Nevada State Prison – Beyond the Cell Bars

Nevada State Prison – Beyond the Cell Bars


For 150 years, from 1862 until its closure in 2012, the Nevada State Prison located in Carson City, Nevada stood as a grim testament to a history filled with chilling tales. Ravaged by fire in 1867 and again in 1870, the prison proved its resilience by being rebuilt with quarried stone using the labor of inmates. 1871 saw a harrowing chapter unfold as 29 inmates sought freedom by force, plunging the prison into chaos. Armed with stolen guns, they unleashed a wave of violence that spilled out beyond the prison walls, resulting in Lieutenant Governor Frank Denver being wounded and the tragic loss of two lives. Amidst the turmoil, justice was served with a heavy hand with two inmates meeting their fate at the gallows. Though most were captured, the mastermind behind the escape remained elusive, casting a shadow over the prison’s legacy.

The imposing exterior of the Nevada State Prison takes you back to when prisoners faced the stark reality of incarceration within these walls.

In 1901 a change in law mandated all executions were to be done by hanging, John Hancock was the first to face this fate in 1905. The introduction of double gallows in November of the same year, lead to the largest multiple execution in Nevada’s history with four men hung for murder. Two Native Americans met the same end in 1906. Legislation in 1910 gave inmates a choice between shooting and hanging, with Andriza Mircovich being the only prisoner executed by shooting in 1913. The prison adopted the gas chamber in 1921, that saw 32 executions. Lethal injection replaced this in 1983, with serial killer Carroll Cole becoming the first inmate to undergo this form of execution in Nevada in 1985.


Over its 150 years of operation, the prison witnessed murders, escapes, hostage crises, gang clashes, riots, and staff assaults. With a history as dark as the Nevada State Prison its no wonder it has become synonymous with paranormal occurrences. Strange anomalies have been captured in photographs taken within the prison, showing unusual shapes and shadows that cannot be explained.

Visitors often sight dark apparitions and shadow figures moving throughout the corridors and lingering behind corners

Visitors to Nevada State Prison have recounted hearing eerie noises that echo through the halls and corridors. Noises reported include; knocks, whistles, loud bangs, moans, and blood curdling screams. The sound of heavy disembodied footsteps walking up and down the hallway is said to be a common occurrence, often striking a sense of dread into those who experience them.

Nevada State Prison bore witness to inmate anger and violence throughout its 150 years of operation

EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) have been captured revealing disembodied voices and mysterious whispers. Several witnesses have sighted dark shadowy figures and ghostly apparitions within the darkness of the prisoner cells. These reports definitely add a feeling of discomfort to the already ominous and heavy atmosphere of the prison.

The third floor prisoner cells are known to experience ghostly bangs, knocks, whistles, footsteps and disembodied whispers

The third-floor cell block and the death chamber of Nevada State Prison stand out as particularly notorious hotspots for paranormal activity, here the haunting experiences involve a feeling of sorrow with some visitors having difficulty breathing and needing to leave the area immediately. People often describe a dark and foreboding feeling associated with the gas chamber.

The gas chamber saw the execution of 32 condemned men between 1924 and 1979 and is a hotspot for paranormal activity

Legend has it that the vengeful spirit of serial killer Carroll Cole is said to roam the corridors of the Nevada State Prison, mainly targeting women who dare to step foot inside its haunted walls. The presence of Cole’s ghost adds an aura of malevolence and darkness to the ominous atmosphere, causing a sense of unease for those who sense his lingering spirit within the prison’s confines.

In 1983 legislation changed the method of execution to lethal injection, serial killer Carroll Cole was the first inmate to be executed in Nevada by lethal injection in 1985


If your interested in experiencing the haunted Nevada State Prison firsthand, you can plan your visit by contacting the Nevada State Prison Preservation Society for tour schedules and ticket information. Be sure to prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey into the past to learn about the truly dark and haunting prison history, including the changes to capital punishment and the hotspots where your likely to come into contact with a spirit or two. So don’t miss your chance to explore the paranormal side of the Nevada State Prison – book your tour today and step into a world of ghostly incarceration.

During my visit I could feel the weight of history around every turn with a story waiting to be told inside every cell

If you enjoyed reading about the paranormal happenings at the Nevada State Prison then you may also be interested in reading about the ghosts of the infamous Old Washoe Club, once dubbed “The Millionaire’s Club”.

Thanks for reading!


About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Check out Amy's other work over at Amy's Crypt.

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