Our Ghost Hunts at Yuma Territorial Prison take you inside a real, haunted, “Hell-Hole”.
Yuma Territorial Prison has long been known as one of the most haunted locations in Arizona.
Paranormal activity includes disembodied voices, shadows, apparitions, and physical attacks.
Yuma, Arizona is known today as “Sunniest City on Earth”, with sun and warm weather occurring more than 90% of the year. For this reason, Yuma serves as a winter residence for more than 70,000 visitors.
Things looked much different in the 1870’s, when a small settlement known as Arizona City grew into what eventually became the town of Yuma. However, there are multiple historic structures that remain.
Driving on Prison Hill Road brings you to a parking lot that sits in front of a truly dark and frightening maze of historic stone buildings. It’s time to come pay your debts inside of the Yuma Territorial Prison!
In the 1870’s, Arizona had not yet achieved statehood. Yuma was still considered the wild west; rough and overrun with outlaws who engaged in treachery. Every type of criminal act imaginable was in play.
With these ongoing criminal acts and the horrors of civil war still fresh in their minds, the legislature created an authorization for the building of Yuma Territorial Prison in 1875, and for a cost of $25,000.
On April 28, 1876 ground was broken for construction of the new prison, with prisoners directed to build the cells. The first seven inmates made their way into housing at Yuma Territorial Prison on July 1, 1876.
Yuma Territorial Prison stood in operation for thirty-three years. Due to overcrowding concerns, the prison closed, and Inmates were transferred to the new Arizona State Prison in Florence starting in 1908.
In 1910, four buildings of the former prison were used to house the Yuma High School. The high school occupied the buildings until 1914. From 1914 until 1923, the buildings were used by the county hospital.
In 1931, the guard’s quarters were leased by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for use as a clubhouse until 1960. During the 1920’s and 30’s, various hobos and homeless families occupied the former prison cells.
Efforts to preserve Yuma Territorial Prison began in the 1930’s. In 1939, locals began raising funds for restoration of the guard tower and to construct a museum on the site of the former prison mess hell.
On February 6, 1958 the former prison was accepted as a State Park and eventually to the Parks Board for one dollar. On January 1, 1961, Yuma Territorial Prison State Historical Park opened to the public.
Yuma Territorial Prison has a dark and ominous past; so much that it is often referred to as “Hell-Hole”. These old stone walls hold the imprints of energies that lived and died under scorching heat, disease, heartbreaking tragedies, and the violence of prison life.
As you enter the front gates, you may be presented with a frightening replay of the 1886 “Gates Riot”. Will you see Warden Gates, held hostage by prisoners, directing his men to shoot? Perhaps you’ll encounter one of the perpetrators who can tell you about his crime.
Spend a few moments in “The Dark Room”, which was used as punishment for prisoners who broke the rules. Communicate with the spirits in the room, or the little girl who likes to pinch visitors. You can also sit quietly to hear that the disembodied rattling of a ball and chain.
A female spirit likes to sing in the visitor’s area during the mornings. Visit with her and find out if she’ll tell you who she is, what she’s singing, and why. A male spirit hangs around the gift shop; rearranging coins but never once touching any of the bills.
As you enter Cell 14, a visitor may approach. That visitor is likely John Ryan, who was convicted of a sexual offense. Ryan was so disliked by guards and inmates alike that he committed suicide in his cell. John likely has a very interesting story to tell, it’s up to you to see if he will.
Strolling along the main cell block is a harrowing experience for many. Many of the cells seem to still have occupants. These spirits have been known to make people feel uncomfortable and will also let their voices be heard. What will one of these spirits say to you?
Blood-curdling screams and pleas for mercy have been heard on the grounds where 111 men and women met their end in a variety of ways. Contrasting those frightening sounds are the faint strains of music from the former Yuma Prison Band, which is often heard as well.
Yuma Territorial Prison holds energies from more than a century ago. Prisoners, hobos’, the homeless, there are many spirits on this property, whose lived ended in a variety of ways. As you join us for a night at this extremely haunted location, they wait for you….If you dare to spend the night!