The Old County Jail in Clay County, Florida and the 1890 Historic Courthouse nearby are full of history and are fantastic locations to visit and to conduct research. Over the decades, the Old Jail housed infamous criminals and the 1890 Courthouse was the site of numerous noteworthy trials. Some cases, when studied, are signs of the times. Additionally, some believe these locations are hotbeds of paranormal activity so they have become go-to destinations for ghost hunters. Built in 1894, the old jail was in service until 1972. Six documented executions by hanging occurred on the front steps. Electronic voice phenomena (EVP), unexplained video and photographic anomalies have all been recorded. You are welcome to walk through the jail during the regular Archives Center business hours Monday through Thursday. Paranormal investigations can be scheduled at the discretion of Archives Specialist Vishi Garig at 904-371-0027. Groups, if requested tour is approved, may be required to provide proof of liability insurance coverage.
Ghosts in the Old County Jail?
The SyFy Channel’s most successful show, Ghost Hunters, filmed an episode in the Old County Jail and in the 1890 Courthouse.
While investigated by various local and nationally recognized paranormal investigators, the most notable attention came from the “TAPS Team” from the popular television series Ghost Hunters. The historic courthouse, the Archives offices and the Old County Jail are highlighted in the second half of the episode, “A Textbook Case”. Other recognized paranormal investigators such as CAPE Paranormal Investigations, the Jacksonville Paranormal Research Society & RIP Team, Scott Tepperman of Ghost Hunters International, and Patrick Burns have all explored the creepy cells decorated with peeling paint, cobwebs and empty rusting bunks. The CW 17 television show “Local Haunts” filmed its pilot episode at the jail.
Investigators claim to have consistently recorded electronic voice phenomena (EVP) in the empty cells. These investigators tell of voices, footsteps, shuffling of feet, and the sound of cell doors creaking open. Their cameras have caught unexplained apparitions and photographs show unexplained anomalies. And most creepy of all, the “jailbirds” like to touch the investigators, believe it or not.