Escape from Blood Prison: The haunted house at the Mansfield Reformatory

MANSFIELD, OH (WOIO) - Are you brave enough to walk through a 250,000 square foot haunted house inside the Mansfield Reformatory?

The now shuttered prison is best known as the setting for the movie, Shawshank Redemption.

"It's the perfect backdrop for a haunted house," says Haunt Manager Vic Amesquita.

So for the Halloween season, the Reformatory is transformed into a gruesome, zombie-filled "Blood Prison."

Anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 people buy tickets every year to take the 45 minute tour. It runs Thursdays through Sundays until Nov. 5.

This year features a new facade for the first horror scene "Granny Hatchet's Halfway House," as well as a freaky, clown and zombie filled circus area.

There's also a touch option.

"If you want your experience to be more intense, more scare, you wear a touch pass, a glow-in-the-dark necklace or wristband that gives the actors, they see them, and they're like, we can touch them," says Amesquita.

The set-up starts right after Labor Day. 120 people are part of the production and that includes 60 actors, made up in full movie-grade make-up and costuming.

The tour takes visitors through cell blocks, solitary confinement, as well as the basement.

"For the most part, it's music, disorientation and lights," says Amesquita. "If they're not scared, we entertain them one way or the other."

Paranormal Stories

Several areas of the prison are thought to be haunted, Halloween or not. Amesquita says he doesn't believe in the paranormal, but certain things he's experienced are undeniable.

Once he was down in the old solitary confinement section with another worker and, "We were looking down this alley, I flipped the light off, got about right here, and the light went back on. The switch was back up too."

Click here for Blood Prison hours and ticket information.

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