An Encounter at OSR

The tale of an encounter at Mansfield's notoriously haunted Ohio State Reformatory.

We had the privilege of going [to the Ohio State Reformatory] in a small group of about 18-20 of us haunted house actors, as opposed to 100 people in the public hunts. Plus we got to screw around and scare the hell out of each other as well!

While we were there a couple of things happened. No bleeding walls or anything to that extent (dammit!), but enough to freak us out. The first thing was in a secondary basement, underneath the basement, in a secluded area that looked like it was for storage of documents (or everything just got thrown in there over the years). Here's the setup of the room for orientation purposes: standing in a doorway, coming from another room, and facing the far wall, there were a couple of windows on the left, (which lead to out back; the ground in the back dips down to meet a back exit from this basement) on the right side there was a cage-type structure about 5 feet from the right wall that ran from the far wall about 1/2 the length of the room. About all of us (18-20) were in there at the beginning, then most left and there were about six of us toward the back wall between the cage and other wall. A few of us had dowsing rods (that aid in locating "spirits" and other energies), and those started moving. Then a few of us felt this cold force of air kinda go back and forth around a five-foot radius only towards that back wall. There was one girl with us that it seemed to like in particular; it followed her while walking out of the basement. So we sat there, for a while letting this thing circle around us, watching the rods move, took a few pictures, and started heading back to the steps.

Once we were into the room immediately adjacent to this one, we all stopped, because the rods were moving again, and this coldness kept moving around us. We decided to turn out all our lights, to see if anything would happen. Again, mostly this coldness circling us, mainly that girl, who was fairly shaken by the time we got back upstairs. Off in the corner, to the left of the doorway we had to go back through, a couple of us saw a dim shape moving and also heard some noises come from that corner. Since this was the first contact of the night (or, for many, in their lives), it freaked us out enough to start heading back upstairs.

Another highlight, and this was very odd, was when we went above the smaller of the two huge cell blocks, where the library was and where they filmed the Rita Hayworth movie scene in Shawshank. Mind you, this place is fairly cool inside, it all of a sudden got real HOT and we were all sweating. Not that unusual, until my friend Mike all of a sudden got sick and started dry heaving. No clue what it was, but again, enough to make the seven of us (that's how many from out haunt group went) hurry back toward the lobby which was kinda "home base" of the night. It was also the only place in the whole prison that was lit.

A couple small things happened the rest of the night, including hearing footsteps coming up a boarded up stairway, and looking, only to find no one there. Also, we had walkie talkies, and didn't see anyone else with them, so we were walking from the cell blocks back down a main hall in the mansion part of it, and started hearing a crackle and a man's voice...then a crackle and this inhuman voice going "killkillkillkill" (not unlike Friday the 13th). Since both of the people in our group with the radios were present, we all freaked out and ran back to the front, couldn't find our way right away, but eventually made it there. The one guy hosting the night said that the radios usually don't work in there, so we were shitting at this point, while at the same time thinking how incredibly cool that was. About an hour later, we saw some of the other guys from another group and asked if they had radios as well, and told them why, and they started laughing their asses off, because they didn't know they were on the same channel.

The other main thing was at the end of the night, we went up to where the warden's wife was murdered. The one guy there said her presence had been strong all night in the adjoining bathroom, and that it smelled like perfume when you walked in. A small group of us went up there to try and take a photo of her. Upon entering the bathroom, the faint smell of a flowery perfume hit your nose. You could tell by the scent that it's not a recent kind of ladies perfume, and also the fact that it didn't smell musty and damp like the rest of the place. We sat there with the rods, which eventually started moving, which by the end of the night didn't freak us out anymore, except for the fact that this shiver kept going up and down my body when they'd move, which never happpened the whole night. Again, by this time it was almost daybreak, but I thought it was the coolest thing that happened to me because i could smell and feel what was in the room with us. My friend mike at one point felt something lightly grabbing him around his waist. So far, we haven't seen anything on the photos we took in the room, but there's a couple that haven't developed their film yet.

As long winded as that is, I hope that paints a picture of what OSR was like.

Here's the accompanying photo:

Do you see a face inside the circle? My thanks to Jeremy for the story and the picture.

Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society