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Terror Behind the Walls

Premier haunted house in Philadelphia’s historic prison

Terror Behind the Walls

A pair of massive gargoyles keep watch over the entrance to Terror Behind the Walls. Credit: Courtesy Eastern State Penitentiary


September 20 – November 9, 2013 (Select days)

Overview of Terror

The massive Eastern State Penitentiary — a gothic, castle-like structure in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood — is also home to one of the nation’s largest and most ambitious and top-rated haunted attractions, Terror Behind the Walls.

Once the most famous and expensive prison in the country, Eastern State Penitentiary now stands as a living ruin with long empty cell blocks and remnants of the past. The frightening setting and professional scares make Terror Behind the Walls one of the country’s top-ranked haunted attractions.

Designed to be high-startle, Terror Behind the Walls includes Hollywood-quality special effects and lighting, digital sound, animatronic creatures and custom props. Over 200 performers are needed for six separate attractions in the 11-acre complex.

Frightening Experiences

Now in its 22nd year, Terror Behind the Walls is darker and bloodier than ever in 2013. Visitors can now decide if they want to be fully immersed in the frightening action, marking themselves to be potentially grabbed, held back, taken into hidden passageways and maybe even become part of the show through the six terrifying experiences.

Highlights of Terror Behind the Walls include the redesigned Gauntlet, a chaotic glimpse into daily prison life; Lock Down, a riot inside Cellblock 12, said to be the most haunted spot inside the penitentiary; Detrius, a walk through an original 1800s cellblock and the overgrown prison greenhouse; Infirmary, a frightening look into the world of prison medical treatment; The Experiment, a disturbing, 3-D fun house; and Night Watch, a pitch-black, disorienting trip the the narrow hallways of the penitentiary.

Visit Philly Discount

Purchase your tickets online with code “VISITPHILLY13” and get $3 off adult tickets. Note that the discount is not valid Saturdays in October and cannot be combined with any other discount.

Buy Tickets Now

Date Night at the Penitentiary

Looking to make a romantic night of it? Try Fright and a Bite, a dinner package offered by eight of the Fairmount area’s best restaurants to complement your Eastern State fright fest.

Enjoy a Halloween-themed meal — think “mummified salmon with Bloody Mary sauce” — at such neighborhood restaurants as Rembrandt’s and Jack’s Firehouse. Your meal includes a Terror Behind the Walls quick pass, which allows you to move to the front of the line after dessert.

Insider Tip

Eastern State Penitentiary, a grim, 172-year-old former state prison, was once home to famous inmates Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Pained former prisoners are said to haunt Eastern State’s dark Gothic halls.



Eastern State Penitentiary N. 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-3300

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In the neighborhood

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