So the story begins on a cold November night, different in some ways –it wasn’t quite cold enough to snow so it was a rainy, dark and foggy drive. After about an hour and a half we arrived at the looming structure of the old Mansfield Reformatory. It is almost haloed by the lights of the state prison that was built to replace it glowing from behind. Upon our arrival we got out of the car stretched our legs a bit and headed over to the main doors to get signed in. This wasn’t just a three hour tour this was the whole night.
We signed in and walked back to the car. The night air wrapped around us like a cold wet blanket. It was time to commence loading our camera bags with all the necessary equipment-snacks (check), flashlight and backup flashlights(check), extra camera batteries (check), disposable hot packs (check), and layers and layers of clothes, not too bulky though so we could squeeze in tight places if needed. We were ready we headed back up to the stairs where we waited with others and received a quick list of the rules.
At this time we were given a choice-go on a tour with a leader before we wandered off on our own or just head out on our own. We looked at each other and agreed –off on our own it was. We explored and investigated figuring the maze of hallways and buildings out. About 10:30 pm one of the volunteers stopped us and said going dark in 5 minutes. Oh the thrill of those words. Here we were in this beautiful enormous structure and all the lights would be off-just the glow from the new prison coming through the windows of the old cell blocks.
Well we explored for hours-climbing in and out, up and down and squeezing into all kinds of places. Our flashlights lit the way, and occasionally we would just stop and quietly listen as we breathed in the thick dusty air.
Did we have some interesting experiences that night? Yes of course we did, we laughed, explored, jumped a time or two (I have to say the life size human cut outs from Shawshank Redemption scared the crap out of us more than once) had a bit of human interaction as well a bit of the supernatural.
ere to edit.