A Tour Of This Haunted Prison In Connecticut Is Not For The Faint Of Heart
Since 1707, Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine has been a part of Connecticut’s history. It’s no wonder this National Historic Landmark is considered a place that will give you more than a few chills. But, are those chills really because of restless spirits forever imprisoned in the tunnels of New-Gate Prison, or are they because the underground tunnels are consistently a damp 52 degrees? Whether you believe in wandering spirits or not, the history of what was once considered the worst prison in the country is worth a look.
Located in East Granby, before it was a prison this was the site of a colonial copper mine. Efforts to ore the mine ran from 1707-1750. Eventually, the cost was more than the copper's worth and mining ceased.
Old New-Gate opened as a state prison in 1773 with its first prisoner, John Hinson. He was sentenced to a 10-year burglary conviction and escaped 18 days later. Every type of criminal from Loyalist prisoners-of-war to violent murderers were imprisoned behind these walls.
During the Revolutionary War, there were three major escape attempts by Loyalist prisoners. It was estimated that of the prisoners held in Old New-Gate during the Revolutionary War about half managed to escape.
Prison conditions at Old New-Gate were considered the worst in the country and earned itself the name of "Hell." There was no natural light, prisoners were often kept in iron chains, air circulation was nearly nonexistent, and there were no opportunities for hygiene.
A total of 23 deaths were recorded in the prison during its time. Two known deaths were Aaron Goomer who was killed in 1802 during a prison uprising and Abel Starkey who fell to his death by trying to climb a rope up the well during a prison escape the day before the prison closed down.
The prison and copper mine has served as a tourist attraction and state museum since the 1850s. A structural repair project began in 2009, with the site reopening on July 14, 2018.
During tours, alleged spirits have been seen in the tunnels. There have been reports of loud screams, and claims of being touched, voices are heard through the tunnels. Some people only claim to feel a heaviness and sense of dread.
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115 Newgate Rd, East Granby, CT 06026, USA