115 Lafayette Street, Jefferson City, MO

(866) 998-6998

Status: Former Maximum Security Prison; Tourist Attraction


Paranormal Investigations Can Be Booked


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When Jefferson City was named the capital of the new State of Missouri in 1922 it was thought that building the State’s first prison in the city would solidify it being the capital.

In the early days of the State it was by no means secure that Jefferson City would remain the State Capital.

The stone mason who built the first State Capitol building was hired to design the prison. The State allocated $15,000 ($496,000 in 2023 dollars) to construct it.

The prison was built by the original 15 prisoners with one guard and the warden. 14 of the men were incarcerated for larceny and one for stabbing a man in a bar fight.

The prison was opened in March of 1836; the same month and year the Alamo fell in Texas for reference.

Notable inmates included Charles “Sonny” Liston who would become the World Heavyweight Champion boxer for 2 years until he was dethroned by Muhammad Ali; the gangster Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd and James Earl Ray who assassinated Martin Luther King.

From 1938 to 1965 39 inmates were put to death in the facility’s gas chamber. There were no more executions in the prison until 1989 when George “Tiny” Mercer became the only person executed by lethal injection at the prison.

When the Potosi Correctional Center opened in 1989 the prison transferred all 70 of the death row inmates to the new facility.

There were 2 major riots in the prison’s history. One in 1930 and another in 1954.

In 1974 Lillian Bonds became the first female correctional officer to work in a male prison in the State.

The prison closed in 2004 – at the time it was the oldest operating prison west of Mississippi River – when the new Jefferson City Correctional Center was opened.

The prison – once called the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time magazine – is now open as a tourist attraction. Numerous paranormal tours are available as well as 2 types of overnight investigations.


Paranormal Activity

Near the control room in some of the housing units a ghost nicknamed “Fast Jack” is seen. He is thought to have been a worker in the medical facilities as he is always seen in a white lab coat and carrying a clipboard. He usually speeds down hallways but is also known for walking through walls.

Jack once opened all the lockers in a room in a matter of seconds.

In Cell 48 – which was once home to a known snitch who was beat to death with a sledge hammer in 54 riot – people report a heavy feeling and a misty human form has been captured on the cameras.

In the old female wing the ghost of a woman in out dated inmate clothes is seen. Unexplainably, the ghosts of children and a dog are seen there too.

The apparition of a man dressed in an out of date prison uniform is seen leaning against a fence.

Other reported activity: apparitions of former inmates and guards; touches, pokes and prods by unseen entities; coins falling from nowhere onto the floor; time slips; disembodied voices; unexplained sounds from whispers to loud bangs; phantom smell of body odor and cigarette smoke; shadow figures; ghostly figures moving at speeds well beyond a living human; objects moving on their own; electrical disturbances; light anomalies; empathic sensations of dread, anxiety and sadness and feelings of being watched, not being alone and not being wanted.