We had a good scare going on last weekend at Mansfield’s Paranormal Penitentiary. There were monsters lurking about and creepy characters running around, and that was even before we got to go in the old Ohio State Reformatory, a place that’s said to be haunted, so much so, that the historical site even hosts regular Ghost Tours.


With a bit of Gothic architectural style, the reformatory was built in the late 1800’s as a place to house inmates and served as a men’s reformatory until December of 1990, when it closed its doors. It has been the site of many a movie, music video, and reportedly some paranormal activity ever since. Inside, its stone walls appear to rise forever, and the hallways seem endless, not to mention the rows and rows of tiny, unwelcoming block cells.


On the night we visited, however, the Halloween show was on with creatures popping out of every corner and stalking behind us in the dark, but we weren’t scared. Oh no, because we knew the event was created and presented by Hollywood FX master, Robert Kurtzman, who is known for his talent of realistic and artful special effects. Aptly named Paranormal Penitentiary, visitors daring to walk through got to encounter specially done effects and actors made up in costumes of mad scientists, nasty monsters, ghosts and goblins.

another-zombieWell, I’m pretty sure they were all actors. Because, you know, at times, they seemed so . . .  real. But I wasn’t scared.

In all it was about a 45 minute walk through dark stone halls, turning this way and that, going down stairs ending in a dungeon, shuffling through rooms, maybe a torture chamber or two, and most of the time I had no idea which direction I was going: back to the entrance, or – Gasp! – deeper into the point of no return. But I remembered the monsters were actors and I wasn’t scared.

We managed to make it out alive, back to the safety of the parking lot and to our car and as we drove away, I couldn’t help but think how realistic the special effects had been . . .

Yeah, I’m fairly certain all of them were actors. Really, I had a blast and I WAS NOT scared!

Happy Halloween!