560 King Street West, Kingston, ON

Status: Former Maximum-Security Prison; Closed; Heritage Property

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Kingston Pen 1.JPG

By <a href="//" title="User:P199">P199</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link

Kingston Penitentiary (c. 1901).jpg

By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="">Internet Archive Book Images</a> - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="">Image from page 11 of "Souvenir views of the city of Kingston Ontario, Canada, and the Thousand Islands, River St. Lawrence" (1901)</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0Link


Built between 1833 and 1834 and opened on June 1, 1835 this site was chosen for the prison due to the immediate access to both water and limestone And, of course, lots of fresh air; which was the 19th century’s cure for pretty much everything.

In 1845 the wooden walls were replaced with the concrete ones; the guard towers were built and the north gate house was finished. Between 1859 and 1861 the dome connecting the 4 cell blocks was built.

There were 2 major riots in the prison’s history: 1) 1954 when 2 million dollars of damage was done to the buildings – mostly by fire – and needed to be broken up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Army troops; 2) 1971 which is considered one of the worst prison riots in history, lasted 4 days and resulted in the death of 2 inmates. A committee was created afterwards to study the reasonable demands made by the prisoners including more recreation time, overcrowding, and lack of professional level staff.

The criminally insane who were found responsible for their actions were kept in the banally named Regional Treatment Centre.

In late 20th century the prison became known as a dumping area for the worst correctional guards in the entire Canadian system. A RCMP investigation would eventually end in the firing of 8 guards due to this.

Kingston Penitentiary housed the absolute worst of the worst including James Donnelly of the Black Donnellys, Wayne Boden – the Vampire Rapist, Grace Marks – the maid who murdered her employer, Clifford Olson – the child molester and murderer, Michael Rafferty – the killer of Victoria Stafford and Paul Bernardo – the schoolgirl killer and Scarborough Rapist.

On April 19, 2012 the Canadian Federal Government announced that the Penitentiary would be closed and began plans to do so. On September 30, 2013 the facility was closed.

When it closed the prison was one of the oldest operational prisons in the world.

Many different levels of historical tours of the facility are available.


Paranormal Activity

Both inside and outside – to quite a distance from the walls – people report a deep feeling in their gut that they are in danger and to leave as quickly as possible.

There is a pervading sense of evil as well. One so powerful it feels as if all goodness has been wrenched away leaving only a coldness that drains all positivity from everyone.

In the Regional Treatment Centre (RTC) the ghost of the William Wentworth – the last employee to die on site – makes his presence known by the jingling of his keys. His apparition – more of a shadow figure – is seen in the building as well. In November of 1961 Wentworth was stabbed to death – during his overnight shift - on the third floor of the RTC; his murderer has never been caught.

He is generally seen checking the cells and most people believe he is still doing his job and keeping the violent mentally unstable prisoners under control.

The ghost of George Hewell haunts the cell blocks. He was shot by a guard in self-defence in 1897 and vowed to curse the prison with his dying breaths.

Other Reported Activity: apparitions of former staff and inmates including angry prisoners running through the halls screaming; time slips giving people terrifying views of the facility’s past including the riots, violent escape attempts and murders; disembodied laughter, screams, cries, voices and breathing; unexplained noises from loud bangs to people hearing their name whispered; cold and hot spots; objects moving on their own; electrical disturbances including batteries being drained in seconds; sudden winds out of nowhere; unexplained mists; physical sensations of illness including nausea, dizziness and migraines; empathic sensations of fear, depression, anger and hatred; light anomalies including ones that interact with the living and feelings of not being wanted, not being alone and being watched.

It probably doesn’t need to be said but please remember this site is filled ghosts of some of the worst people that ever lived; there are undoubtedly numerous dark and nasty entities on this site; so be careful.