220 North Prison Hill Road, Yuma, AZ


Status: Former Prison; Museum and Tourist Attraction



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By Ralph HawkinsCC BY-SA 3.0Link


This prison was opened in 1876 while Arizona was a Territory and a not a State yet. On July 1 of that year, it accepted its first inmates – including both women and men – whose crimes included everything from polygamy to murder.

In 1909 the last prisoner left this institution and was transferred to the Arizona State Prison in Florence.

From 1910 – 1914 the complex was used as the Yuma Union High School – and you thought your high school was a prison. The Football Team adopted the name the Criminals or Crims for short.

The site is now is now run by Arizona State Parks – it was the third historic park created in Arizona – as a historical museum. The site contains the old prison cemetery where the remains of at least 104 former prisoners rest.

3,069 people served sentences in the prison before it was closed. Approximately 109 died in these walls by execution, violence and suicide.

Paranormal Activity

In 2019 this location was voted the best haunted destination to go to in the USA.

The Death Row inmates have been seen still eternally serving their sentences and endlessly wandering the grounds. The ghost of a woman is seen walking the edge of the Colorado River forever seeking her daughter who drowned. A little girl in a red dress is known for pinching visitors before running away.

The most paranormal activity has been reported in the area of the Dark Cell where prisoners who broke the rules were put as punishment. There are no recorded deaths near this cell but the energy is reported to be one of anger, hopelessness and despair. It is said the negative energy pouring from this cell empowers the entire haunting.

Other activity: unexplained temperature changes; feelings of being watched and not being wanted; being followed and a myriad of other emotions; light anomalies; phantom voices; phantom footsteps; unexplained noises and being touched, pushed and pulled by unseen forces.