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Paranormal Investigations

Paranormal Investigations

Eastern State Penitentiary is available for private paranormal investigations on select evenings from 9 pm to 1 am from April through August. Eastern State staff will help the group navigate the building and answer questions about the penitentiary's history, but will not offer training or equipment for paranormal investigations. It is the responsibility of the group to provide their own equipment and program.

Paranormal investigations are available for groups of 5 - 15 participants. The cost is $105 per person. Pricing is for a four-hour investigation from 9 pm to 1 am.

Groups wishing to rent the penitentiary for paranormal investigation are required to make reservations in advance online. Full payment is due at the time of booking. You can book your paranormal investigation online here

Each participant will also receive a complimentary general admission pass for a daytime prison tour ($16 value). Please see email confirmation for redemption instructions.

Eastern State Penitentiary does not book multiple paranormal investigation teams at the same time. Your group will be the only paranormal team in the building when you conduct your investigation. However, staff members or contractors may be working in the building during the investigation.

Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions. Don't see what you're looking for? Email us at

Eastern State Penitentiary is dedicated to interpreting and creating dialogue about the criminal justice system in the United States. The following policies are intended to support the historic site's mission and to respect the building's complex history. 

  • The use of "trigger" objects is strongly discouraged. Any group wishing to use them must submit a request at least one week prior to their investigation. Only pre-approved objects will be permitted. 
  • "Provoking" is not permitted. Additionally, no derogatory, obscene, or otherwise offensive language is permitted. 
  • Eastern State staff would be happy to answer any history-related questions you may have. However, we will not sensationalize the building's history or alter facts to fit new narratives. We hope that this policy helps you conduct an accurate and successful investigation.
  • Eastern State Penitentiary staff are not permitted to make public statements pertaining to hauntings or the paranormal. This includes recordings for private use. However, Eastern State staff are permitted to share personal stories with investigators and may answer paranormal-related questions pertaining to your investigation. 

A 100% refund will be issued for any investigation cancelled more than three weeks in advance for Monday through Thursday rentals. Investigations scheduled for Friday through Sunday must be cancelled six weeks in advance for a full refund. There are no refunds for cancellations after these time periods.

Three weeks notice must be given to reschedule an investigation on Monday through Thursday and six weeks notice for Friday through Sunday. Investigations rescheduled without the proper notice will incur a 25% reschedule fee (50% rescheduling free for Friday through Sunday) of the total fee. Dates and times available for rescheduled investigations are subject to availability and management approval.

If you arrive late for your investigation, any time that has passed from your original start time will be forfeited. You may investigate for the remainder of the time you have booked but no discount or refund will be issued. If you fail to appear for your scheduled date, no refund will be issued. There are no refunds or rescheduling available due to weather. 

The same policies apply to both the cancellation of the entire investigation, as well as the cancellation of individual tickets above the five-person minimum. There are no refunds for no-shows.

Paranormal investigations can only be booked up to six months in advance. Reservations are first come, first served. Book your reservation online here

Yes, even if you are not part of an organized paranormal group, you can still book a paranormal investigation. Please keep in mind that it is the responsibility of the group to provide their own equipment and program.

No. We do not book multiple paranormal investigation teams at the same time. Your group will be the only paranormal team in the building when you conduct your investigation. However, staff members or contractors may be working in the building.

Yes, participants younger than 12 years old will not be permitted. It is recommended that all participants be 18 years of age or older. Participants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

A map of the areas typically accessible during paranormal investigations is available for download. Approved areas are licensed by the City of Philadelphia for nighttime tours. Eastern State staff is not able to grant access to additional locations. Some areas may be periodically closed for routine maintenance, construction, repairs, or other reasons. Entering closed-off areas, including barred cells, is prohibited.

Yes, everyone attending a paranormal investigation is required to fill out a waiver. Waivers can be printed and signed in advance. Click here to download a waiver.

No additional insurance is required for paranormal investigations.

Yes. It is the responsibility of the group to bring their own equipment and to take it with them when they leave. Eastern State Penitentiary is not responsible for lost equipment.

Please use your common sense. Alcohol, weapons of any kind, pepper spray, and pocketknives are not permitted inside the penitentiary complex. Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted anywhere inside the penitentiary complex, including outdoor spaces within the walls. Lighters and open flames, including candles and incense, are prohibited.

The building has no climate control. The floors are stone, and are occasionally uneven. We do not recommend wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.

We recommend arriving at 8:45 pm. Our staff will greet you at the penitentiary’s entrance on Fairmount Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets. All setup and breakdown must take place within your four-hour window.

Paranormal groups are welcome to park inside the penitentiary complex during the investigation; however, no oversized vehicles are permitted.

Yes, paranormal groups are welcome to use our “Recharge Station” as their Base Camp. Located in a former warden’s office, this space is centrally located and has climate control, seating, electric, and complimentary Wi-Fi and cell phone charging.

Limited electricity is available in some areas of the penitentiary. A map of accessible electric outlets is available for download. Investigators are welcome to use any open outlets as shown on this map. No Eastern State equipment may be unplugged from any outlet. Due to their location, breaker boxes are not accessible during paranormal investigations; therefore, any tripped breakers will remain off for the rest of the investigation.

No. Your group must stay together and will be accompanied by a member of our guide staff (one guide per five visitors) at all times.

Unfortunately, we are not able to keep the Museum Store open during paranormal investigations. The Museum Store is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is not required to shop at the Museum Store. You can, however, purchase select items through our online museum store

Yes. Eastern State Penitentiary is a National Historic Landmark, and the preservation of the building and its artifacts is the primary focus of all activity on the property. All spaces must remain undisturbed. Nothing on the site may be moved, removed, touched or otherwise disturbed. Take nothing but photos and video, and please do not leave any trash or personal belongings behind.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner