Paranormal Investigations

Eastern State Penitentiary is available for private paranormal investigations on select evenings from 9 pm to 1 am from April through August. Eastern State staff will help the group navigate the building and answer questions about the penitentiary's history, but will not offer training or equipment for paranormal investigations. It is the responsibility of the group to provide their own equipment and program.

Paranormal investigations are available for groups of 5 - 15 participants. The cost is $100 per person. Pricing is for a four-hour investigation from 9 pm to 1 am.

Groups wishing to rent the penitentiary for paranormal investigation are required to make reservations in advance online. Full payment is due at the time of booking.

Each participant will also receive a complimentary general admission pass for a daytime prison tour ($14 value). These passes will be emailed with your confirmation and are valid between 10 am and 5 pm on any operating day through December 31.

Eastern State Penitentiary does 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. However, staff members or contractors may be working in the building during the investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are there refunds if I need to cancel my investigation?

A 100% refund will be issued for any paranormal investigation cancelled two weeks in advance. Investigations cancelled less than two weeks prior to the investigation date, including no-shows, will be issued a 75% refund.

The same refund policy applies to both the cancellation of the entire investigation, as well as the cancellation of individual tickets above the five-person minimum.

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

Paranormal investigations can only be booked up to to six months in advance. Reservations are first come, first served. Please see the availability calendar on our booking form.

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.

What areas of the penitentiary will we have access to?

A map of the areas typically accessible during paranormal investigations is available for download. Approved areas are licensed by the City of Philadelphia for nighttime tours. Eastern State staff is not able to grant access to additional locations. Some areas may be periodically closed for routine maintenance, construction, repairs, or other reasons.

Will I have to fill out a waiver?

Yes, everyone attending a paranormal investigation is required to fill out a waiver. Waivers can be printed and signed in advance.

Is any additional insurance required?

No additional insurance is required for paranormal investigations.

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

Yes. It is the responsibility of the group to bring their own equipment and to 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.

How should we dress?

The building has no climate control. The floors are stone, and are occasionally uneven. We do not recommend wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.

When should we arrive?

We recommend arriving at 8:45 pm. Our staff will greet you at the penitentiary’s entrance on Fairmount Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets. All setup and breakdown must take place within your four-hour window.

Is there parking?

Paranormal groups are welcome to park inside the penitentiary complex during the investigation; however, no oversized vehicles are permitted.

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

Yes, paranormal groups are welcome to use our “Recharge Station” as their Base Camp. Located in a former warden’s office, this space is centrally located and has climate control, seating, electric, and complimentary Wi-Fi and cell phone charging.

Is there electricity available?

Limited electricity is available in some areas of the penitentiary. A map of accessible electric outlets is available for download. Investigators are welcome to use any open outlets as shown on this map. No Eastern State equipment may be unplugged from any outlet. Due to their location, breaker boxes are not accessible during paranormal investigations; therefore, any tripped breakers will remain off for the rest of the investigation.

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.

Will the Museum Store be open during our paranormal investigation?

Unfortunately, we are not able to keep the Museum Store open during paranormal investigations. The Museum Store is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is not required to shop at the Museum Store. In addition, most of the items in the Museum Store are also available for purchase online.

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.

Is Eastern State Penitentiary haunted?

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