Cornwall Jail, Ontario, the jail had it’s last official prisoner in 2002, before the war of 1812 the original courthouse was used as barracks, the courts were held in St John church and local taverns. 14 years later it burnt down, the new jailhouse was completed in 1834. It has a plan for 50-60 prisoners but was often over capacity with around 100.

Only 3 guards were on duty at any time and exercises in the courtyard for example, could not be controlled. It’s possible this led to some of the suicides in the jail. One of the suicides took place in the building, belts and shoelaces had been removed but he still found a way to hang himself from the bars, after his suicide Plexiglas was installed. The second was a suicide that took place overnight in a busy prison, and it seems strange that even with it being overcrowded it took a while for anyone to find them, did they have a cell mate I wonder?

Ten inmates were hung at the gallows before executions ended in the courtyard in 1954. Peter Balcombe, a 24 year old man, was the last hanging at the jail on the 25th May 1954, he had been found guilty of murder. Many of those executed were buried in the courtyard, a new section was added in the 1960’s, three ‘cells’ were laid in the ground, supposedly they were used for punishment but there appears to be no record of their existence.

In 2005 the jail opened as a tourist attraction for Ontario, whilst it is there for a historic purpose there are also those who are interested in the paranormal side too. Reports have included hearing the sounds of trolley movement, cell doors that were closed the night before would be found open the next day; or vice versa. Numerous orbs have been caught on photography or film, staff have reported hearing a humming from a male, some believe that woman and children also haunt the jail. TAPS investigated and aired a show from the site.

Cornwall Jail

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