(Burlington County Prison Museum)

128 High Street, Mt Holly, NJ

(609) 265-5476

Status: Former Prison; Non-Profit Museum; Ghost Tours Available



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Designed by Robert Mills this modern – at the time – prison was designed to not just service justice but also reform the criminal. This was in direct opposition to the nightmarish hell hole prisons in Britain at the time.

Construction was begun in 1810 and the first prisoners were jailed in 1811. Large rooms were constructed for holding multiple prisoners not considered dangerous; like debtors. On the top floor there is a cell – with shackles still present – for the most dangerous prisoners.

The prisoners on death row were kept in the basement. There were seven people executed on this site; all by hanging. That being said the sheriffs doing the hanging had no experience in it resulting in grisly deaths – most of them died slowly by strangulation rather than quickly by snapping the neck.

Two other people sentenced to death were held in the basement but taken to a meadow in Hainesport to be hung.

Staff and prisoners have been murdered in the building.

The prison closed in 1965; at the time it was the oldest still operating prison in the United States.

Shortly afterwards it was turned into a museum which it remains today.


Paranormal Activity

This is one of the most accessible sites with a high level of paranormal activity in North America.

The first report of paranormal activity on this site dates back to 1833 after the hanging of Joel Clough. The phantom smell of cigarette smoke was reported by both the guards and prisoners in the basement. The phantom sounds of chains rattling and moans were also reported.

During renovations done in the 1990’s workers saw apparitions throughout the building and reported unexplained sounds. On more than one occasion their tools disappeared only to be found in locked cells.

Cell doors slamming shut and disembodied voices are described as a daily occurrence in the building.

The ghosts here are famous for interacting with the living and will often answer questions posed to them.

To this day Joel Clough – who murdered his girlfriend after she said no to his marriage proposal – still wanders the building. There have been numerous EVP’s captured where a male ghost identifies himself as Joel. He is said to be especially active on the anniversary of his execution; July 26.

In the basement people feel as if as if they are being choked. Many believe this is due to Albert De-Salvo being jailed here. He went on to become one of America’s most famous serial killers – the Boston Strangler.

The apparition of a tall man in uniform is often seen in the basement.

The third floor is said to be the most active in the building.

Other Reported Activity: shadow figures known for moving through walls; electrical disturbances; objects moving on their own; light anomalies and feelings of being watched.