Paranormal Investigations

Eastern State Penitentiary is available for rent for private paranormal investigations. Our guide staff will help the group navigate the building and answer questions about ESP's history, but we do not offer training or equipment for paranormal investigations. It is the responsibility of the group to provide their own equipment and program.

Groups wishing to rent the Penitentiary for paranormal investigation are required to make reservations in advance using our online booking form.

How much do paranormal investigations cost?

The minimum cost to conduct a paranormal investigation at Eastern State Penitentiary is $500. Groups are charged $25 an hour for each person in the group. Each group must have at least five people at the Penitentiary for a minimum of four hours. The price of investigations will vary based on the number of participants and the length of the group's stay.  Each participant will also receive a complementary pass to experience our daytime prison tour programming.  Theses passes are valid any day between 10 am and 5 pm (last entry 4 pm) and will be mailed with your confirmation. 

What is the minimum / maximum number of people I can bring?

To book a paranormal investigation, you must have at least five people, but not more than 15 people. Please book your investigation for the total number of people you have confirmed at the time of booking. If you need to adjust the number participants later, you may do so provided the change is made no later than five (5) days prior to your investigation. Details of how to adjust the number of participants will be provided in your confirmation letter.

When are paranormal investigations available?

You can book a paranormal investigation any night between 6 pm and 1 am, based on availability. Most groups book a four-hour investigation from 9 pm to 1 am. Please note: paranormal investigations are not available between September 5 and March 16. To see if a specific night is available, please see our availability calendar listing all available nights for the next six months.

Can I book an investigation more than six months in advance?

No. We only book paranormal investigations up to six months in advance. Reservations are first come, first served. Please see our availability calendar listing all available nights during the next six months.

How do I book a paranormal investigation?

Paranormal investigations must be booked online using our online booking form. We do not accept phone reservations for paranormal investigations at this time.

Is a deposit required when booking a paranormal investigation?

Yes, a $200 deposit is required when booking your tour. This deposit will be applied to your rental fee and can be paid with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover, and is nonrefundable provided one of your three requested dates is available. The balance of the rental fee can be paid when your group arrives with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, money order, check, or cash.

If I am not a member of an official paranormal organization, can I still book an investigation?

Yes, even if you are not part of an organized paranormal group, you can still book a paranormal investigation. Please keep in mind that it is the responsibility of the group to provide their own equipment and program.

Do you book more than one paranormal investigation group on the same night?

No. We do not book multiple paranormal investigation teams at the same time. Your group will be the only paranormal team in the building when you conduct your investigation.

Is there a minimum age requirement for paranormal investigations?

Yes, anyone attending a paranormal investigation must be 16 years of age or older. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Are there any special restrictions due to Eastern State's status as a National Historic Landmark?

Yes. Eastern State Penitentiary is a National Historic Landmark, and the preservation of the building and its artifacts is the primary focus of all activity on the property. All spaces must remain undisturbed. Nothing on the site may be moved, removed, touched or otherwise disturbed. Take nothing but photos and video, and please do not leave any trash or personal belongings behind.

What areas of the Penitentiary will we have access to?

During the investigation, the group will have access to all public areas as well as selected non-public areas of the Penitentiary complex including Cellblock 12 and the outdoor areas on the west side of the complex. A map of the accessible areas is available for download.

Will I be able to wander around on my own?

No. Your group must stay together and will be accompanied by a member of our guide staff (one guide per five visitors) at all times.

Can we bring cameras, video cameras, digital recorders, etc?

Yes. It is the responsibility of the group to bring their own equipment and take it with them when they leave. Eastern State Penitentiary is not responsible for lost equipment.

What can't we bring?

Please use your common sense. Alcohol and weapons are not permitted inside the Penitentiary complex. Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the Penitentiary complex, including outdoor spaces within the walls.

When we arrive, is there a place we can set up?

Groups are welcome to use the Center (Rotunda) for staging (limited electricity is available) and are welcome to bring snacks, coolers, chairs, blankets, etc.

Is there electricity available?

Yes, limited electricity is available in some areas of the Penitentiary. A map showing the location of electric outlets in the areas accessible for paranormal investigations is available for download.

How should we dress?

The building has no climate control. During the late fall and winter, the cellblocks are often much colder than the outside air. The floors are stone, and are occasionally uneven. We do not recommend wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.

Will I have to fill out a waiver?

Yes, everyone attending a paranormal investigation is required to fill out a waiver form. Waivers can be filled out in advance and can be downloaded from our website.

Is any additional insurance required?

No additional insurance is required for paranormal investigations.

Is there parking?

Eastern State Penitentiary does not have designated parking. There is ample free on-street parking and a private parking lot right next door. Parking costs generally range from $3.00 to $10.00 depending on the length of your stay. For exact pricing, please call Parkway Corporation at (215) 569 - 8400 x4037.

You may unload equipment in front of the Penitentiary's entrance, but vehicles are not permitted to drive into the Penitentiary Complex.

Will the Penitentiary Shop be open during our paranormal investigation?

No. Unfortunately we are not able to keep the Penitentiary Shop open during paranormal investigations. The Penitentiary Shop is open every day from 10 am – 5 pm. Admission is NOT required to shop at the Penitentiary Store. In addition, most of the items in the Penitentiary Shop are also available for purchase though our Online Store.

Is Eastern State Penitentiary haunted?

Many people think so. See our Real Ghost Sightings page to see what they have found.