Aryn’s Cult TV Blog
This is the world of TV through my eyes! Fancy that!

Ghost Hunters – Essex County Penitentiary

Ghost Hunters - T.A.P.S.I just have to say – at the end of last spring when Jay & Grant and the T.A.P.S. crew went off to Essex County asylum, I thought it was the creepiest place they had been too, and maybe it was, but let me tell you – Essex County Penitentiary is defiantly the most elusive.

Essex County PenIn general I can normally find things online – I’m good at internet research – but this place just didn’t want to be found. Outside of a few demographics and a few photos of the property over the years – Nada. Nothing. Zip.

But lucky for all of us our favorite Ghost Hunters were much more successful!

And here’s your recap:

Way back in 1862 in the great state of New Jersey a prison was opened in Essex County to house all of those soldiers from or fighting for the South.  For the next 141 years, the penitentiary housed some major male and female prisoners and had their share of death – including one man who wedged himself inside his cell and then set himself on fire. (To die later, only after pulling out his tubes and I.V.s)

In 2003 when the prison closed, it had housed over 7,500 hundred inmates – (If I could insert a song here it would be Wanda Jackson’s “Riot in Cell Block #9” – feel free to hum along)

In 1873, over flow from Newark, New Jersey was sent to North Caldwell’s fortified home for all those bad people – and the legacy began.

Once the team made it to the site, Josh Gates of SyFy’s “Destination Truth” joined the team. This isn’t the first time they’ve worked with Mr. Gate’s he helped host one of their Halloween specials, but this was the first time he investigated. 

Robert Williams – who is one of the leading people attempting to save the history of New Jersey and the Penitentiary – also met the team and gave them a tour around the place. Showing them the different sections of the prison like The Central Hall – were shadowy figures and footsteps had been heard over the years; The West Wing – where “Old Man Brown” set himself on fire, and there were footsteps and shadowy figures reported; The Guards Locker Room – Shadows; The Tunnels under the prison that led to the Warden’s house and the Woman’s Facility (where nothing happened at all) – but in the tunnels… footstep AND shadows.

(personally, being trapped on this planet after my death scares the ever living bejeus out of me – and why would you chose a prison!!)

The night started off with a bang – Josh, Jason and Grant headed over to the Main Building (the center hall) with their cameras, the K2 and the thermal in tow (and probably a recorder and some flash lights), as the 3 men were walking and asking questions Josh saw a figure down the end of the hallway. Calling out to the figure, they ran down to see where it went, only to find out there was nothing there.

The k2 meter also went off at this point.

Josh, Jason and Grant also saw another figure in the West Wing, where they also heard the sound of water running – which was totally weird because the building had been closed for over 5 years, which means – no water or power.

Kris Williams (who we like to call the “brave crazy lady” at this house because there is NO WAY anyone could have gotten me into those tunnels by myself with a head cam… nope) Miss Williams headed down to the tunnels armed with a head cam, flash light, recorded and a will of steel. She began her EVP work after seeing something down the tunnel, asking for knocking noises and then receiving a response. 

Kris and Josh also visited the Warden’s House to do some EVP work – but nothing seemed to come of it.

Brit and Amy had a personal experience in the upper levels of the prison, they followed a shadow up a flight of stairs until they couldn’t go any further – they heard foot steps but were unable to locate anything. And later at the Warden’s House Brit saw a weird ball of light, but later dismissed it as a flash light coming in from outside.

Steve and Tango were the first one’s to visit the Warden’s House. They did have an experience of their own – when Steve started hitting the wall with a stick and they were attacked by a bat or a bird – the clip was super fast. (I love these two – they always make me smile)

Later Steve, Tango and Josh met up to reexamine the first spot of the show where Josh saw the figure. This was the coolest part of the show. After a few minutes in the halls weird noises started flaring up. The sounds of keys, footsteps, metal machinery – and nothing to explain it. Just like there was nothing to explain the high EVP reading they were getting – remember, shut down means no power, especially readings at 3.3)

In the evidence not much else was revealed. The most interesting one was a sound caught on a recorder over by the cell where Old Man Brown had set himself on fire – no one was around, if they had been it would have been caught on the cameras, but it was a quick metal noise. Mr. Williams said it sounded like keys.

For me, it sounded like a lighter – go back and listen to it (pick up a cheap cigarette lighter at the store the next time you’re out and flick it once or twice and then listen to the noise again…)

Over all it was AWESOME!

And next week they’re back – this time with Dave Tango’s dad! Everything was a bit vague in the preview so I’ll be sure to let you know when I figure out where they’ll be at!


Oh… one cool thing I found was this document – if you scroll down you can learn about the preservation of the state!


5 Responses to “Ghost Hunters – Essex County Penitentiary”

  1. Josh Gates has invesitgated with GHI in the past, this wasn’t his first investigation.

  2. can u tour this site?…

  3. Alisha, no you can’t tour the site cops are stationed at the location

  4. if anyone has any ghost stories about the essex county Mental hospital please email them to I am writing a book on this great place

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