While most college students head to the beach for spring break, I went to Canada ... and visited my first prison. While some people actually pay money to sleep at the Ottawa Jail, I preferred touring the location and learning about its haunting history.
My guided tour of the Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe was filled with lots of interesting stories and lots of usual sights.
Did you know, female inmates had televisions in their cells?
Did you know, a prisoner once tried to escape by stripping naked and buttering himself up to squeeze out one of the jail's very narrow windows, only to get caught midway out when a neighbor woman informed the warden that a naked man was hanging out a window?
Did you know, several of the infamous Molly Maguires hung to their deaths from the gallows in the main cell block (and their ghosts are occasionally seen hanging from the gallows to this day)?
Did you know, in Cell 17, there's a handprint on the wall that never disappears, despite efforts to clean, repaint and rebuild the wall? (The photo above is from Cell 17, but the Old Jail Museum no longer allows photographs of their chief attraction.)
Unfortunately, some of the older folks in my group missed out on parts of the tour - like going down into the dungeon to experience what it was like in one of the solitary confinement cells in the pitch dark! - because of all the stairs. No elevators here, folks - the Old Jail Museum has been kept as historically accurate as possible.
Any suggestions on the next jail I should visit?