Ghost Hunters Wiki
Eastern State Penitentiary
Season 1, Episode 5
S01 e105
Air Date November 3, 2004
Location Philadelphia, PA
Episode Guide
Race Rock Lighthouse
The Converted Church

Eastern State Penitentiary is the fifth episode of the first season of Ghost Hunters.


The team searches for spirits behind bars as they investigate a ghost that allegedly harassed Al Capone in jail.[1]


Eastern State Penitentiary, built as an imposing fortress with 30-foot-high walls and an gothic architecture[2], opened on October 25, 1829, and became known for its "individual-treatment system", which went to great lengths to separate prisoners in individual cells almost to a state of near isolation. At the time this form of punishment was thought to be most effective. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965 six years before closing, and now operates as a museum.

Other facts mentioned in the episode was about 80,000 men and women having been housed in the penitentiary, with the death row inmates being among the most violent that they were given their own courtyard.

Despite having been built an almost two hundred years ago, it wasn't until as early as the 1940s that officers and inmates reported mysterious visions and eerie experiences in the ancient prison.[3] After the Ghost Hunters investigation, the prison gained the reputation for one of the most haunted locations in the country.


The team arrives to Eastern State, an historic landmark where ghostly apparitions have been reported. They are greeted by Bob Olson, a guide at the location who gives them the tour. Featured stops include cellblock 4 and famed gangster Al Capone's lavish cell, reportedly allowed for stopping a fight and/or donating money to the prison. The program manager states having heard ghostly footsteps when alone, and being told of instances where people have seen a shadow come out of cellblock #12 on the second floor and simply stand there. More stops include the circular center of the building and death row, where the locksmith sensed something behind him and saw a shadow next to the fortress wall.

Steve and Sherri begin feeling cold sensations, though Steve blames it on an open door. Carl later places a cassette player in cellblock 4 in the hopes of catching EVPs. Immediately afterwards, while in cellblock 4, cameraman Dave Hobbes gets spooked by a "shoulder-to-head black shadow" that darted in front of him and runs out with Brian Harnois, whom Jason and Grant later accuse of being "non-professional". Brian, tired of Jason's remarks of him being a sissy, walks out but is coached into a second attempt in cellblock #4 by Grant.

After discovering the footage of the moving shape, plus doubts given a frame looks like a shoe and a pantsleg, convinces Jason, Grant and the team to return for two nights to see whether they can disprove the evidence before putting TAPS' reputation on the line.

In death row, Steve, Brian and Sherri get six consecutive pictures of a mist-like anomaly down a locked hallway before it moves, until they find it again. When the team returns to their Command Central, Brian Bell (left in charge of the monitors by Grant) is nowhere to be found. Brian (Harnois) finds him outside, claiming he went to wash his hands but is suspected of flirting with some women in the gym out front. The next morning, he arrives late to the meeting at breakfast.


Back at TAPS headquarters, incredible footage from cellblock 12 shows a moving, shadowy hape that corresponds to stories of a ghost-prisoner in the corridor. Steve initially remarks it looks like something is at first crawling to the camera before standing up, while Grant says something is definitely forming but suddenly bolts down the hallway.

Using a thermal-imaging camera, Jason and Grant disprove the cameraman's "shadow" as a reflection. They also disprove Brian's capturing of a mist/orb on camera, but can't explain an instance in cellblock #12 where the thermo imaging camera briefly lit up green, indicating something warm passed through it.

But in cellblock #12, for the first time in a long time, the two comrades experience the same sensations and see the same moving shapes while together.

Their inability to replicate the walking shape through physical means convinces Jason that the prison is haunted. He believes skeptics will find a way to disprove this, so he and Grant put the footage on the TAPS Web site so the world can decide.


Eastern State Penitentiary Shadow



  • Brian Bell only participated in the "re-Investigation".
  • The video capturing the anomaly in cellblock #2's hallway was cleaned up to clarify the shape being more solid than previously-thought.