Terror Behind The Walls
22nd & Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA

Terror Behind The Walls is a walk-through haunted attraction located within the Historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA. Built in 1829, this massive stabilized-ruin is still one of the top 5 creepiest places I’ve ever been.

‘S’ and I arrived around 3pm for a daytime audio tour of the penitentiary (Photos) and a behind -the-scenes tour with Creative Designer Jason Ohlsen. ( Behind-The-Scenes Feature: Coming Soon! )  

A major addition for 2012 is, Detritus, a 7th attraction that adds an extra 5-7 min to the Terror Behind The Walls experience.  Detritus is located behind the Greenhouse, and provides an opportunity to explore a section of the penitentiary that was previously closed to the public.  

Is it Scary?

According to their Official Website: “You bet it’s scary. We do our absolute best to terrify you and your friends. Just imagine being inside an 11-acre abandoned prison at night.”

The Raven & Black Cat says:  Fear is subjective, but Terror Behind The Walls is a family-friendly event that is heavy on startle scares and probably won’t cause any lasting psychological damage. I can’t say the same for Eastern State Penitentiary. 

Here’s A Tip

Get tickets for the daytime tour, too. The daytime tours of Eastern State Penitentiary are very scary in a completely different way. Walking through the stabilized-ruin in broad daylight is overwhelming. Without the haunted attraction to capture your attention you are forced to focus on the true horror of what happened there . A heavy ominous feeling permeates the air. As audio tour narrator Steve Buscemi  put it, “if ghosts exist anywhere, they must be here.”

What We Loved

The costumes, make-up, and character development integrate seamlessly to create each of the detailed creepy characters lurking inside the prison. ‘Lock Down,’ the harrowing journey down cell block 12 and ‘The Infirmary,’ with its rusted deteriorating medical equipment (and decomposing staff) are chilling stand-outs two years in a row. The electrifying ‘grand finale’ of Terror Behind The Walls utilizes flawless misdirection and provides the perfect ending to a night at the penitentiary. 

What Could Be Better

Terror Behind The Walls has perfected the art of the thrilling family-friendly haunted attraction. In a manner similar to their family nights, which are targeted to younger children, we would love to see what would happen if they added a few special late-night events to make the experience even scarier. 10 minutes alone in solitary confinement, perhaps?

Final Thoughts

Terror Behind The Walls has mastered the startle scare and uses it to create a truly family friendly event that is the perfect combination of creepy and fun. Last year, I called it the Disney Land of Haunted Attractions. I stand by that statement.  

Terror Behind The Walls Runs

September 21st  – November 10th

Ticket Information

Ticket prices vary by night.

  • General Admission: $20 – $37.50  
  • General Admission w/ Quick Pass: $25 – $52.50
  • After Dark VIP Tour: $49.50 – $99.00
  • Alone Package: $499.50 –  $999.00

Discount Ticket Offers

  • Student Sundays: Students w/ valid ID half price after 9pm
  • $5 Off (Use Code: 13Haunts

Age Requirements

Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent of guardian. No children under the age of 7 are permitted on site. Ages 7 – 12 are encouraged to visit on Family Nights, held each Sunday until 9 pm.

Additional Information

Photographer: Tom Bernard

Photographer: Tom Bernard

Photographer:  Jeff Fusco

Photographer:  Jeff Fusco

Photographer: Douglas Alan Bailey

Photographer: Douglas Alan Bailey

Photographer: Jeff Fusco

Photographer: Jeff Fusco

A glimpse inside from The Raven & Black Cat

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie2UJBqcJvM?fs=1&feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=360]

A Connoisseur's Compendium of Haunted House Reviews, Victorian Horror, and All Things Dark and Macabre.