– So, here we are, the road to Ohio State Reformatory. – Another prison for the boys. They’re openin’ up the prison for us. – We’re here to find some ghosts, and this looks like a place we’ll find them. (howl) (eerie music) ^This week on Buzzfeed Unsolved we investigate ^Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio ^as part of our ongoing investigation into the question are ghosts real? This enormous prison was notorious for violence and poor conditions, and is considered one of the most haunted places in the US. Right now we’re sitting in a holding cell. This is where people would go before they were sent off to whatever block they were gonna go. – Very appropriate as we’re about to dive into the belly of the beast. – Yeah, let’s get into it. Opening on September 15, 1896 Ohio State Reformatory was constructed in Mansfield, Ohio on top of the former site of a Union Army training ground in the Civil War. At current day, the main building of the reformatory has a gargantuan footprint of 250,000 square feet. In fact, the six story East Cell Block containing 600 cells is the largest freestanding steel cellblock in the world. ^The architecture, conceived by architect Levi T. Scofield, ^is gothic in nature, invoking the feeling of castles. ^Conditions inside of the prison mixed with the design would earn the reformatory the unaffectionate nickname of quote, Dracula’s Castle, end quote. This is the administrative building. That’s why everything is so nice. – I was gonna say, it’s beautiful tile work. Air Force One? They filmed Air Force One here? Air Force One actually, now that I think of it, remember the reason they hijacked the plane is to release for the- – I’m gonna go ahead and cut you off right there ’cause I don’t give a shit. We’re gonna move over here. – Okay. – Now, here’s an appropriate movie reference. I haven’t even seen Shawshank, but I know those steps. – [Shane] Oh, so you can make movie references? – [Ryan] But, that’s because it’s very visual. Look at it! – Well, there’s no plaque here for that. There was a plaque for the Air Force One thing. – Well, ’cause you don’t need a plaque. You’re like, “Yeah, those are the stairs from Shawshank.” – Unbelievable. Whoa! Yeah, they keep going. – [Ryan] Wow. – [Shane] You’re quite taken with these. – I mean, I get it. It’s this weird juxtaposition. Dracula’s Castle, perhaps appropriate. – [Shane] Not all that, yeah. Ooh, some nice exposed brick here. – Yeah, but it’s tasteful. – Yeah. – [Ryan] The reformatory began with good intentions, ^as it was meant to be a place where first-time offenders ^and minor criminals would come ^to literally reform themselves. There was a school, a gym, industrial training areas to teach the inmates a trade, and regular chapel service. However, as funds diminished and the need for prison space escalated, ^the reformatory eventually became overcrowded, ^sometimes stuffing four inmates to a cell, ^and the facilities fell into disrepair. To make matters worse, the prison was no longer exclusive to minor offenders, ^and eventually became a maximum-security prison ^taking in hardened and violent criminals. – [Shane] Four people in a cell, that’s a lot. – [Ryan] I mean, you put any normal people in a room that’s too small. If you’re in a dorm in college, if you hate your roommate- – [Shane] It’s tough business. – [Ryan] Listening to music too loud when I’m trying to study, cooking Top Ramen in the microwave when I’m trying to sleep. – You got some axes to grind? – No. Fuck you, Roland. – Roland! – [Ryan] As the population increased and the conditions worsened, mistreatment from guards became commonplace. ^For instance, as early as July 15, 1898 ^a story ran in the New York Times ^stating 45 prisoners were hung by their thumbs after going on a strike because they no longer had access to tobacco. ^They were also given only one meal a day as punishment. – [Shane] Hung by their thumbs? Why? (Ryan laughs) Why would you do that? – [Ryan] They wouldn’t shut up. – [Shane] It doesn’t sound like the worst possible thing to do to someone. – [Ryan] Oh, it does to me. – Wouldn’t they just pop right out of the sockets? Oh, I don’t like that one bit. – If they hung me by my thumbs I’d be pretty upset. – Well again, it’s not the worst thing you could do. They could give you a paddle to the bottom or whatever. – You would rather be hung by your thumbs than take a little spanking? – It could be a big big paddle. – Did you not get spanked when you were a kid? – No. – That makes a lot of sense actually. (distant thudding) What the fuck is all I have to say to that. – They didn’t like the thumb talk. – You didn’t like the thumb talk? Was it too much thumb talk? I thought we went about two minutes long on the- (distant thudding) – They don’t like the thumb talk. (Shane laughs) – Holy fuck. Holy fuck, holy fuck. If you’re one of the people that had that thumb thing happen to you, that sucks. What was it like? – What do you think you’re gonna get right now? – I feel like we should go see what that is, to be honest. – [Shane] We’re walking over to the source of the disturbance. – [Ryan] But, there was two. – [Shane] It’s not that. – It wasn’t that. Hello? I’m gonna lose my mind. So, it did that twice within the span of 10 seconds but nothing else? – But, we can confirm that it did sound like this right? – [Ryan] Yeah. – That was the sound. – [Ryan] Do you think the wind’s gonna do that twice? – Not moving. – [Ryan] Well, shit. – Hopefully we find some good stuff tonight. (soft rustling) – This is gonna be all night. All right. (distant thudding) Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? – [Shane] Now there is a lot of wind moving through now. – [Ryan] Who is it? Shut up! Who is it? – It did happen right as the wind picked up. You did notice that? – [Ryan] But, now it came from over here. – There it is. It’s that. There’s a logical explanation for you. – [Ryan] Okay, there it is. There you go, there you go. – But, if we hadn’t seen that… – [Ryan] If we hadn’t seen that then you would have been fooled. – [Shane] No, we wouldn’t have been fooled. You would have been telling me for months. – [Ryan] The conditions inside the reformatory ^eventually led to the prison being shut down permanently ^in 1990. ^During it’s time as a working prison, ^these walls played home to 154,000 inmates, ^some of whom never walked out. Whether it was violence or disease, ^at least 215 perished during their time at the reformatory ^and at least one guard was killed by inmates. So, this is the East Cell Block. This is the bigger of the two blocks inside this whole joint. – [Shane] I mean, this is classic prison I guess. – Yes, it is. – [Shane] Let’s not go past this. What are you doing? – What do you mean? – [Shane] You’re going pact the chain. – Well, we’re gonna investigate it. – [Shane] Oh, all right. – Good lord. This is the largest standing steel cell block in the world. – Really something. That’s a lot of metal. – It is a lot of metal. – A lot of men. I’m hearing a lot of little noises. – [Ryan] Yeah, I am too. – [Shane] What do you suppose those are? – I don’t know. I can certainly see how one would lose their mind in a situation like this. – [Shane] Yeah, this looks pleasant. – [Ryan] Fuck this so hard, dude. This is fucking terrible. – [Shane] It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to be here. – [Ryan] We are high up, we are on the top of the world. – [Shane] I don’t know if you can see right now. Oh, you can’t see. – Well, I have the thermal up. We’re gonna get some motion lights up here. We’re gonna have a real party up here on this sixth floor. Let’s party, baby. – [Shane] There he goes. – [Ryan] Hello? – [Shane] There he goes all by himself. – [Ryan] I’m separating from the group. – [Shane] It’s the ideal time to kill him. – [Ryan] Yeah I mean, if I were gonna die on camera it would be a pretty noble thing. Future ghost hunters would be like, “This is the spot where Ryan Bergara got murked.” Oh my god, this keeps stretching. – I don’t understand what’s wrong with Ryan sometimes. – [Ryan] What was that? – [Shane] I didn’t say anything. – [Ryan] You sure you didn’t say anything, Shane? – Now go back and set ’em off to make sure they work. – [Ryan] I got a better idea. Why don’t you go fuck yourself and I won’t do that? – [Shane] All right. – So, if there’s anything on this sixth tier on the south side, just walk towards our voice. – If you turn on those lights you’ll go to heaven. – Okay, now see that’s taking it too far. While some deaths were the results of violence from other inmates, other deaths were self inflicted. It’s said that on inmate names James Lockhart covered himself in turpentine stolen from the prison furniture shop and set himself on fire in his cell. ^James’ spirit is considered one of the more violent ^within the prison. 16, 15, 14, 13. All right. Coming in, James. Okay, okay, okay. Fuck. – It’s tight. It’s a tight squeeze. We can barely move around in here right now just the two of us. – This is insane. Could you imagine
– Yeah, this is very tight. – living in here with four? – That’s crazy. – James, I get it. I just want to say that up front. If I had to be trapped in here, even if it was only for 15 years, too much. – He was 22 when he set himself on fire? He had been in here since he was seven? – What? – He was trapped in here for 15 years? – No, no. His sentence was 15 years. – I see. – It’s said that other people walked by, like the guards walking in over here, seeing a man trapped in here on fire. – I mean, it was probably gruesome. – Yeah, just Jesus Christ. I’m gonna turn something on that may help you talk to us. – No. Even to James you’re gonna do this. – Yeah, I’m gonna do this to James. – Sorry, James. (machine static) – All right James, I don’t think I properly introduced myself before. I’m Ryan, that’s Shane. Can you say any of our names back to us? – Thermopoly? – I don’t know what the fuck that was. – [Shane] Monopoly? – James, are you in here? ^That’s classical music, huh? What? – Say that again. – This is your last chance. Use the energy that this is giving off to say something. I’m turning it off. Well James, we’re gonna leave your cell here, but before we leave once again sorry what happened to you happened to you. Pretty awful. – May you know peace. – [Ryan] Another less graphic death that occurred in the prison happened in the warden’s living quarters. ^On November 5, 1950, Helen Glattke, ^the wife to the reformatory’s superintendent was attempting to grab a jewelry box from a shelf in her closet when she accidentally knocked down a handgun. The handgun hit the floor and discharged, shooting Helen in the chest, resulting in Helen’s death a couple days later. Visitors to the living quarters report smelling her prominent rose scented perfume and catching glimpses of her walking into her pink bathroom. All right, so this is the second floor. It’s up here where Helen’s living quarters were, as well as her two sons. – [Shane] Seems like a fun place to grow up if you’re a child. – You have a very different definition of fun. We hear you have a very lovely rose scented perfume. We’d love to smell it. – [Shane] We’d love to smell it. – Why don’t we close our eyes and smell? You know, heighten our sense of smell and see if we can smell any kind of perfume. You too. – Yeah, I’m happy to. – You ready? You need to back up from me. I could feel your air intake. It’s like a gross nasal jet, I don’t know. It smells like old wood. – Yeah, I was gonna say old wood, rotting plaster. – Well Helen, if you aren’t here or if you are here we sure can’t smell you which is a weird sentence to say. – We can’t smell ya, Helen. Or, if you’re a little busy right now we can always smell ya later. (Shane laughs) Smell you later. – Oh, are you back? We’re gonna do an investigation now. – Yeah. – Okay. One room that is particularly active and mysterious in nature is a room on the third floor of the administration building, referred to as the chair room. The room which is one of the only rooms in the reformatory without windows has a single chair sitting in the center of it. Paranormal investigators claim that when the chair is moved from the center of the room, the chair will return to the center of the room on its own. One investigator even claimed to be pushed and scratched by the entity in this room. And, as the name would suggest I present to you the chair. – This chair looks fucking stupid in the middle of the room. – I actually think it looks rather nice. I like what you’ve done with the place. It really sets the room right. – Oh we disagree, and I’m the guy who’s gonna move it. – Hey, don’t move the fucking chair. Hey, I tried to stop him. Seriously, that’s just rude. You’re gonna come into his room or its room, whatever is in this room. I’m sorry. We’re from California. Don’t let this be representative of all Californians. – We’re the Hollywood elite. I don’t think you’re strong enough to move it back, whoever you are. Are you even human? Are you maybe a demon? Whoever’s here, move that chair back. That’s not the center of the room at all. Move it back! I’ll stand right over here. You can throw it right at me if you want. Move that chair. Move it! – He’s gonna take your chair. He’s gonna take it outside, he’s gonna spread his butt checks, and he’s gonna lay a fat turd right all over the center of it. – I didn’t… Sure, yep. – I’m painting a vivid image. – Very vivid. Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do, and I’m gonna take photos of it and put it on Instagram. – How about this? If whatever’s in here moves this chair back to the center we won’t do anything to the chair. We’ll leave it alone. Sound like a fair deal? – Yeah, sounds like a fair deal. – You see that? He said if you move it back, he won’t mess with it. (eerie music) Look. – [Shane] Tough season for the Boo-garas. – No, no, no wait a second. You realize this happening would be incredible right now. – Yeah, it would be. It certainly would be un-boring. – One thing that also happens in this room is people get scratched if they get a little too rambunctious. – Scratch me! That’s what I’m here for. I’m here for the scratches. I keep forgetting. – I don’t really think you’re actually giving it your all. – What do want? Scratch me, asshole! – There we go. He’s back. – Go on, scratch me up, make me bleed! – The Shane-iac is back, baby. – Scratch my heart! Scratch up my insides.
– Holy shit, yeah. – Give me internal bleeding. Make me shit blood. How about that? – He’s getting medical. – Latch yourself onto my soul, come back to Hollywood with me, and destroy the lives of all my friends and coworkers. – A little hard to follow, but I like where you’re going. – Ryan’s family has a little dog named Mickey. – Hey! – Real good. You wanted me to give it my all. I’m throwing stuff on the table. – Insults, not personal information. You’re giving him a dossier on my life. – You know, this was supposed to be the season of respecting ghosts and every time I’ve tried to do that you yell at me to disrespect them. – I’m telling you to be true to who you are. – I mean, that is certainly valid. (Ryan laughs) I am living a lie otherwise because we’re talking to air! – [Ryan] The chapel is also an active area of the reformatory. There are rumors of the chapel being used as a place of executions prior to becoming a chapel, and ghosts are known to grab people who attempt to leave. We’re coming up! – This would be a good place, though? – This should be. Then again, you would also think that spirits who are hanging out in the chapel are mocking things maybe. I don’t know. – Yeah, but Jesus… Is Jesus here? – [Ryan] I have no idea. At this moment, our audio recorder picks up a voice saying, “I am not.” – Is Jesus here? ^- I have no idea. (Shane laughs) – What? – Well, clearly he is. – I guess. That’s the only way it makes sense.
– Is Jesus sneaky? – Yeah, ’cause he says I. He’s answering. – I’m not here. I’m not here. – It’s either that or it’s the devil. I don’t know. – But, then Jesus is the devil? Is that your stance? – What I’m saying it’s the devil pretending to be Jesus. He’s playing a little game. – But, then he would say, “I am here. “It’s me, Jesus.” – That’s true, I guess it doesn’t really… You know what it is? I’m unnerved by something answering a question about Jesus that’s a ghost hanging out in a chapel for some reason which seems like a weird place for someone to spend if they’re trapped for eternity. – I don’t know. I chalk it up to the usuals. – I think it’s pretty clear. – Chalk it up to the usuals. That’s my new go-to answer. – Okay, well I think it’s a pretty clear voice, and it answered your question in a little tricky way, but intelligently. – I am not. Holy moly. This is quite a room. – I mean, it is a chapel. I got to say, for a prison chapel I did not expect it to be this expansive. (Shane sings) Should we harmonize? (both sing) – That wasn’t bad. – All right, my name’s Ryan, that’s Shane. – And, we’re here to make a connection with you. We want you to feel comfortable and safe when you reach out to us, so please know that we are very nonjudgmental, we don’t care about what crimes you’ve committed. – This is a place of worship and forgiveness. – And, we respect you. – It must be lonely. If you don’t want us to leave, you should say something now. – This place sucks. – You could go home with him. He’ll break you out of this joint. – Hop on me. I’ll give you a little piggyback ride all the way home to sunny Los Angeles. – Last chance. What’s your name? (distant rattling) Is that muffled conversation? – [Shane] It’s very peculiar. – [Ryan] Where’s it coming from? Oh, I see it. There’s a bird right there. – [Shane] Oh, there’s a bunch of there. Hey, bros. – [Ryan] That is one big pile of shit. – [Shane] Hey. – [Ryan] When it comes to guards with a pension for doling out punishment, our last location is perhaps the darkest, a place referred to as the Hole. The Hole was the name given to the solitary confinement cellblock of the prison. This block was reserved for those being punished. ^Legend has it that in the late 1930s ^as punishment for a riot, 120 prisoners were forced to shove themselves into the 12 solitary confinement cells for a week without food. This incident reportedly resulted in madness and some deaths. Reportedly horrifying happenings occurred in the Hole, including an inmate hanging himself, a guard being killed by inmates, an inmate lighting himself on fire, one instance where two inmates entered the hole together and only one walked out with the other being discovered dead, his body stuffed under the bunk. In other words, this is a rather horrible place, and as with most horrible places we’ll investigate it individually. – We’re gonna do that thing where I go first and you go second, and that’ll be fun for you because you get to build up the anticipation and get very scared. – Yeah, really good. – While I just walk around and probably won’t take it very seriously. – [Ryan] Goodbye. – Goodbye. (ominous music) If there’s anyone here, my name’s Shane, and I’d like to talk to you. I have a microphone in my pocket, and if you put your lips real close to it and whisper something, my friend will have proved that ghosts are real. – How did it come to this? I really do wonder sometimes how did I end up in this spot, walking through solitary confinement by myself in the middle of the night in a haunted prison? Is this what I wanted from life? I don’t think it is. – Please try to say something intelligent and coherent. Say, “I don’t like the food here,” or, “This is a bad time for me,” or, “Could you please stop talking?” Something. I’m gonna give you the floor now. You know what? For the hell of it, I’m gonna turn out my light. It’s just gonna be pitch black here in a prison. Here we go. – You know, I didn’t walk down West Cell Block. (Ryan humming) – Here’s a nice thing. Somebody looks like they beat the shit out of this. Not sure what that is. Ew, yowza. Now these appear to be the solitary rooms, I think ’cause they have those tiny little doors on ’em. I’m gonna jump into one of these, feel out the space. (Shane groans) I’m going to be quiet now. If you’re a ghost, reach out to me, communicate. I welcome your thoughts. I respect you because that’s what I’m doing this season or at least attempting to do. Here I go. I’m gonna be quiet now. Let her rip. – It’s nice over here, I like it. (high pitched whistling) if that’s somebody up there, make that noise again in your cell. (Ryan laughs) I fucking hate this place. I really do. – But, it’s got some charm. I’m not even kidding about that. – [Ryan] Time to face the music. Let’s send the Ry guy to the Hole. – [Shane] Very scary, the things you said to me. I don’t know if my friend Ryan is gonna respond quite so well. – You do know I hate you, right? – It’s pretty spooky. I sat in one of the solitary cells and just really… I tried to put myself in their shoes, and I think I learned a little bit. – Wow. I hate this part of the episode. – Ghosts, here he comes! – Jesus Christ, that was loud. – Here comes your boy, Ryan Bergara. Well, good luck. Off you go. – Okay, well as Mr. Shane said, my name is Ryan. I’m very scared right now, so know that if you’re scared I promise you I’m more scared. – Ryan’s out there doing his little thing. – Do know that if you show yourself, I have a camera. I will see you, and everybody will know you exist, and I win. – He seems to be handling them well this season. I’m proud of him. We’re growing up, you know? – If there’s anybody up here with me- I just got the chills, oh shit. – He had to do it sometime. I don’t know how he’s gonna fare. He was a little rattled earlier in the night. – Well, I’m gonna sit on one of these, and they’re disgusting. Okay, sitting in a solitary cell by myself. Good shit, right? Okay, let’s fire up the spirit box. (machine static) All right, my name’s Ryan. Can you say Ryan back? Can you say Ryan? No escape, huh? ^What’s the name of the jail we’re at right now? Psycho? Who is in this cell? Whose cell am I in? Can you say my name? My name is Ryan Bergara. What did you do? ^Why are you here? Good? Obviously, you weren’t good. – Crank march sore that. – What? – What does it say? – It sounds to me like it’s saying, “We first board at dusk.” – We first board at dusk? ^- Yeah, listen to it again. – So, we’re speaking to the ghouls, and we said, “Please tell us an important message,” and he got up to the mic and said, “We first board at dusk.” – It could be a metaphor, I don’t know. – Why would ghosts be speaking in metaphors? – I don’t know. Why would ghosts speak? – Checkmate. – All right, I’m gonna turn this off for the last part here. It is alarmingly silent now in here. What was that? Who was that? Reveal yourself. Could you make noise? Could you bang on one of your cells? I’ll come to you. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. – [Shane] Ryan. – Who is that? – Do you hear the little whispers? – Please. – Oops. – If you want to talk- God, I have all the hairs standing up on my body. – Time’s up! – Thank fucking god. Too late, won’t get to know. Sayonara, mother fucker! The Ry guy is out. – What are you gonna say to them? – Take a good look at this face. You ain’t never gonna see it again. You had your chance. See that little dance? That’s the last thing you’re ever gonna see. Adios. Oh fuck, I forgot the spirit box, shit. – [Shane] Go get it! – My hands are full. – [Shane] Well, try your best. – I’m back. Isn’t that funny how that happens? Fuck, where did I leave this shit? Boy, what have you done, Ryan? What have you done? I found you, motherfucker! This is the best part when I feel so much joy and happiness and I remember all that’s good in the world. – This is you at your most loathsome. – Yeah. After spending a night roaming the unsettling cellblocks of Ohio State Reformatory, I can see why many feel the prison is haunted. Even without the history, the visuals presented are enough to make the imagination run wild, but whether or not Ohio State Reformatory is definitively haunted will remain unsolved. (eerie music) So, right now we’re gonna go retrieve the static cam from the chair room, and if this chair is not where I left it I’m gonna lose my fucking mind. – [Shane] What if the chairs are stacked like in Poltergeist? – That would be equally insane. – [Shane] Oh, this is so weird. They’re in the same spot. – [Ryan] In the same spot, how about that? – Very curious. Something about this just seems a little fishy. That ghost was supposed to move that chair. – He was. I can’t say I’m not disappointed ’cause I am. I’m disappointed with whatever’s in this room. – Tough season for the Boo-garas. – It’s a big ask, once again. – Tough season.