As Halloween approaches, many seek the most haunted places around Idaho to get a good scare. If that is your desire, there is one destination that must be on your list: the old Idaho State Penitentiary.

many people on tours cannot proceed past Cell House 5 due to being overcome with grief

When you do some research on the history, it's no surprise why many ghost hunting teams request special access to the old penitentiary. Here are just a few of the grizzly events that have happened within these walls.

  • One of the most notorious serial killers in history (from the Magic Valley), Lyda Southard (Lady Bluebeard), was housed in the women's ward.
  • Cell House 5 was the maximum security area and came equipped with its own gallows and death row. Haunted Places To Go documents that many people on tours cannot proceed past Cell House 5 due to being overcome with grief.
  • The Rose Garden is where the portable gallows used to be. Haunted Houses has reported many apparitions and cold spots in this area.
  • The solitary confinement area is known for extremely cold spots and also the occasional sighting.
  • Violent riots occurred in 1971 and 1973 causing widespread damage and inmate deaths.

The local Wiki page for Boise describes one event that many believe are tied to the reported hauntings.

October 18, 1957 Raymond Snowden was punished for his crime, he was hung to death. However, this was not a normal hanging. When the trap door was released to drop Snowden to his fate, the observation glass window, separating him from the witnesses, shattered from the rattling. Snowden dropped through the floor, but his neck did not break as it was intended, consequently he struggled for almost fifteen minutes while the observers upstairs could now hear him suffering since the window separating them was broken.

If you would like to explore the penitentiary yourself, there are many special tours offered including the Frightened Felons tour October 28 and 29. There are also Friday night tours available in November.

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