As October begins to wind down, the spookiest time of the year is slowly ramping…
Across the nation, many of us are on lockdown due to COVID-19.
But while most of us enjoy our Internet connections, comfortable homes, and maybe indulge in a little bit too much junk food, the residents on lockdown at Mid-Orange Correctional Facility did not have that luxury.
The inmates locked within its walls were as young as 13 years old in some cases, and they were some of the worst troublemakers in New York City.
The Secretive History of Mid-Orange Correctional Facility
The Mid-Orange Correctional Facility, a former medium-security prison, is located about 60 miles northwest of New York City. The nature surrounding the area is picturesque, with a sparkling lake, mountain views, and beautiful winding roads.
The prison compound itself is not as inviting. Even so, the prison still draws visitors – despite the fact that the last living inmates left the facility a decade ago.
Most of the buildings here were built in the early to mid-1930s, while a few date back even farther. The historic, three-story Manor House is the oldest.
Right now, it’s being turned into an office building for CBD startups, but in the early years of the 1900s it was used first as a colony for drug addicts and alcoholics, and then as a reform school for boys.
In many cases, reformatories were not nice places. Many of the boys here were violent repeat offenders. Instead of just reforming the young men through education as was originally intended, they tended to treat them brutally and discipline them severely.
The teenage boys living here may have been underfed and mistreated, and there are many reports of boys trying to escape the compound.
The First Lady at the time, Eleanor Roosevelt, visited this facility in 1945 and reportedly was concerned about the conditions and treatment of the boys.
In 1976, the facility transitioned to an adult prison. In just a few years, there was a prison shortage and the facility became crowded far beyond its intended capacity. Inmates had to share cells and cram into crowded bunks. Some even lived in the gymnasium until more facilities were built.
What About the Hauntings?
The long, dark corridors of this abandoned facility are reportedly haunted. As a medium security facility, most of the inmates had a history of violence and many had committed felonies. One of the young men who lived here later went on to become a serial killer who murdered at least six people, if not more.
While some parts of the prison compound are being redeveloped, there are still several areas that have barely been touched over the last several years.
Ghost hunters can visit the chapels, mess hall, library, prison kitchen, tunnel, auditorium, classrooms, housing units, and the commissary.
On a lighter note, if you’re interested in ghosts of the feline variety, the Mid-Orange prison once had a controversial case where a correctional officer and some inmates took care of a large number of local stray cats. By all accounts, the cats were well fed and cared for by the officer and the inmates!
Do you have what it takes to explore this massive complex? View our scheduled events.