The Old Jail

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I’ve been to the Carbon County jail in Jim Thorpe multiple times for field trips and tours. My sister had been there once for a Girl Scouts trip. She had just seen a female ghost, but I had a much bigger experience. Unlike other times, I was fully expecting to see something paranormal. It was more of a sensation than sight though.

While we were taking a tour, my girlfriend kept telling me to stop stroking her hair and poking her. I had to repeatedly insist that i wasn’t doing anything. As much as I liked her, poking and stroking were still off-limits at the time. Anyway, as we continued to walk, I kept getting cold chills and my other friend with us kept saying he saw shadows. My girlfriend kept insisting she saw eyes peering out from the darkness. While the guide explained what happened at the gallows, my girlfriend snapped a picture with her flash, since it was almost pitch-black. When she looked at her screen (it was a digital camera), all we saw was a black square. “That’s weird.” she said. “How did I get a negative if I used flash in darkness?” I didn’t have an answer and neither did my friend. I thought I saw something skitter into a cell, and figured it was just a mouse.

When we got to the hall with the famous “Handprint on the Wall” in one of the cells, I started getting chills again. I turned to my girlfriend to mention it, but saw she was green. I asked her “Are you feeling okay?” She just shook her head and told me she felt nauseous. I assured her it was just lunch not agreeing with her. As we continued walking, I swore I could hear a voice say “Bring me freedom.” I asked the other 2 if they heard that, but both of them said they didn’t hear anything. I’ll never forget the final incident at Cell 17.

Cell 17 is the cell with the hand print that was left by a convicted member of the Molly Maguires. Before he was hung, he had rubbed his hand on the dirty floor, then said his hand print would remain as a sign of his innocence. He was hung anyway and the guide explained how washing, painting, and even plastering couldn’t keep it away. 24 to 48 hours, boom. It would be there again. It was blocked off, so we only got a peek. My friend isn’t very sensitive, but when the guide said the handprint was likely the print of Thomas Fischer, my friend and a guy in the front both countered that statement. The man said “I’ll bet you anything it’s the print of Charles Sharpe!” My friend said “Sorry, but the man standing next to me said it’s Michael Doyle. However, he liked being called Mickey.” I turned around to tell my friend to be more polite and saw there was NO ONE there beside him! It turns out that he was one of many people who said the print belonged to Michael with clear conviction. I don’t know if he was taking a guess or did hear that from a ghost.

I plan to go back someday for a Halloween Tour and plan to bring a camera with me as well. Who knows? If I get a ghost on film in 17, maybe a photo of the convicted men can be matched to the specter. Then, we’ll know for sure who the print belongs to. Fischer? Sharpe? Doyle? I would really like to know myself.

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