Idaho's Jack the Ripper

So a penitentiary isn't normally where you would expect to find the friendliest of ghosts, and in this case, that assumption would be entirely accurate. A few weeks back the SPARC team visited Old Idaho Penitentiary. We had a blast, because we’re the weird people that have fun running around haunted buildings that used to house an entire state’s most violent criminals.

Kent and Emily reading inmate’s stories

Kent and Emily reading inmate’s stories

In terms of overall experience it was great, and I would totally recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in Boise. The staff was fantastic, well-informed, and the exhibits were detailed and interesting. We toured ourselves around using a map of the grounds (to be exact, Shannon toured us around because directions are not a strong suit of mine or Kent’s). There were workshops and laundry facilities, isolation areas, and maximum security among other things.

As we walked from building to building, I will be honest and say I did not feel much activity. Now, analyzing the situation, there were likely a few reasons for this. There were not many people around, but still there were some, which can disrupt energy, and it was also the middle of the day, and hauntings tend to be more active at night. So this is how things progressed until we reached the final building we would tour that day. Downstairs there were some maximum security cells and a room that had functioned as a infirmary for a short time (no one got good vibes here). As we climbed the stairs, myself, my dad (Patrick), and my sister (Shannon), all felt a shift in the atmosphere. As I walked into a room on the left as you come to the top of the staircase, I felt uneasy. I thought there may be someone else in the room so I went to the hallway behind the cells that the guards used. Nope, no one. Just me. Maybe?

Shannon in Building 2

Shannon in Building 2

Shannon followed next. I decided to watch what she did to see if it was just me or she got the same vibes. Sure thing, she walked in and turned straight for the hallway to look and see if anyone was there. Then she came up to me. By this time I was standing in front of the cells looking in. She came up next to me and said, “I don't like this room, I get bad vibes.” “Me too,” I said. She walked out and I continued to read the stories of those who spent the end of their lives in these cells, because this was death row. There were only four cells in this room.

When I reached the last one, furthest from the door, but closests to the area of the hallway where we both felt a presence, I read about a man who is referred to as Idaho’s Jack the Ripper, Raymond Snowden . Convicted for a violent and bloody murder, and claiming to have had at least two other victims, he was hanged in 1957. His execution was long and drawn out as it is reported he did not die for several minutes. While the tales say you can still hear him struggling for air, that is not the experience we had with him.

Old Idaho sign

Old Idaho sign

As soon as I was in front of his cell I knew this was the energy I was feeling. Stabbing a woman 30 times among other injuries, and potentially having other victims, this was the kind of negative presence I was sensing. It was strange, like I was being watched. But not as if someone was observing, more like someone was trying to be threatening, in almost a smug manner.

Anyway, neither Shannon nor I were interested in spending too much time hanging around death row after our eerie encounter, so soon after we headed to the gallows and then bid farewell to Old Idaho Penitentiary.

Investigating there would be extremely interesting I think, and I hope we have the opportunity one day. Maybe we will get to meet some other inmates and hear more about Raymond’s story. In the meantime, I hope to get some more experiences in penitentiaries and prisons because, ya know, that's the kind of thing we do for fun. And I’ll leave you with this beautiful shot.

Mug shots

Mug shots

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