Mansfield Reformatory takes haunting new twist with Blood Prison

MANSFIELD, Ohio -- It's going to be dark with creepy music playing and actors dressed in ghoulish garb lurking in the Ohio State Reformatory this Halloween season during "Escape from Blood Prison."

Fans of the ghoulish Halloween tours, which attract thousands of people each fall to the Ohio State Reformatory, are in store for some new haunted experiences beginning Oct. 12.

The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society this year has put Vic Amesquita of Bucyrus and his team of artists in charge of scaring people in the prison-turned-museum haunted event.

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For almost two decades, the Reformatory has been a top Halloween venue in north central Ohio. 

This year, fans of the OSR haunted Halloween tours are in for some surprises although Amesquita did not want to release too much information, seeking to preserve the element of surprise.

Fans of the annual event will definitely see some horror props at the prison along Reformatory Road off Ohio 545. And there is a new outside attraction for the first time.

The Halloween-themed event is the preservation society's biggest fundraiser, allowing the board members to make renovations and repairs to the structure, which serves as the site for many events, including Civil War encampments and weddings.

See photos of the prison:

Haunt manager Amesquita said the full-blown Halloween tour at OSR, which allows visitors to meander through the stately structure at night, officially opens to the public at  Oct. 12 and continues Thursdays through Sundays until Nov. 5. Visitors will see the historic cell blocks, as on past tours, Amesquita said.

Amesquita is not new to things haunted. He previously worked for Crestline's Robert Kurtzman, a famous Hollywood film director and special make-up effects creator who was in charge of last year's OSR haunt.

This year Amesquita is in charge of directing a team of haunt experts and about 80 actors, he said.

Amesquita said the haunt worked around the Hollywood filmmakers making "Escape Plan 3" at OSR with Sylvester Stallone this fall. Hollywood will be long gone when the haunt starts.

"It's been fun and I knew people on the crew," said Amesquita, who used to work as a film production crew member.

Filmmakers this week still had equipment setup inside the prison so Amesquita's team will have to hustle to finish their work when the film wraps. 

Amesquita said the prison is the perfect backdrop for a haunt and people are going to be scared.

"That's the goal," he said.

IF YOU GO

When: Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 12 to Nov. 5. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tour hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Thursdays; 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Where: Ohio State Reformatory, 100 Reformatory Road, off Ohio 545 just north of US 30.

How much: General admission is $20. Upgrades are available, including touch passes and speed passes, and a no-wait pass for $40. Visitors must be 13 or older.

Learn more: www.bloodprison.com.

Copyright: Mansfield News Journal


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