FBF: Old Idaho Penitentiary

The film Malcolm X once quoted that some people are always in prison because their mind is imprisoned. Well this place supposedly imprison some for eternity as their souls never leave.

Well do souls exist? Do you believe in hauntings? You decide. I have my answer, or more like my own questions in this matter. Though here we were, at another allegedly haunted place.

The menacing entrance.

This prison operated for 101 years until a riot in 1973 exposed the abuse and horrid conditions that lead to its closure.

Guard tower

Today is a museum, and a destination for those looking to see if they believe in ghosts.

The ruins of the dining hall, which was destroyed in 1972.

Here is what is left of the inside of the dining hall

We were in Boise to enjoy ourselves and knew that Ghost Adventures did an episode here, and we couldn’t resist checking the place out!

Very haunting sight of this door, do some still reside here?

“Order of Captain”

Haunted or not, this place did have some infamous residents. Two famous prisoners were Harry Orchard & Lyda Southard. Orchard assassinated former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg in 1905, and Southard was known as “Lady Bluebeard” for killing several of her husbands to collect upon their life insurance.

This, is the Rose Garden. Until the construction of the indoor facility, this was the site of executions by hanging until a facility was built for that purpose.

This cell block… was very creepy.


Here, we had a fun discussion whether something happened or not. My wife heard 2 distinct bang sounds on the metal bars coming from the cells. Here’s the problem: there are no stairs to the cells and the lock to the blocks themselves are welded shut. Nobody can get there.

It is said that prisoners would bang on the bars twice to signal to everyone that a woman is in their midst. I can’t confirm this nor deny this, maybe you can tell me…

Handprints… whose do they belong to?

Inmates have weird humor don’t they?

Can you imagine this being your morning view for the rest of your life?

Prisons are not pleasant places, maybe I doubt hauntings but there is nothing not haunting about the smell and feel of this place. Everything we touched have a story, and I don’t imagine most of those have happy endings.

The haunting sight of this claustrophobic cell

Here, the guide said they installed the mesh you see because many became entrance and attempted to jump off. I can’t independently verify these stories.

Hauntings and belief thereof is a human condition where we associate inanimate objects and places with things that do (or did) have life. What makes a guitar special if it has been played by a great artist? Possessing such does not guarantee mastery. Nor does touching the desk that belonged to Adolph Hitler make you a raging anti-Semite. So what makes us believe a places such as this where hundreds died will have lingering effects?

Many probably never seen the other side of this gate for as long as they lived.

This, was inside of one of the solitary confinement cells.

But for us, the memory of this place taints the innocent building. We as a specie believes the “ghosts” of this building and the skeletons in its closets are still here. I don’t know if I saw a ghost, or heard of their voices but I do know they are here – In our minds as we read of this prison’s history. The echos of the screams during this riot. The whispers of the plans for some ill fated escape

The laundry room.

Missing socks

Supposedly someone was raped to death here. I can’t find an original source for this story or any records. What do you think?

The Women’s Ward. Only added after a scandal involving a female inmate becoming pregnant while incarcerated, and the prison officials performed an abortion on her in attempts to cover this scandal up.

Well, haunted or not, that’s up to you when you go to this old prison.

The “Sally Gate.”

“Good deeds are better than wise sayings.” – Talmud

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