 4 Days A Week 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • February 2 to March 31: Winter Tours On The Weekends
  • November 23 to December 23: Holiday Tours On The Weekends

The prison museum offers a range of guided tours where one can really appreciate the many stories this facility holds - there are a number of tours to choose from.

Self-Guided Tours

With this tour, one can explore at one's own pace. Learn about the history of the detention center as well as the many Hollywood movies filmed here and the haunted stories of paranormal activity.

  • Dates Available: September and October
  • Duration: Around 1.5 Hours
  • Adult: $25.00 (18 and Over)
  • Students: $23.00 (Aged 7-17)
  • Kids: $0.00 (Aged 6 and Under)

Note: Audio Wand Extra $5.00

Related: These Places Are Believed To Be Cursed (And You Couldn't Even Pay Us To Visit Them)

Guided Tours

Inmate Confessions Tour

The tour guide for this tour is Michael Humphrey who actually spent 14 months in the facility in the late 1960s. One can really get to learn about life behind the bars and hear all about his many personal stories that have stuck with him all these years.

  • Age Restriction: This Is Intended For A Mature Audience, Children Under 13 Are Not Permitted On The Tour

Beyond the Bars Tour

This tour takes one beyond the areas open to the general public. With this tour, one will see other parts of the Reformatory like the West Attic. Hear stories of inmate punishment and more.

  • Age Restriction: Restricted For Those Aged 8 And Over

Hollywood Meets History Tour

With this tour, explore the reformatory's actual history alongside the fictional story of Andy Dufresne from The Shankshaw Redemption. See information on the warden's living quarters and about other films shot on site.

Guided Tours Cost Summary (For The Guided Tours Listed Below)

  • Adult: $35.00 (18 and Over)
  • Students: $33.00 (Aged 7-17)
  • Kids: $0.00 (Aged 6 and Under)
  • Private Guided Tours: Starting At $300.00 Per Group

These tours are far from all that the prison has to offer it also hosts many events (see their event page here). And then there are the ghost hunts and paranormal activity tours. If in Rhode Island see the real-life haunted farmhouse from the movie The Conjuring.

Related: Haunted Arctic: These Stories Are Why It's Considered The Most Haunted Place On The Planet

Public Ghost Hunts

These ghost hunts are quite the hunt! Participants are split into three groups depending on their personal skills (beginners, intermediate, and advanced repeat visitors). One will seek to interact with entities or spirits while documenting encounters and using "ghost hunting" equipment.


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  • Time: Tour Depart At 7:10 pm
  • Food And Drink: Pizza, Soda, Coffee, And Hot Chocolate Are Available Throughout The Evening
  • Finish: Independent Investigations Go on Until 3.00 am
  • Highlight: Includes Access to The Warden's Bedroom Where His Wife Was Fatally Shot
  • When: On Select Fridays and Saturdays
  • Age Restriction: Must Be 18 Years Or Older

Visit their website and see more spooky and haunted tours of one of America's most forbidding facilities - one so bad that even the court ordered it shut.

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