PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former inmates and guards gathered at Eastern State Penitentiary Sunday to reminisce about the days when the prison was anything but a tourist attraction.
Long before “Terror Behind the Walls” was a Halloween treat for thousands of tourists, Eastern State was truly a horrifying place.
“I was the youngest prisoner here, I was 19. I was terrified everyday. It was a very deadly place. I was terrified, but I never let it show — you couldn’t.”
John spent three years of his life here and says it wasn’t easy for him to return. His family wanted to see the Halloween exhibit and he finally came back after more than 40 years.
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Linwood Johnson was a corrections officer for almost 10 years.
“It brings back a lot of memories. I was involved with the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
Both men say it’s surprising how much the facility has deteriorated since it closed in 1971.
Reported by Mike Dougherty, KYW Newsradio