The Old Licking County Jail in Newark, Ohio is known for its immense amount of paranormal activity and has been featured on multiple paranormal shows. We will be sitting down and speaking with Teri Long who is the Paranormal Director at Old Licking County Jail/ PPRS Investigator and also Brendan Shay Co-Founder of PPRS (Project Paranormal Research Society). We will be discussing the background of the jail, types of activity, and basically everything we can cover about the Jail, and PPRS's involvement with the Jail. (http://www.projectparanormalresearchsociety.com/)
Old Licking Jail is dark...it's haunted...and it's frightening!!
Having being featured on paranormal shows like Ghost Adventures, Resident Undead and also in the paranormal film "God Don't Make The Laws".
Once you set foot into this haunted Jail you will immediately understand why this is one of the most haunted and most popular locations to investigate.
The very haunted Old Licking County Jail in Newark, Ohio is a haven for full blown ghostly apparitions. The horror that was encountered, endured and experienced by many former inmates leaves the residual energy here purely terrifying.
Many guests and visitors have heard cell doors slamming, other have heard cries of help coming from areas that have been locked off, and still others have been touched and pushed.The dungeon area is one of the most active and frightening areas, which has left many previous guests fleeing and refusing to continue.
Excerpts taken from “The History of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office”
By Sgt. Chuck Patterson
On June 12, 1888, the County Commissioners’ bought the P. Smith & Sons lumber yard on the southeast corner of South Third and the canal, for $11,000.00. They then made public announcements that in 40 days they would receive bids for the building of “the finest jail and Sheriff’s residence in the state.”
The Commissioners’, Probate Judge, County Clerk, Sheriff Andrew Crilly, and one citizen were appointed by the Common Pleas Court to review plans and specifications of the new jail. J.W. Yost of Columbus, one of Ohio’s renowned architects made the plans and specifications of the new jail. This jail wold be the first to house the Sheriff of the county. It would be four stories with and attic, and basement. It would segregate men and women on separate floors.
In July the County Commissioners’ accepted the bid of $68,685.00 from the local Hibbert & Schaus Company to build the new jail of Mimllersburg stone. Millersburg stone is a long lasting easy to carve and quarry brown sandstone. Isaac D. Smead Co. of Toledo won the bid for the heating system. Kammerer & Myers won the bid for the roofing and copper work, Potts and Reed of Columbus for the gas pipe and plumbing, and J.H. VanDoren of Cleveland for the iron and steel work. The Commissioners’ also spent $1,716.10 on furniture for the Sheriff’s residence from a company in Toledo.
On May 16, 1889 the newspaper says ” the stone was cut all ready to put in place, like that of Solomon’s temple, during the wild weather of last winter……built as it is of Millersburg brown stone with trimmings of white stone artistically cut and carved with frogs, snakes and other designs. During this time period, three major mid-America sandstone quarries existed. Each had its own dark grey colored sandstone quarried new Berea, Ohio. The third was Tippecanoe stone which is white, and was quarried in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. There was a flare-up by the newspaper against the Commissioners’ because the jail cost doubled its bids. Deductive reasoning seems tosuggest prices increased due to the shipping of the sandstone, each stone weighs from one to two tons and the stones would have had to be transported miles from Millersburg to New Philadelphia to catch a canal boat to come to Newark. That would have taken a tremendous amount of time by freight wagon to the canal boat for shipment. It is believed that the stones would have been shipped by train, with a more direct route to Newark although the price would have been far more expensive.
The jail was completed in November of 1889 and had a public open house on Friday and Saturday, November 29 and 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. There had been some changes in the plans and it went over the $68,000.00 bid. The total cost $120,000.00. A carriage house/stable was built behind the jail that was later converted to a garage, and then eventually torn down in the late 60’s or early 70’s.
Sheriff Crilly was the first Sheriff to live in his jail. This amenity had been the perk of the jailor for the last 80 years. Sheriff Crilly established new rules for the new County Jail, and notices posted advised the public that they would be strictly followed.
This jail is actually the 4th jail of Licking County. The first was formed and established in 1808 on the Court House Square. It was a round log-cabin type building with two stories and burnt with the original Court House in 1815. The second was built in 1815 in the rear of the Park House Hotel, on East Main Street (Wendy’s Restaurant) and the jail was erected where the County Administration Building stands. It was a hewn log building and also was two stories tall. It was later converted into a stable. The third was built in 1840 on the south side of the canal (Canal Street) between First and Second Street.
1887 for being “unsafe and dangerous to both the safety of the persons therein confined and insecure….no ventilation, fireproofing, separation of males and females and thus the whole building with its arrangement and conditions is a disgrace to our county”, as reported by the Licking County Grand Jury.
Jail five – The New Generation Jail, in the 1970’s American and Ohio penology was changing. It was changing. It was calling for stricter compliance to standards made for full service county jails. Ohio instituted the Ohio Minimum Standards for Jails. Ours didn’t have the fire escapes, sprinkler systems, proper ventilation, proper lighting, proper dining facilities, and proper bedding areas. The method of surveillance of the inmates needed improved. The state wanted to shut the jail down. Judge Neil Laughlin said he would have to comply with the State’s requests unless variances could be worked out until a new jail was built. The Common Pleas Court, Commissioners’ and Sheriff were all worried of future law suits due to the condition of the Third Street Jail.
The jail has three floors of cell blocks for males containing eight cells each that held four bunks each. There were ten women’s cells on the fourth floor. Thirty-two inmates were held in a cell block area of 640 square feet, or 20 square feet per man, including cells. The cell sizes were eight by eight feet, so each of the four men in a cell, if locked down had 16 square feet to live in, not including the four bunks and toilet/sink combinations. While the 1889 jail was built for 96 men and 30 women (126 total), in hard times the jail held as many as 165 inmates, by putting the mattresses on the floors. Cells were locked-down by means of iron levers and geared wheels. The heating was by hot water and in the winter time windows had to be opened to let the temperature come back down to the upper 70’s. Inmates were fed from little aluminum “dog dishes,”and they ate in their cells.
Lighting was poor and inmates and deputies could not see well. Even when the cell blocks were painted in an off-white instead of the typical black and grey, the hallways were still dank and stark. Even the detective bureau had to be housed in a little mobile home next door to the jail. But the county received variances, and the jail was constantly inspected by the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Cells had to be reduced to two men per cell. The total population had to drop to 68. The “dog dishes” were replaced by stainless steel meal trays and two meal tables had to be installed in the six foot by sixteen foot recreation area. Electric cell locking devices were installed. More officers in the form of civilian jailers were hired, so inmates could be monitored 24 hours a day. Commissary was given, and color, cable TV made its debut. So efforts were made to select a site and build a new jail.
For the last fifty years, but more so for the first fifty years of 1900, the Sheriff in Ohio became the confiner of the afflicted person. When a person acted strange, or was infirm, or in many cases normal- but not to others, a citizen went to the Sheriff and made a complaint on the person. The complaint was reviewed, sometimes, by a physician, and then the Sheriff took the person to the state mental institution. In the county Lunacy Records, you will find these examples: Mrs. Smith aged 56 committed to Athens Mental Hospital, diagnosis- fits due to the change of life. Mr. Jones aged 22 committed to State Mental Hospital, diagnosis- cannot adjust to married life. Mr. White committed to State Hospital, diagnosis- fits probably due to worms.
Through the ongoing efforts of the Licking County Governmental Preservation Society’s Archival team, the collection of historical documents, artifacts and memories are actively being collected, cataloged and preserved. Our hope is to have an environment where the communities at home and at large will be able to interact with these collections and gain a further understanding of life in the 19th century as it relates to the Historic Licking County Jail.
If you are interested in contributing to the archival effort, please contact us.
Listen in as the history of one of the most historic locations in Licking County is revealed through local residents with a real life connection to the Historic Licking County Jail.
You can listen to some oral histories of the jail, courtesy of the Licking County Records & Archives Licking County Historic Jail Oral History Project.
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