Sunday, July 15, 2018

Exploring The Ohio State Reformatory In Mansfield, Ohio

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

I love that quote.

Do you know where it comes from?

The Shawshank Redemption. I've always been a fan of the movie. It's based off a short story called Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. When I heard they filmed some scenes in the Ohio State Reformatory, I knew I wanted to go. We were in Ohio already visiting family, and it only was an hour away.

"Can we go, Tom?" I asked. "There might be ghosts!"

Yes, it's true. Ghost Adventures has even done a lockdown there.

Tom agreed, not because he likes ghosts, but because he enjoys The Shawshank Redemption.

I knew the reformatory was huge, but as you drive up, you're amazed by how huge it truly is. It spent 94 years as a working prison.







You can go through the arch and follow signs to get tickets. For self-guided tours, it's $12 per adult, students are $10 (ages 7-college), 6 and under are free. Seniors 60+ are $10 and there is a military discount where tickets are $10. (Show an ID card to get the discount at the window.)

Guided tours are just a bit more.




We opted to do a self-guided tour. You can do a guided tour and get more information, which is neat, but I didn't think I'd be able to get as many photos. Plus, if I was curious about something, isn't that was Siri and Google are for?

If you want to do a self-guided tour and want to know more about the rooms you see, you can get an audio wand. Sometimes Siri doesn't understand, after all.




You get to see an electric chair that was used, which was both spooky and intriguing.





I loved the pattern of the floor.

And yes, there will be signs of places where The Shawshank Redemption was filmed.






Hello Andy! What's up? If you dug your way out, who put the poster back up?



My kids were enthralled by the phones. "Look at these old things!" Natalie went.




The safe was in the movie! I pretended I was storing diamonds.



Andy is unimpressed with me.



The building is old (built between 1886-1910!) so yes, the paint is peeling, and some rooms are pretty sad looking. But they are restoring a lot of it. You can basically go anywhere you want in the reformatory unless there are signs or rooms blocked off. I didn't see a lot of those though. You pretty much have free reign with a self-guided tour. Not a lot of people were around us either, which was nice, so if you can, I recommend going during the week.







Hi Red!



This was the room where Red is hoping to be paroled. I thought it was neat that they had a script page from the scene. I tried to get my family to act it out, but everyone left me. I'd have made a fine Red.




Check the top part of the photo! Remember these words? (But poor Brooks!) This scene was really filmed in the prison, even though it takes place outside of the prison.






And here's the chair room. It's the only windowless room in the building. It's been said that there's an evil presence in there who doesn't like if you sit in the chair.

What did my kids do?




Sit in the chair. My son was like, "It's just a regular chair. I think this place is making up stories to make it more interesting."

Some people have claimed they've been pushed or scratched in the room if they sat in the chair.





It's so neat to walk down the different blocks. You can go into the cells.








Natalie thought it was funny to act possessed throughout our time. I'd look over and there she'd be.




I love history, so I could imagine the inmates walking around.




As I was imagining, my daughter was trying to freak me out.




Rows and rows and rows of cells.




There are dark spots, and naturally my kids wanted to explore. I was all, "I'll just stay in the light, thanks."




And there Natalie would be. Staring at me.




If you need to rest, there is a break room with vending machines:



There are also props from The Shawshank Redemption. Spoiler alert! Here's the tunnel that Andy climbed out of:




Here's the chapel!




Here's another dark room. Look at those hand prints. I was all, "Pass," and my kids walked into it.



Remember how I mentioned ghosts? Well, some people have said they've been scratched in this man's cell. Or that they've heard noises.

My kids naturally went into the cell, but weren't scratched and heard nothing strange.





Here's cell 13, the cell where an inmate set himself on fire:



The tour took us about 2 hours to finish.





I recommend it, especially if you like history. Not surprisingly, there are ghost tours, but you have to be 18, which my kids were offended over.

"We're not scared! We want to go on a ghost tour!" they protested.

They are braver than I am. I'd probably pee myself.

(Click here to learn more about the ghost tours. I'm told it's incredibly popular during September and October. Naturally.)

My daughter would probably do this throughout the ghost tour:



Don't forget to check out the gift shop! You'll find regular Ohio State Reformatory souvenirs, plus some from The Shawshank Redemption.




Also, don't forget to walk around outside.

There's this photo op near the front:




There's a gorgeous lake area where people were eating lunch. There is a small cafe inside the reformatory, but there isn't much of a selection.








So have you ever gone to the Ohio State Reformatory?

Or would you?

Have you seen The Shawshank Redemption? Are you ready to get busy living?









53 comments:

  1. Wow this place is so cool. And one of our favorite movies! Thanks for sharing, very cool looking back in history!

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  2. What a great way to spend the holidays and a great excursion ! The location is a but scary but as a photographer I would loooove to shoot on those grunge walls! What an incredible experience !

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  3. very cool, I think our family would enjoy a visit. Some of my kids are like me and love history and many of them like ghost and the such. I am with you on that I could pass on the haunt

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  4. I would love to visit this place! I remember watching that Ghost Adventures episode!

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  5. Oh how i adore exploring. its so innocent in nature, but gives you the most thrilling feeling! we should all take more time to explore the world with our own eyes instead of through a screen!

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  6. I really like to visit this place I like the photos!

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  7. All time fav movie. There is so much to learn from the movie. Great pics of this place. Looks like you had a good time.

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  8. I love old buildings since they look too haunted...haha! My thing for horror and adventure though. Anyway, it's nice that you've been where a movie was shot at, that sounds awesome already!

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  9. That looks like a really cool place to explore. The only old prison I've been to is Alcatraz!

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  10. Such great photos and information! This looks like it was a really cool trip, I would be really scared but intrigued by the history. Your kids did a great job!

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  11. Omg places like this freak me out a little but I can't say I wouldnt have tried sitting on the haunted chair too.

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  12. One of my all-time favorite movies! How awesome it would be to go there and visit where they made the movie.

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  13. This is so cool! I absolutely love Ghost Adventures and Shawshank Redemption! This was so fun to read and love the pictures! -Tonya Tardiff

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  14. At first I was like "This doesn't even look like a prison. It is way too beautiful" and then I saw it lol. Definitely cool.

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  15. I would TOTALLY take a tour during the day, but ghost tour... not so sure about.

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  16. So cool! Natalie seriously could freak people out. We’ve been to Alcatraz which was very neat. Bonus we saw Vanilla Ice (14 years ago). And we’ve been to the oldest jail in St. Augustine. So small, but security was tight. They said Alcatraz is based off them.

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  17. I just sent this post to my friend. Shawshank is her favorite movie. It looks like we are going to have to go on a road trip.

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  18. It's one of my five favorite movies, in fact! Oh man with Natalie acting possessed.. hilarious! And what does her shirt mean?
    Also, I would totally go sit in the chair.

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  19. That is both interesting and creepy, isn't it? I love the Shawshank Redemption. You're brave to visit!

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  20. What a beautiful building!! And wow! This is amazing!! I would love to go and check it out!! Love the pics of Natalie looking possessed!! HAHA

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  21. What a beautiful building on the outside, but wow so creepy inside! You guys are brave!

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  22. It seems a very interesting place to visit. I would love to go there with my family!

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  23. I am so jealous! This is my top haunt that I want to visit! So awesome!

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  24. I have never been in this place and it looks like a nice place to spend your holidays with your love ones, I am sure kids would also love to explore this place.

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  25. That was an amazing tour! I am a little scared of the rooms with ghost history though. Natalie is hilarious! I might freak out if I see her like that!

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  26. I would love to visit there, that sounds like a lot of fun. I want to go so bad now!

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  27. What a spooky looking place, I would love to explore! I wish we lived closer, maybe next time we head up north.

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  28. This place looks so creepy and awesome! My husband loves this stuff.

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  29. What an incredible building! This would be a lot of fun to explore!

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  30. This looks like such a cool place to visit! I'd love to go someday.

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  31. Omg, that place is so cool. So much interesting rooms to explore!

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  32. Wow that looks like such a gorgeous building! I would love to check that out someday! What a beautiful structure.

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  33. This looks so interesting and cool. I would love to explore it! Maybe one day if I make it to Ohio!

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  34. This is exactly the kind of tour I loooove. It is equal parts creepy and interesting. Plus, the movie is legendary. So, so cool.

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  35. What a cool post. This place looks amazing. I'd love to travel here. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  36. We've never been there. We've never visited any part of Ohio actually. But we love exploring historical places so I hope we get to visit that place someday and explore more of Ohio.

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  37. Wow it looks like a reformatory school from the outside of the building, I wouldn't expect a prison to have such a fancy exterior. What an interesting place to visit.

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  38. I think it is so spooky that it might possibly be haunted. I imagine it had a creepy feel to it in the hallways.

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  39. What a fun place to go visit, I know my family is weird because we would enjoy touring the prison. We did Alcatraz a few years ago so this is right up our must sees.

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  40. Oh my gosh I loved this post so much! I also love history, so this would be right up my alley. A few years ago, I visited Alcatraz and I had THE best time! It's so eerie and interesting all at once - I love it. I'm currently on a road trip to visit every US state, and I just added this place to my list!

    Also, I have to note: your kids are hilarious! They need their own TV show! :)

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  41. It looks like a very cool place to visit but I have to say it's a little creepy. I know a few family members who would really like to go here.

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  42. One of my favorite movies and I defiantly go on this tour for sure. I love looking at places like this. Looks like so much fun!!

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  43. Looks like a lot of history inside those rooms. I love touring old historical places like that.

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  44. This looks like an amazing place to get to go and explore, I think I would feel a bit overwhelmed in some ways by the way people would have been looked after and kept there though.

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  45. I often wonder why we outgrew our “curiousity” of things. I used to be like your kids, ever so strong. Now, you can’t even get me to watch ghost movies.

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  46. That was a pretty awesome tour! Glad to know you guys had a great time walking around and checking out the cells as well. Natalie is so brave, she's definitely braver than I am.

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  47. Wow! What an amazing place to tour and the perfect hands on history lesson for the kids. I can't get over how huge it is!

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  48. I love places like this! Seeing historical places in person is so much more interesting than reading about them. Love the SR features too.

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  49. What a great experience of our past! There is a similar tour in Jefferson City, Missouri if you are ever in the area. It gives me the same vibes you described here.

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  50. We have one like this in WV, it is haunted. This place looks creepy, I'd be scared to go in there lol.

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  51. Oh wow that is some place. I can see how it would be perfect for a movie. I love Stephen King so I have no idea how I missed the movie. I'd love to go exporing there.

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  52. This would be so cool! My family and I would love to see this place in person. It looks like your daughter does like my youngest! Hahaha. Too funny.

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  53. Pretty cool way to spend the day with the family. I've never been to this place in Ohio before! I think it's awesome that the kids get to learn so much!

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