Shrewsbury Prison: The Ghosts And Shadows Behind Bars

Shrewsbury Prison

The History Of Shrewsbury Prison

There has been a prison on this ominous land in Shropshire, England, for over two centuries. This now-forsaken institution, constructed on top of the original Georgian prison in 1877, is also often referred to as The Dana, as it is near the site of an old mediaeval prison that was known as Dana Gaol, named after Rev. Edmund Dana. 

This haunted penitentiary has witnessed multiple executions where prisoners were hung and cases of suicide occurring within its malevolent walls. The bodies of the executed prisoners were buried within the prison’s unmarked graves; however, according to the Ministry of Justice, nine were exhumed and cremated. Their ashes were scattered on the grounds, which they’ll now haunt for eternity.

In 2013, Shrewsbury Prison officially shut down. After various ideas of what should become of the grounds, it was officially bought by the Campbell Group in 2020, who have been operating the site as an attraction for the last five years and swore to continue doing so. 

A Dark Tourism Destination

Isn’t it strange how thousands of tourists flock to this prison and pay to experience a life so many convicts dreamed of escaping? Some spirits are still held captive inside The Dana’s walls to this day.

There are multiple tours and paranormal events as well as an escape room and even axe throwing available at this immersive dark tourism attraction.

Guided tours

These tours are led by prison guards and are an excellent experience for the whole family. You’ll explore the exercise yards and the inside of this abandoned prison. Your tour guide will even take you into the execution room to learn about the spine-chilling history and what it was really like for prisoners behind bars in Shrewsbury.

Self-guided tour

If you dare, you can also wander around the hallways of The Dana without a tour guide. You’ll be given a map and the chance to explore every corner of the prison at your own pace.

Ghost tours

This ghost tour is the only tour that’ll take you into the Georgian underground tunnels. It takes place every Wednesday and an ex-prison officer will take you through the prison and into the A-wing. It is here where the Shadow Man is often seen walking the landings. This is the perfect tour to bring your ghost-detecting gadgets on.

You’ll hear the spine-chilling stories of the Grey Lady and little Georgian boy as you experience for yourself what life behind bars was like… But more on the ghosts that haunt these premises later.

Prison break challenge – Escape Room

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attempt a prison break from an actual jail house? Shrewsbury’s jail offers state-of-the-art escape rooms that’ll make your heart race. Fully immerse yourself in this dark tourism attraction with this thrilling escape room experience.

There are also various prison break events that are held on the property. You’ll be put behind bars and have to overcome multiple obstacles to conduct a successful prison break and earn your freedom. If only the original prisoners had been as lucky…

Ghost Detecting Gadgets

You can’t embark on this adventure behind bars without taking some equipment with you. You’ll certainly want to detect the supernatural energy that can’t always be seen with the human eye.

Definitely consider packing these essential ghost-detecting gadgets:

  • EMF meter/EMF Analytic Pro App – Both this device and the app are great for picking up the change in electromagnetic fields when a ghost is present.
  • 8 GB Digital EVP Recorder – This will detect low-frequency sounds that the human ear won’t be able to pick up.
  • Kodak PixPro Camera – IV and UV light filters have been removed, so you can take photos and videos in full spectrum.
  • Pendulum – Light and easy to travel with, you can wear this pendulum around your neck and use it to communicate with the spirits by asking “Yes” or “No” questions.

Prison Life: Past Paranormal Sightings

Although it now operates as an immersive dark tourist attraction, the prison is still believed to hold prisoners captive within its walls…

During the tours that regularly take place in The Dana, there have been reports of multiple paranormal encounters.

Ghost-hunting teams have ventured into Shrewsbury Prison to gather evidence of paranormal activity that allegedly takes place behind bars. There are strange sounds and unexplained phenomena coming from the cells that are assumed to be haunted by the convicts who used to inhabit them.

One recent encounter between famous TikTokers Dan Spragg and Adam Oakley took place in June 2022, when after asking an entity what cell number it was in, it responded with “Cell 6” and “Do not!”

Creepy, right? 

The Shadow Man

The restless spirit that has been spotted the most by visitors on jail house tours. The Shadow Man haunts the end of the A-wing in Shrewsbury prison. People have claimed to see his massive shadowy figure standing in a doorway where he is said to have died.

The Grey Lady

You’ll spot the Grey Lady walking the landings of the C wing. While her true identity is a mystery, some believe that she’s the ghost of a nurse who used to tend to the sick and injured prisoners. A few people who have had closer encounters with this spirit claim that she appears to be wearing a Victorian-era uniform.

Little Georgian Boy

This young ghost makes himself visible as he creeps through the dark and chilly tunnels of the Georgian prison. Why he haunts these corridors remains a topic of speculation among visitors. Perhaps, if you’re curious, you could take the interactive talking bear with you on the ghost tour to communicate with this young spirit yourself.

FAQs

Why did they shut Shrewsbury Prison?

Shrewsbury Prison was mainly shut due to the government’s decision to modernise the prison system. The goal was expensive to maintain, so it was shut down in 2013. Today, it operates as a tourist attraction, hosting self-guided or guided tours as well as prison break events. It’s a great opportunity to experience a real prison. And you can even try your hand at axe throwing.

What was filmed in Shrewsbury Prison?

Shrewsbury Prison has been featured in many movies and TV series. Some of the more widely known ones are:

  • Atonement
  • Time
  • Lucky Man
  • Brassic (Season 3)

What category is Shrewsbury Prison?

Shrewsbury Prison is an old, closed-down jail. It falls under the category of historic and decommissioned prisons. It’s known for its eerie ghost stories and spooky sightings that may stick with you if you happen to see them in person.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fascinated with the history of the most haunted prison in England, interested in the reality of prison life or just want to test your nerves by attempting a prison break, Shrewsbury Prison is worth a visit.

Exploring The Dana promises a glimpse into the harrowing world of incarceration, but brace yourself—this is not an excursion for the faint-hearted. The goal houses both a dark past and the lingering presence of tormented souls. It’s no wonder it has been quoted as being the “6th Dark Tourism Destination in the World”.

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Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!