Last weekend Brad and I went with our friend Ben to the Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe! If you're unfamiliar with the Carbon County Jail, it has an incredibly mysterious history and provides regular tours throughout the year, recanting the tale of four of the Molly Maguires, a secret society of Irish immigrants, who were held in the jail until their hangings in 1877. The men were tried for the murders of two local coal mine operators, but one man in particular, Alexander Campbell, is known for his unique proclamation of innocence. Before he was hanged, Campbell is said to have placed his hand in the dirt in his cell and to have firmly pressed it to the wall, stating that as long as he is innocent, his handprint will remain. Today, despite alleged attempts to wash or plaster over the wall, the handprint is still visible in cell 17.
During the Fall season, however, the jail hosts their Halloween tours after dark! In addition to learning the peculiar murder mystery behind the prison, the tour guides recant several stories of paranormal experiences had by staff members and visitors.
At the end of the main hall sits a reproduction of the gallows in the very place that the four men were put to death. There have been many alleged paranormal encounters in this room, including sightings of a woman in a white dress by several tourists, who the staff members believe to be the wife of one of the Molly Maguires.
On the upper floor of the main hall, a visitor claimed to have experienced the sensation of walking into an invisible wall. He frantically ran down the stairs and attempted to approach the same area of the second floor from the opposite side, only to be stopped once again by another unseen boundary.
During the tour, visitors were encouraged to explore the cells and take pictures. The only cell we were unable to photograph is cell 17, the one with the mysterious handprint, which we were only able to view through an opening in the cell door.
The last three photos were taken in the dungeon, which I found to be the eeriest part of the jail. The door in the image below is reported to be continually found wide open, despite all attempts by the staff to leave it closed.
The following picture was taken by Brad through the window of the door above. Although blurry, I included it because of the apparent orbs that can be seen floating just above the floor. Ben tends to believe that orbs captured in photographs may very well just be specks of dust illuminated by the flash of a camera, but they are an interesting phenomenon to consider, nonetheless.
Brad took this photo of Ben and me from within one of the dungeon cells!
While we didn't have any personal paranormal encounters, it was still tons of fun to take a tour of the jail and learn all about its history. I'd still love to come back and visit during the more intimate daytime tour! Have you ever been to a haunted attraction?