Inspired by old German castles, architect Levi T. Scott designed Mansfield Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio in 1896 with the hopes that the institution would offer a spiritual uplift to the boys who were sent there for reform. However, by the mid 1900s, the Ohio correctional institute closed its doors and Mansfield Reformatory was left to rot.
Since its closure, rumours of the spirits of tortured inmates who died in the prison fill the halls with restless energy, unable to escape the prison's bars along with guilty guards also contribute to the stories of the haunted facility, as they remained trapped in the gruesome nightmare they created for the prisoners locked inside.
The most popular ghost stories of Mansfield Reformatory are from the follow areas within the prison complex:
Visitors and employees have reported experiencing strong paranormal events in the administration wing where Warden Glattke and his wife Helen resided. The story is Helen, while reaching for a box in the closet, knocked a gun off the shelf to the floor, causing a bullet to discharge into her chest. She was rushed to the Mansfield General Hospital where she died as a result of her injuries.
Rumours ran rampant that Warden Glattke was responsible for Helen's death, but there was never any proof to substantiate these claims. Ten years later Glattke suffered a heart attack and died at the same hospital where Helen died.
Some believe that Helen and Warden Glattke haunt the administration rooms to this day. The strong smell of Helen's rose perfume reportedly floats in and out of her pink bathroom. Visitors report felling a gush of cold air pass through them as the wander through this wing. It is not uncommon to hear of a jammed camera shutter, which mysteriously started working again once the visitor left the area.
Ted Glattke, the youngest son of Helen and Warden Glattke, has said that most of the information written about his parents haunting Mansfield Reformatory is based on sensationalism and inaccurate stories.
The Chapel is suspected of many paranormal events and some believe it is nucleus for much of the prison's haunting tales. Rumours that the Chapel was first an execution room, where inmates were tortured and died slow deaths while hanging from the rafters, may account for the many reported orbs photographed and the strange recordings some say they have captured in this area of the prison. Visitors have reported seeing spirits lingering near doorways, only to vanish once their presence is detected.
The infirmary where many prisoners died miserable deaths is known in paranormal circles to set off EMF detectors and claims of clusters of orbs have been captured in photographs. There have also been several reports from visitors that they have felt unexplained gushes of air pass by them.
The spirit of a 14-year-old who was beaten to death in the basement is said to linger in the dark crumbling hallways, which twist around the dark decaying basement. Also, the spirit of a former Reformatory employee named George is said to haunt the basement halls.
The Reformatory's library and a small inmate's graveyard are believed by some to be haunted. Visitors have reported seeing objects move in the graveyard and equipment failure is not uncommon in the library. Psychics visiting the library have reported seeing the spirit of a young woman, possibly Helen or a nurse who was killed by one of the prisoners.
Prisoners told of feeling someone tucking them in at night and it was rumoured that the ghost of Helen or the nurse would moved in and out of the cells, bringing a touch of comfort to the inmates with a simple tuck of a blanket.
Located in the basement of the prison, was a place where prisoners who broke the rules were kept in one of the 20 cells. Inmates would be kept in the dark, dank, roach-infested cells, with one or more inmates, with little to eat and no place of comfort to sleep.
Bread and water was the common meal with a lunch provided every three days. The stronger inmates would take the food from the weaker, leaving many to suffer hunger as well as other hardships.
Many prisoners died in the hole and some believe that their tortured spirits remain, prompting reports of negative paranormal energy in this area.
Visitors to this area sometimes leave after being overwhelmed with nausea. Others feel chills run through their bodies. The feeling of being watched whilst in the rooms and some have even reported seeing glowing eyes peering at them from dark corners.