Museum

Ghost Hunters

Rotary Jail opens its doors to paranormal enthusiasts

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The last inmate was released from Crawfordsville’s Rotary Jail in the early 1970s, but ghost hunters believe the cells are still haunted by the spirits of criminals who met their demise behind bars.

Paranormal enthusiasts are getting special access to the Rotary Jail Museum this Halloween season during “Grim Stories & Ghost Hunting,” which runs for the next two weekends.

The jail, which opened in 1881, was the site of two public executions and three accidental deaths blamed on a fire in the maximum security cell and two alcohol poisonings in the “drunk tank.” That history leads some visitors to chalk up the creaking sounds of an old building to the supernatural.

“I’m a skeptic at heart … but there have definitely been sounds that send goosebumps through my body,” said Elizabeth Peck, a docent.

During the event, visitors receive a detailed guided tour of the jail and sheriff’s residence and, for the first time in the museum’s history, are allowed to ride in the rotating cell blocks. The visitors, who can bring their own ghost hunting and recording devices and equipment, are then given the rest of the night to investigate.

Some guests have reported experiencing sounds and hearing words being spoken in areas of the building.

“There’s definitely a lot of screaming in the museum when that happens,” Peck said.

Tours begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Oct. 29-30. Tickets cost $35 and are available at rotaryjailmuseum.org/upcomingevents.

Admission is limited to 20 people per night to allow for social distancing.

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