• Maureen Elsberry

Is Idaho's Deceased Jack the Ripper Still Serving Time at Old State Pen

This post originally appeared in full at ToTheStars.media.

Looming pensively at the bottom of a hill in Boise sits the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This prison first opened in 1872 and housed some of the West’s most notorious criminals over its 101 years of operation. According to the Idaho State Historical Society, more than 13,000 inmates including 220 women spent time here. Ten out of Idaho’s eleven executions took place behind the walls, with an estimated total of 110 individuals dying from disease, old age, or murdered by other inmates.

In 1971 and 1973, due to years of horrendous living conditions, inmates rioted, successfully burning down the church, cafeteria, and other buildings on the property. They were then moved to a newer facility outside of town and the doors to Old Pen closed in December of 1973. The complex sat empty for years until it was deemed a historical place and re-opened as a museum. Staff and guests have witnessed many strange occurrences on site, leading many to believe that some of the inmates never actually left, especially, it’s most infamous prisoner, Raymond Snowden.

Snowden, who was a real grade-A jackass, was known as Idaho’s Jack the Ripper after committing a particularly gruesome murder and later admitting to committing two more. On September 23, 1956 he lured mother of two, Cora Dean, away from a bar and gave her the enticing offer . . . rape or death? What girl could resist? Cora accidentally chose death and Snowden pulled out his 2 and 1/4 inch pocket knife (probably the same length of his puny dick) and stabbed her more than thirty times as well as severing her spine. The murder weapon was found just outside of the cigar store he was spotted in that evening, using the restroom to clean up. In 1957, Snowden was the first and last man to be hung in 5 House, the maximum security unit. When the sentence was carried out, his neck failed to break, and it took fifteen minutes before his last gasp of air. Today, he is said to haunt the bar he met Dean in, the cigar store, and, most notably, 5 House. Apparently he’s much better at getting around after death.

On a particularly ominous Friday the 13th, along with my colleague Jason McClellan and his wife, we joined Boise’s chapter of the International Paranormal Reporting Group for a night-time investigation covering six buildings on the premises. Equipped with cameras, Mel Meters, and audio recording devices, we began our hunt for evidence of the ghostly kind.

To continue reading this story, please visit here: Is Idaho's Deceased Jack the Ripper Still Serving Time at the Old State Pen?

Want to visit this location yourself? The Idaho State Historical Society runs the museum and plenty of activities of the ghostly kind. Find out more.

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