Every year, Terror Behind the Walls turns Fairmount’s Eastern State Penitentiary into an even more haunted house. For 40 terrifying minutes, visitors wind through the former prison’s cell blocks and wait for inmates, wardens and other undead residents to defend their turf. Metro caught up with ESP’s director of programs, Sean Kelley, and Joe LaRussa, a performer and zone manager, to make sure it’s not really haunted. Right guys?
Why host a haunted house at ESP?
LaRussa: It’s built to intimidate.
Kelley: It’s a 680-foot castle. There are towers and battlements and is literally a space made to hold people against their will.
It’s naturally creepy, but what effects are used?
Kelley: We put less emphasis on special effects because the building is one of the main focus points. But we use 3-D effects and intermingle 3-D illusions with physical props. We try to stay away from fake blood — it’s too easy and it’s gross, not scary.
Do you think the prison is actually haunted?
LaRussa: I believe that the building is haunted. I haven’t personally experienced anything, but I have workers who have had experiences and some people refuse to go into an area.
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