Criminals, guards, and no privacy–these things make prisons inherently creepy. An empty, abandoned jail may have fewer convicts inside, but it’s somehow still disturbing. Crumbling, isolated cells hold a history of riots, harsh labor, and sometimes torture.
Abandoned prisons exist all around the world. Some have remained open as recently as 2011, while others were built in the seventh century. Some were former hospitals, and others grew into full communities. But all are creepy and fascinating to see abandoned. Keep reading to learn about these abandoned prisons and see some photographs.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, United States
In 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush–named the “father of American psychiatry”–declared that crime was a moral disease. His claims, and the high amount of crime in Philadelphia, led to the Eastern State Penitentiary. In the beginning, employees locked every prisoner in a solitary cell that they would never leave.
After the public expressed concerns, Eastern State switched from solitary confinement to community-based housing. However, the conditions didn’t get much better. In the 1920s, the prison held over 2,000 inmates, despite being designed to house 300. Eastern State Penitentiary closed in 1971, and it now remains open as a historic site.