If there was ever a place where a soul could find no escape even after death it would be a prison. Here are some of those places.
Captain Charles Gratiot (1788-1855) who built Fort Gratiot in Port Huron lent his name to the county seat for Ithaca, Michigan. Gratiot County established in 1856 welcomed settlers and farmers from New England. They built roads and government buildings. They didn't get around to building a jail until 1877. Different inmates spent time behind its walls as sheriff who lived with his family on the first floor. It succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1939. So who are the shadowy figures seen in the windows of this picture?
Old Joliet Prison, also known as the Joliet Correctional Center and originally known as the Illinois State Penitentiary, was built in 1858. At its peak, it held 1,300 prisoners. It closed in 2002.
During the 100 plus years it was open many brutal prisoners spent years, perhaps their entire lives behind its walls. Some existed there in obscurity, however there were others that became notorious.
Leopold and Loeb, were two wealthy students at the University of Chicago who in May 1924 kidnapped and murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago. They were eventually caught. On September 10, 1924, both Leopold and Loeb due to their youth were sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 99 years for the kidnapping. A little over a month later, Loeb's father died of heart failure. They were initially sent to Joliet to serve their sentence.
On January 28, 1936, Loeb was attacked by fellow inmate James Day with a straight razor in a shower room and died soon after in the prison hospital. Day claimed that Loeb had assaulted him. There were two versions of the motive for the killing, one in which Loeb propositioned Day, another in which Day attacked him after Loeb rebuffed him.
After 33 years and numerous unsuccessful parole petitions, Leopold was released in March 1958. He died on August 29, 1971, at the age of 66 from a heart attack.
Richard Speck raped, tortured and murdered eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital on the night of July 13, 1966. He was sentenced to death, but it was later overturned due to issues with jury selection at his trial. He died of a heart attack in 1991, after 25 years in prison.
In May 1996, Chicago television news anchor Bill Kurtis received video tapes made at Stateville Correctional Center in 1988 from an anonymous attorney. Showing them publicly for the first time before the Illinois state legislature, Kurtis pointed out the explicit scenes of sex, drug use, and money being passed around by prisoners, who seemingly had no fear of being caught; in the center was Speck, performing oral sex on another inmate, sharing a large quantity of cocaine with another inmate, parading in silk panties, sporting female-like breasts (allegedly grown using smuggled hormone treatments), and boasting, "If they only knew how much fun I was having, they'd turn me loose." The Illinois legislature packed the auditorium to view the two-hour video, but stopped the screening when the tape showed Speck performing oral sex on another man.
John Wayne Gacy (1942–1994) was a serial killer and pedophile known as the Killer Clown who assaulted and murdered at least 33 young men and boys (26 of whom were buried in the crawl space of his home, 6 remain unidentified). Gacy regularly performed at children's hospitals and charitable events as "Pogo the Clown" or "Patches the Clown".
In 1968 he was convicted of the sodomy of a teenage boy. He served only 18 months of a 10 year sentence. His first murder was in 1972, and 29 subsequent victims were killed after he divorced his second wife in 1976. He was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.
In 1949, when he was seven years old Gacy was molested by a family friend, a contractor who would take Gacy for rides in his truck and then fondle him.
In 1968, two doctors examined Gacy and diagnosed him with antisocial personality disorder (which incorporates constructs such as sociopathy and psychopathy), and that he was unlikely to benefit from any therapy.
In the 1970s he was active in local Democratic Party politics. He was photographed with Rosalyn Carter, and he can be seen wearing an "S" pin indicating he'd been given special clearance by the Secret Service.
Baby Face Nelson (AKA Lester Joseph Gillis 1908-1934) was an American bank robber who partnered with John Dillinger and helped him escape from prison in Indiana. He was responsible for killing more FBI agents than anyone else. They killed him in a shootout. His first arrest was on July 4, 1921 at age twelve, after accidentally shooting a playmate in the jaw with a pistol he found.
No doubt most prisons are infested with unquiet spirits, however I did not find any reports of specific prisoners who were still haunting where they once lived. All the paranormal groups or shows I came across describe interactions but no exact identification.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
We want you to feel at home when you post a comment on Stranger Than Fiction Stories. That’s why we reserve the right to delete comments and ban users as needed to keep the comment threads here civil and substantive. So read the guidelines below to make sure you are coloring inside the lines.
Do you have a story to tell?