Find us on Google+

Ohio State Penitentiary in Mansfield also Known as Shawshank

by cnkguy
Ohio State Penitentiary in Mansfield also Known as Shawshank

Ohio State Penitentiary in Mansfield

Ohio State's electric chair

Ohio State Penitentiary in Mansfield also Known as Shawshank

We all know the hit movie Shawshank Redemption but what about the real prison and what really happened there?

Well the movie was filmed at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Mansfield along with other movies such as Air Force One and Tango and Cash.

And now it become somewhat of a tourist attraction where 1000’s of people take the ‘Hollywood Tour’ every year as ghost hunting fans try and spot the real thing.

Having a dark history with many inmates meeting their end, either at the hands of fellow inmates, prison guards or the electric chair.

Opening up in 1886 and finally closing down in 1990 the prison saw over 200 inmates die, and it’s said that a few still walk the prison corridors day and night.

First use by the Union Army to train over 4,000 soldiers during the American Civil War, it was in 1876 that state officials decided to transform it into an institution where young, first-time offenders could be reformed.

Condition inside the prison were brutal with some inmates committed suicide by setting themselves on fire, others hanged themselves after suffering through windowless solitary confinement.

Others died in ‘accidents’ or attempted prison escapes, some were murdered in fights and some were supposedly killed by prison guards after being ‘tortured for their bad behavior’.

There is an old graveyard outside the prison walls with 215 numbered markers, one for each of the prisoners who died inside Ohio State Reformatory.

While there were many incidents over the 100 years it was open, it was in in 1948 that the worst one happened. According to prison records two inmates broke out on July 21, 1948, and abducted the superintendent John Niebel, his wife and 20-year-old daughter from the farm they lived on just outside the prison grounds and murdered them in a nearby cornfield.

The killers, Robert Daniels and John West, were quickly found and West was killed in the shoot-out. With Daniels being captures and he was put to death in the electric chair at the very prison he escaped from.

Two prison guards were also murdered inside the notorious prison. It was in November 1926, an inmate who was on parole returned and shot a 72-year-old guard just outside the gates in an unsuccessful attempt to help a friend escape. The shooter Philip Orleck was arrested two months later and fried in the prison’s electric chair.

It was during an attempted prison break in October 1932, that 48-year-old Frank Hanger was beaten to death with an iron bar. Prisoners Merrill Chandler and Chester Probaski were found guilty of his murder and executed in the chair sometime in 1935.

Ohio State was heavily criticized for being overcrowded. And it was in 1933 that a group of educators and prison experts described its conditions as a ‘disgrace’.

Ohio State Penitentiary in Mansfield

The anger towards Ohio State Prison peaked in 1978 when the Counsel for Human Dignity, a group of civic and church people, sued the prison on behalf of the 2,200 inmates still confined there.

The lawsuit was settled in 1983 with prison officials agreeing to improve conditions as well as to close down the cell blocks by December 31, 1986, which was extended to 1990.

It was the Ohio State’s stunning architecture that lured Hollywood directors to film portions of two movies there. ‘Harry and Walter Go to New York’ was shot there in 1975 and ‘Tango and Cash’ in 1989.




Posted in Ghost Tales and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.