t the top Halloween destinations, you can be frightened out of your wits in one of America's most notorious prisons. If that sound's too frightful, then you can travel to a bed and breakfast to sleep with a ghost.
AFor the young and young at heart who love the hair-raising, breath-taking, shiver-inciting splendor of All Hallow's Eve, a Halloween getaway is the perfect fix in October, according to travel experts.
The massive Eastern State Penitentiary -- a gothic, castle-like structure in downtown Philadelphia -- was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. With stark towers and soaring fortress walls, Eastern State was designed to intimidate.
It was home to the notorious Al Capone, at right, and the flamboyant bank robber, "Slick Willie" Sutton, but stands today in ruin, a lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers.
This is the home of one of the nation's largest and most ambitious haunted attractions, Terror Behind the Walls, Presented by LUKOIL. The event is currently ranked the nation's fifth best haunted by America Online, and called "perfect for Halloween" by The New York Times. It is currently in its 17th year. It's listed as one of the top 13 professional haunted attractions at right.
The penitentiary will add a new attraction for 2007: Lock Down will be the largest and most sophisticated design yet. It incorporates custom-built animatronic props, high-tech lighting effects, and digital sound. It creates the illusion that the walls of metal bars are electrified. There are five haunted houses within the 11-acre prison complex.
Many people believe that Eastern State is haunted. The historic site's website features extensive television, video, and website links that claim to document real paranormal activity inside the 179-year old prison. Footage captured on the second tier of Cellblock Twelve during filming of The Sci-Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters is perhaps the most controversial ghost sighting of the past ten years.
All proceeds from Terror Behind the Walls benefit the preservation of Eastern State Penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark. The haunted attraction does not affect operation of the historic site, which remains open for daytime prison tours seven days a week. For more information, the public can visit the penitentiary's website.