A legless, floating spirit allegedly haunts Burlington County Prison moving from the yard entrance. A tall uniformed male has been seen in the basement with paranormal activity on the third floor. Special tours are given at this ‘haunted attraction’ at Halloween.
Burlington County Prison was the oldest continually used in the country when it finally closed in 1965. Designed and built with the goal of rehabilitation. Over the entrance door was the motto "Justice Which, While it Punishes, Would Endeavor to Reform the Offender".
The impressive stone structure on High Street, Mount Holly is the site of Burlington County Prison. The museum has a massive courtyard with a maximum-security cell, ‘ the dungeon’ at the center on the top floor. Its location ensured constant surveillance by guards on rounds. It minimized communications with criminals in cellblocks and prevented escape by digging. ‘The dungeon’ had a small window very high up, the only cell without a fireplace. An iron ring was placed in the center of the floor for prisoner chaining.
Former prisons occupants include ‘The Boston Strangler’ and Albert DeSalvo, a vagrant arrested for lewd and indecent exposure charges. Two of the earliest prison executions in the 1830 were Joel Clogh and an unnamed female. Public hangings were done in the prison yard using gallows erected for each event.
The maximum-security cell is thought haunted by the ghost of convicted murderer Joel Clough spending his last night before hanging in 1833. He was buried in the corner of the prison yard near a large tree.
Joel stabbed his girlfriend to death and was sentenced to death. He escaped from the prison but was quickly recaptured, and confined to death row in ‘the dungeon’. After death guards and inmates saw levitating spirits with sounds of moaning and rattling chains from ‘the dungeon’.
Burlington County Prison at 128 High Street, Mount Holly NJ, built in 1810 operated from 1811 through 1965. The prison’s innovative design by young architect Robert Mills designer of the US Treasury Building, US Patent Office, and US Post Office, as well as Washington Monument in Baltimore, and National Monument in DC.
Mount Holly is a NJ township of 9,536 its first European settlement in 1677. Walter Reeves obtained land from Lenape Native American Indians building a dam on the Rancocas Creek to power a gristmill and saw mill. It is 22 miles east of Philadelphia and 20 miles east of Camden NJ with Fort Dix 12 miles east. West of the township is rustic Rancocas State Park, with a replica Powhattan Indian village of the 1600’s.
Burlington County Prison is a 5 1/2 hour drive of 350 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 east to Syracuse then US 81 south past Binghampton into Pennsylvania to Scranton and US 476 to Philadelphia. Then US 276 east to route 541 south and route 691 (High Street) to Burlington County Prison.
Here’s what a visitor impression of the tour.
“Hey .. for a buck ... you can't beat it.”