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By Jeffery Pritchett
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Stephen King's Shawshank Prison Based On Ohio State Reformatory

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This is from my interview with Brad and Sherry Steiger and the entire interview can be found here.

Being a Stephen King avid reader I saw Shawshank was mentioned in the book as the Ohio State Reformatory? Is this the same Shawshank in the film? And could you give us some information about the hauntings going on there?

BS: The old Ohio State Reformatory at Mansfield, Ohio, made famous by the motion picture based on Stephen King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is said to be haunted by the ghosts of inmates and guards alike, all of whom seem to be seeking some kind of spiritual redemption and peace.

When the reformatory was constructed in 1886, the architect Levi T. Scofield intended that his prison would fulfill the ideals of the mid-19th century– to teach the incarcerated individuals a skill, instill within them a fear of God, and return to society as contributive citizens. The prison has the largest freestanding steel cellblock in the United States, with cells stacked six tiers high, 593 cells designed for 1,200 inmates.

The State of Ohio abandoned the old reformatory in 1990. In 1995, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society convinced the state to rehabilitate the sprawling, castle-like prison. In 1999, the Society was permitted to purchase the reformatory and 17 acres for one dollar.

After the motion picture The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994, the reformatory became popular both with movie fans and with ghost hunters. Among just a few of the restless spirits reported in the Ohio State Reformatory are the following:

*The inmate in Cell 17,who killed himself by dousing himself with light fluid, then lighting up his own body.
*The wife of warden Arthur Glattke, who died under suspicious circumstances in 1950.
*Arthur Glattke, himself, whose spirit has been seen in numerous spots in the reformatory.
*Urban Wilford, a guard who was killed during a prison break attempt in 1926.

In my book, I quote the October 13, 2002 issue of the Detroit Free Press, in which travel writer Gerry Volgenau described the spirit manifestations of the reformatory: “Ghostly images appear. Faces emerge in the shadows… Visitors hear voices, sometimes singing…Most unnerving of all, people say they’ve been touched: a flick to the ear, a finger poke in the shoulder, a push from behind, an ankle grabbed on the stairwell. And…they were utterly alone. Or were they?”

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