Students visit Eastern State Penitentiary

Elizabeth Brennan

Over the course of the last week, Villanova students ventured into Philadelphia for a night full of terror at the Eastern State Penitentiary haunted house Terror Behind the Walls.

On Oct. 20, 24 students and six resident assistants from West Campus visited the prison.

“I did it for a community builder,” said Will Clifford, a resident assistant in Welsh Hall on West Campus. “I took my residents and we worked together on it. It was a bonding experience, and it was successful.”

The group ventured into the night to explore the haunted prison.

“While we waited in line to get in, people dressed up as zombies came up to people waiting,” Clifford said. “There was a guy dressed up like a cannibal and he was freaking people out. He looked pretty real.”

The 11-acre complex hosts thousands of visitors each Halloween season. It is located on 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue in the heart of Philadelphia.

Terror Behind the Walls is one of the most popular Halloween attractions in the United States. Brave visitors walk through the same cells and walls that prisoners such as Al Capone once did.

“We almost had some people back out,” Clifford said. “It took some convincing.”

Clifford and his residents were not the only group to walk through the haunted prison.

Last night, Residence Life sponsored another trip to the Philadelphia prison, which over 50 students attended.Visitors to the Penitentiary are exposed to the Penitentiary’s 177-year-old rec yard, where they encountered goblins and people dressed as inmates.

“I had heard a lot about it and when I saw the flyers I could not pass up on the chance to go,” said freshman Jamie Noonan, president of St. Monica’s inter-hall council. “I love Halloween, and I was so excited to go to the haunted house.”

The tour lasts about 45 minutes and has six different attractions, including a 3-D portion.

Tours run until Nov. 7.

“We walked through the path of the jail,” Clifford said. “At the end you can look down the hall and see Al Capone’s cell.”

Capone, a notorious Chicago mobster, spent eight months of his life in the Eastern State Penitentiary in almost complete isolation.