Previous 1 of 1 Next. Houston estimated the haunted house business from Eastern State made up 40% to 50% of his overall business from late September to mid-November. Throughout the penitentiary’s history, people incarcerated at Eastern State made toys, such as doll clothes, chess sets, miniature cutlery, wooden figurines, model ships, and piggy banks. They utilize social media, primarily Facebook but also Twitter too, to offer their programming. Houston added that Jack’s Firehouse will continue to do what it can to support Eastern State, especially in its mission to spread awareness to criminal justice reform. Like many other historic sites that have had to close this year due to the novel coronavirus, Eastern State Penitentiary has embraced connecting with visitors through weekly virtual programs. When the prison was operational, Eastern State’s entrance even featured a small store in which the toys and trinkets were displayed and sold. Many people believe that Eastern State Penitentiary is haunted. SUBSCRIBE NOW $3 for 3 months. Here's how Eastern State Penitentiary, Six Flags Great Adventure, Bane Haunted House and more are adapting to life under COVID-19. This prison first opened in 1829 and operated until 1971, it was designed to hold 253 inmates. Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia. Old cemeteries and abandoned asylums. Eastern State Penitentiary The world's first penitentiary—and most expensive, at one time—housed dangerous criminals like Al Capone, Leo Callahan and Freda Frost. Eastern State Penitentiary has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.. Certain locations scream possessed by ghosts. Previous 1 of 1 Next. As early as the 1940s, officers and inmates reported mysterious visions and eerie experiences in the ancient prison. Each cell was solitary confinement for the prisoner’s entire sentence. 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