Construction of the new penitentiary began on a cherry orchard just outside the City of Philadelphia in 1822. Its chosen design, created by a British-born architect named John Haviland, and was unlike any prison ever seen before: seven wings of individual cell-blocks radiating from a central hub. It took seven years to complete, and opened in 1829, with the institution proving itself as new technological marvel. With central heating, flushing toilets, and shower bathing within each of the private cells, the penitentiary boasted luxuries that not even President Andrew Jackson had enjoyed at the White House Charles Williams, a farmer sentenced to two years for theft, would become the very first inmate, with the number one. On October 23, 1829, Williams was escorted into the new prison with an eyeless hood placed over the top of his head. It was basically used to secure his anonymity and eventual integration into society when released. This was felt, so no one would recognize his face as the first inmate of the prison. Yet it also served another purpose: it ensured that there would be no chance at escape, as Williams, ever saw the prison beyond his own private cell. Communication with guards was done through a small feeding hole; with the inmates facing the opposite wall, in and effort ensure the inmates lived in complete and total isolation, with only a Bible in their possession. And occasionally, depending on their behavior, would be given chores, such as shoemaking or weaving, to occupy their time. Delegates from other prisons around the world came to study the famous Pennsylvania System. Alex de Tocqueville praised the concept, writing about his 1831 trip: "Can there be a combination more powerful for reformation than solitude...leads [a prisoner] through reflection to remorse, through religion to hope; makes him industrious by...idleness?" Prison wardens from all over the world agreed that this was by far, better than prison system currently being utilized, and within a few years more than 300 prisons throughout Europe, South America, Russia, China and Japan would adopt the prison reform model demonstrated at Eastern State Penitentiary. However, some were not so convinced of the new methodology. Charles Dickens in particular, after his visit in 1842 of the building, wrote quite critically: "I am persuaded that those who designed this system... do not know what it is they are doing... I hold the slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture the body could ever endure." Dickens' doubt would prevail, and his words echoed on until 1913, when Eastern State Penitentiary finally gave up on the practice of isolationism and penitence for absolution from society and God. Prisoners began sharing cells, working together, and even playing in organized sports together. Francis Dolan, a site managers for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historical Site, explains, "The solitary confinement system was nearly impossible to maintain given the technology of the early 19th century, and collapsed under the weight of its own lofty morals." And just like the jail on Walnut Street, the penitentiary, says Dolan, "was doomed by the rapid growth of Philadelphia." A building that was meant to originally hold only about 300 prisoners was, by the 1920s, forced to house over 2,000. Making it necessary to construct more and more cells, including some built below ground without windows, light or plumbing. Eventually, solitude wasn't about redemption, but became more about punishment. By the 1960s, Eastern State Penitentiary was decaying and falling apart, forcing it to close in 1971 by the State of Pennsylvania. Over the course of its 142 years, the penitentiary held well over 75,000 inmates, including the gangster Al Capone. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and opened as an historic museum in 1994. Today thousands of tourists visit the building and walk the hallways under the vaulted ceilings and high skylights of a neo-Gothic structure that once represented the moral ambitions of America's founding fathers and the some qualities of a 16th century French Prison. The Eastern State Penitentiary was built following the strict Quaker petitions of prison reform for spiritual reflection. To achieve repentance, the prison not only used total human isolation, seeing no one, not even jailers. The cell walls were 3 feet wide and blocked all outside sound. Prisoners were not allowed to send or receive mail, nor have any visitors. Inmates wore hoods when they rarely left their cells. It's no wonder that prisoners went insane before their sentence was complete. Prisoners were under lock and key for twenty-three hours a day, but for one single hour per day, they were allowed to leave the confinement of their cells. But only when a black hood was placed over their head so they could not see any of the other prisoners, and guided through various halls and stairwells before getting to either the outside pen, if they were very luck, or the interior walking room. Either way, they were always taken through a different path and by a different guard, as a precaution to keep interaction between inmates, or guards from occurring; which was strictly forbidden. In their desperate need for human interaction, prisoners would often tap on the pipes or whisper through vents to each other, however if caught, the penalty was often brutal. The inmate's lives were quite mundane; they were usually left to their thoughts for companionship. However, when they would be allowed outside their cell, they would often get a glimpse of sunlight through the skylights, and called it the 'Eye of God,' regardless of whether it was just a glint, or more, regardless, every second of sunlight was cherished. Since its closure visitors, employees and those researching paranormal activity have reportedly heard unexplained eerie sounds throughout the prison, day and night. It is said that anguished faces will occasionally appear on the cell wall, and a green glowing mist that appears to be distorted entity forms will pass through walls and swirl overhead in the high cathedral ceilings around the cell blocks, but most specifically cell block 15, death row. One dominating entity seemed to beckon the locksmith that was repairing a lock on the premises. The man's experience was so vivid, years after he would shudder in fear when he spoke of it. Today the penitentiary is opened to the public. In a typical year, and has had around two dozen paranormal investigations take place in various sections of the building, and according to Assistant Program Director Brett Bertolino, none of them ever leave without finding some type of evidence. The British television team of popular program Most Haunted traveled to Pennsylvania to do a special on the former state prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Opened in 1829 and abandoned in 1971, Eastern State Penitentiary was known for mental illness of its prisoners due to constant solitary confinement. Today it is a tourist attraction, partly for its purported hauntings by former prisoners, but are the stories true? Yvette, Karl, David and Ciarán were given one night, lasting a record seven hours, to find out. Don’t Have DivX? Click Here to Get it!

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