Junction City Prison

Junction City, Ohio

The Junction City Prison was demolished in Spring 2005.

I visited the Junction City Prison with the Ohio Exploration Society on March 15, 2003. I ended up taking fifty-one pictures, so instead of listing all of them in one big dropdown list I broke them into sections. Click on the following links to view the photos:

The Junction City Prison was built in 1908 as a brick plant. It was purchased by the state in 1913. The state used it as a satellite prison of the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus. Older or disabled prisoners with good behavior were sent here from the Penitentiary to make bricks that were used for state building projects.

Even though the prisoners with good behavior were sent here, they weren't always on their best behavior. On September 2, 1927 Grant Weakly, one of the guards, was shot and killed by two prisoners named Patrick Riley and Fred Kellogg during an escape attempt. They managed to escape the prison but they were caught in neighboring New Lexington, Ohio.

In 1928 there was a fire at the prison. It was rebuilt using prison labor and bricks made in the prison's furnaces. The Junction City Prison closed between 1935-1938 due to cutbacks made during the Great Depression. It was reopened with a third floor and forty more acres.

In 1970 an educational/rehab building was added. This new building was used for a short time...the prison was closed in 1977. Nepco, a gasohol refinery purchased the prison shortly after it closed. It stayed there for a very short time.

In 1978 the film Brubaker was filmed at the Junction City Prison. It starred Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto, David Keith, and Morgan Freeman. You can see some great views of the prison in this movie, and see what it used to look like.

In the early 1990's a pizza place used this building. They sold frozen pizza kits for schools and charities to use as fundraisers. They left a lot of junk behind - the gym is covered in flour, and we even found some pepperoni in an office on the second floor!

I haven't heard many stories about the prison being haunted, just abandoned. There was grafitti all over the inside walls, some of it was quite entertaining! I think every single window was broken, and there was trash all over the floors. It was a very interesting place to explore, it's too bad they tore it down.

That's not to say that there haven't been some people who experienced strange, paranormal encounters there. Take Melissa Nicholson, a website visitor:

I have been to the prison and a friend of mine that was with me and I both felt something very evil and it was breathing down our necks. Very hot breath and it was very hard to breathe in there. We both got major GOOSE BUMPS although seeing strange things is a natural thing for both of us.

In January 2004 I received the following e-mail from Jessie, a website visitor. This is one of the most interesting things I've ever heard about the prison:

I have been to the Junction City Prison and there is something very wrong there, evil if you will. I know this will sound very far fetched, and you may not believe it, but there is some kind of "beast" or animal living in the prison itself and the surrounding woods. This animal is at least 8 feet tall, has a dirty, white, 'krinkly' coat. No one has seen it up close, but I know multiple people who have witnessed it. I know you say on your site that it is just an abandonded building, but its much much more than that, trust me.

This was the first time I had heard about this "big foot" creature. I asked my friend John who grew up in nearby New Lexington, Ohio. He said he had never heard about sitings of this creature near the prison, but he had heard stories about a creature like this being sighted in Shawnee, Ohio - also in Perry County.

In March 2005 I received an e-mail from Joyce Harris, another website visitor who had an encounter with the mysterious creature:

I used to live down the road from the prison. One time we all went down to the prison with our blankets and stuff and were going to stay the night. We were there for about two hours when we heard this noise. We had never heard this kind of noise before, it is one that you cannot explain. So we sat there for a few more minutes and then we saw this huge shadow go across the wall and that was all it took! Because this shadow was way too big to be any human! So we ran out as fast as we could and we left everything we took with us there. The next day when we came back to get our things, they where not there at all. So whatever that thing is, I would watch it.

In April 2005, I received this story from Jim, AKA "Solomon", with an explanation of the creature:

As odd as this is going to sound, I have to say it. That creature people are seeing isn't living, and now that I've read the story on your site and have heard other people talk about it, I have to admit that I may be one of the people responsible for bringing that thing to this plane.

You see, a few years ago I was at the prison with about 10 or 12 other people, and me being the kind of person I am, I wanted to try to invoke a spirit ( just to see if the place really was haunted). What I wasn't aware of in my meditated state is that behind me and slightly off to the left, one of my friends was trying the same thing. While at the same time behind me and slightly to the right, another friend was trying. After several minutes of trying, I didn't feel as if there was anything there. So I brought myself back to the world, that's the point when I noticed my friends sitting there mumbling.

I had to stop them, I don't think they knew what they were doing. And I was right. This is where things started feeling funny, my entire body became ice cold. This was odd, even for a ghost since it was the middle of summer. As I was trying to warm up and find out what in the hell they thought they were doing, I heard something behind me. I turned to see what looked like a white dog, about german sheppard size. As the dog got closer it got bigger, and I realized it had no eyes. Being that it was white, I wasn't really scared, I just didn't know what was going on. I started walking slowly towards this thing, it started getting blurry. Kinda like a typical out of focus bigfoot.

At that point it changed shape, and was standing kind of upright. It still looked a bit like a dog, but with a different body shape. I thought at that point I was having a flashback from my days as a stupid teenager, but I still wanted to see it closer. I managed to get about 2 feet closer when the thing seemed to turn into smoke and disappear, that's when I started feeling warm again. To this day I have no idea what I saw on Pen road that night, but it was definately not a physical being. I know the story makes me sound like I'm full of shit, and I'm the first to admit the story is a bit hard to swallow. But I know what I saw. If I could draw I would send you a drawing to post to see if other visitors are seeing the same thing. I thought I had made whatever it was leave along time ago, but maybe not.

I was at the prison the same day I went to Otterbein Cemetery, sadly the brick part of the building has been reduced to a pile of bricks. But the good news is, I didn't feel any bad vibes while we were there. Although there was an acrid smell in the air.

On July 28, 2005 I received the following e-mail from Elastictyrant about her interesting experiences at the prison:

A friend and I went to the prison in the middle of January 2004, it was the middle of the day and there was practically no moisture in the air. There was a very slight breeze but it was exceedingly bitter. We parked our car near a trailer and some other cars parked across the road to blend it in. Since it was just us two girls, we did a thorough sweep of the area around the far guard tower and the open structure to the far right. There were no cars, no signs of life from what we could see in the building and all looked quiet at the neighbor's homes.

Anyway, we went in on the bottom floor and walked around, there were still old pizza carts littering the area and a big hole in the ceiling where you could see up to the second floor. I had chills, but those were very likely caused by the low temperature. We went up the outside stairs and entered the 2nd floor where immediately to your left is a room where you see electrical remains, we had heard and surmised that this was the execution room, it was all green tile with holes knocked in the wall. My friend stepped inside but I was too intimidated. The back of the 2nd story was built into a hill, there is an open truck loading hole in the wall with about a 3 foot drop to the ground. I had no more taken about 5 steps past the execution room towards the loading dock when I felt something like hot breath on my neck. Then my friend and I both heard a shout of what sounded like "Hey!" in a deep voice. I thought someone had caught us up there and whipped around but there was no one there. We stopped and looked around but there was no one anywhere that we could see. We listened for footsteps but heard nothing and footsteps we thought would tend to echo where the sound came from in perspective to where we were located.

At that point we got psyched out and took off running, jumping the 3 feet down out the loading dock door. We very quickly circumvented the building and once again there was no one on the roof, the bottom floor, and no cars or anything around at all. I'm pretty sure that with as fast as we ran out of there and around that if someone had taken off in a car or running, we would have heard or seen them. I will never forget the feel of that breath on my neck.... since it was so cold out, it's not something I can explain.

We gained back some of our courage and decided to walk through the field behind the far right side of the building, the side rumored to have been part of a horrible fire. There are two heavy iron doors, the one on the right hand side standing slightly ajar. We walked up to the door and we opened it, peeking our heads in to look around. It was kinda dark and we couldn't see all that well, but there were a couple other doors like the one we were peering around. They appeared to be closed. My friend was getting a little upset and she didn't want to go in, but I promised to hold the door open behind her. She stepped inside about 2 feet from the door. She really wanted to leave and we debated the wisdom of continuing our experience. I can't describe how that particular place made me feel. I wanted to go in very, very bad but I was extremely uneasy and felt unwelcome, I didn't feel that way in the other area of the prison. Finally we decided we'd come this far, we had to at least go a short distance inside the dimly lit area if only to try and see the place better. I had one foot inside and one foot outside. I held the door slightly open. As soon as I placed my other foot on that cold concrete inside the door we heard a loud "BANG," like one of the heavy iron doors being slammed shut. At that point my friend screamed and ran and I, of course, followed screaming too (I'm a bit ashamed to admit). It could have been an animal, but I figured my friend would have disturbed it when she went in first. There wasn't much of a wind, certainly not enough to slam such a heavy door with such force, and it was just odd that it happened as soon as both of us were completely inside the building. Some strange stuff happened to me there, so I plan to go back soon with some big guys at night to attempt some EVP and proper documentary ghost hunting. I firmly believe that this place merits investigation. But until I thoroughly investigate it, I won't declare it haunted.

On October 10, 2005 I received the following e-mail from Stacy about her interesting experiences at the prison:

I too have been to the pen, many times in fact. Friends and I used to go there for the thrill and rush of it. Everytime you entered that building, day or night, you got that freaky, uneasy feeling that was so exciting. We would scale and investigate every inch of the place until something scared us off.

We may have heard things and our eyes may have played tricks on us, but this one particular siting was no joke. It was a chilly summer night, and my girlfriend and I decided to be brave and go without our male protectors. We parked behind the infamous guard tower and ventured toward the loading dock door. After we managed to climb the 4ft wall and our laughter and giggles died away, the noises began. We heard this weird, scary whistling. At first we just laughed and said it was the wind. We started to walk on farther into the building when we froze in silence and stared at each other. We heard the whistle agian. This time it was closer and sounded like music. We yelled out HELLO and got silence. Then we heard what sounded like footsteps walking above us. We sprinted toward the open square in the wall, jumped to the ground, and ran to the car like bats out of hell! I struggled to unlock the car doors fast enough, finally, we got in, and locked the doors as fast as we unlocked them. As we sat there scared shitless, staring at the building, I noticed something in one of the windows. I pointed it out to my friend and she confirmed what I saw...

There in a window, a floor above where we were, stood a man. He stood out from the darkness by his white t-shirt and a firey end of a cigarette. We watched the figure, cigarette and all, move about 3 windows down and disappear. Then we got the hell out of there!!

Later when telling our story, we learned of another story that justifies what we saw. Back in the running years of the prison, there was an inmate who had tied his blankets and sheets together to make a noose, and hung himself in his cell!! They say he has been seen before in his white t-shirt and with the lit cigarette. And where the cells used to be, hung an old dry-rotted noose from the raffters. TRUE STORY!!!

On October 29, 2005 I received an e-mail from Jay Fisher of Lancaster, Ohio:

I was looking at the pictures on your site, and saw something interesting in the one of inside the prison labeled looking up the staircase. Look at it, and look closely - above the doorway, in the upper right corner. I see what appears to be a head and shoulders of a man.

I've separated the photo from the rest of the list...do you see the man Jay is talking about?


In December 2005, I received an e-mail from MarlboroQueenB about her visits to the Junction City Prison:

I have read all of the stories on your site about the Junction City Prison. I have a story, but it is not a ghost or "creature" encounter. In the past 4 years, my friends and I have been to the Junction City Prison maybe 15 to 20 times. So, we knew the place pretty well. Sometimes, we would see shadows of a "person" while looking up into the windows. A couple times we saw them by the elevator. Maybe our eyes were playing tricks on us. Who knows? Other times, we would hear weird noises, footsteps above us, and whistling. Every time we went there, we would park our cars in front of the building that sits right next to the prison. There is a house or trailer that sits a ways back. One night (a couple years ago), while walking back to our cars, we noticed there were guys at the house drinking. One of them saw us walking to our cars and he took off running towards us. We jumped in our cars and locked the doors. He ran up to one of the cars and started banging on the windows. One of my guy friends got out of the car and told him we didn't want any trouble. The drunk guy attacked my friend. We tried to pull him off, but he was too strong and obviously too drunk. We then starting hitting him with our flashlights and one of my girlfriends jumped on his back. He stumbled away after some time and told us to leave or he would call the police. We told him we didn't go there to start trouble with anyone and we were just checking the place out. Then he was saying how a lot of people go there and he was sick of it because his house sits right there by the prison and people who go there are always loud. He was telling us how (sometimes) him and his friends would sneak up there and they would try to scare people off, just so they would leave. After that little "incident," we had gone back to the prison a few more times. We didn't hear or see one thing. Now, we wonder if all the times we did hear or see something it was the guy and his friends trying to scare us off.

In July 2006 I received an e-mail from Dylan Mogan regarding the mysterious white creature sightings:

I was reading some of your stories about the JCP and I have one of my own that might explain the "creature".

A couple of friends and I used to go to the prison, exploring it at night sometimes. We started hearing stories of this creature and we decided we would check it out during the day to see if we could see anything...we got there and the old fence that was always on the ground was replaced by a new fence. So we walked around the perimeter and we saw the "Creature" in the field by the brick mill...it was a full grown white horse eating some grass.

In October 2007 I received an e-mail from Pete Frye with an observation regarding one of my photos:

After viewing the Junction City Prison photos and stories, I've noticed what appears to be a face looking in through a window in a door. The photo is under: JCP, Main Prison Building Photos, labeled as: "Puddles in Hallway." To the left of the photo, down the hall, there are two doors in the distance. Both have a square window, the right hand door is slightly opened (light shining in). If you look at the window of the left door, you can see what appears to be a head and neck of some one looking in. Building debris?

I received an e-mail from Dennis Smith with an observation in April 2008:

I was looking at your pictures of the Junction City Prison and saw what looks like someone standing on the left hand side of the picture titled "First Floor". Upon saving it and zooming it looked translucent. The image also gets blurry as I zoom so it is hard to make out; but it looks like someone or something in a light colored shirt, dark pants, and light colored shoes. I could not make out the arms, legs, or head.

I received an e-mail from William G. in December 2011 about his trip to the prison:

Back in April of 2001 a friend of mine took a few of us there at night. We traveled up the broken stairs on the outside at night and began to explore around. One thing that we found odd is that we saw hospital beds while on the third floor. We wanted to go to the first floor, but at the time it was full of water. One of the odd things that night was voices we were hearing off and on. We were talking to some other people who had been in there and they said there were no beds in there and had never heard anything. To this day we all believe that place was haunted.

If you visited the Junction City Prison and saw the creature or any other strange things, let me know! I'd be happy to add your story to the site.

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