Jail of Terror – Full Review

Jail of Terror is a Haunted Attraction located in Newark, OH.

46 S. 3rd Street, Newark, OH 43055
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted House


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 14, 2022 by Team Teachers of Terror.

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Final Score: 8.09

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Halloween isn’t Halloween without the ghosts, so what better place to get into the Halloween spirit than to spend some time in a haunted building?

The Historic Licking County Jail is currently the site for Jail of Terror, a haunted house featuring the beautiful building and unnerving past of some of the inhabitants. To appreciate the overall theme here, it helps to understand how this historic building was set up when it was used as a jail, as this drives home the theme of the ghosts and evil about the place.

Built in 1889 as a jail for any inmate, the building also includes the sheriff’s and family’s living quarters and the matron for the ladies and juveniles housed on the top floor. According to the website, there were 22 confirmed deaths here, many by suicide. Featured on the history tab on the website is the murder (in the line of duty) of 17-year-old Carl Etherington by an angry mob.

Using this potential ghost sighting info as a backbone for the theme, we began our Halloween tour by meeting a ghost hunter displaying a nervous tick or perhaps “coming down with something.” We were informed about “potential” ghosts of the building and even got a chance to check out some paranormal equipment. From here, we got the opportunity to walk through the jail hallways, open cells, and the basement, all the while dodging the sketchy characters coming our way.

When not doing a Halloween haunted house, customers can come out to join paranormal investigation tours. The jail has been featured on Travel Channel’s hit show “Ghost Adventures” in 2014 and also in the film “God Don’t Make the Laws.”

Cast Score: 8.38

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Cast Review:

For the space within the haunt, there seemed to be an adequate amount of characters. Our first stop landed us in a small room with a deck and a ghost hunter. Something seemed a bit off with her, but we learned about the ghost problem and even got to try out some ghost-hunting equipment.

Walking down the hall between cells, it was fun to try to guess which cells were empty and which cells had a “friend” waiting on us. Add intense music, heavy fog, lighting effects, and escaped actors running at us in the hallway, and a new fear was unlocked. We had characters banging on walls with their hands and with whatever weapons they happened to have on hand. We saw more than one actor climbing the bars on the cells, and hovering above us over partitions. We were put into situations where we shared a cell with some questionable ghosts/people who tried to play off as being helpful and kind, but just beneath the surface, we could tell they were menacing. Maybe the severed leg they were cradling like a baby or the cackle in their laugh felt a little out of control.

Others were aggressive right from the get-go, and all we could do was hug the wall and hope they would soon lose interest in us. We found ourselves in some bizarre situations, with being asked about Franklin, then being whisked away closer to the basement for our safety, the one place we were already told was the epicenter of some unseen evil. We heard screaming off in the distance but were also screamed at “up close and personal.” We heard growling and even a few hard-to-place accents here and there. At one point, some fella in prison overalls had us lined up against the wall for inspection as part of some sort of intake process. We made a few new friends who invited us to stay and play, but we felt a strong urge to keep moving forward. We still aren’t sure this was a good plan because, in one part, we watched a scared nurse “turn” right before our eyes into a new member of some kind of evil group. We had characters walk up close to us from the front and middle of the group. We were also followed closely as if WE were the thieves that needed to be monitored! We somehow found ourselves guests of honor at a human BBQ, and let me tell ya, these folks are starving! Not only did they say so, but one guy was eating the toes off of a still-cooking body!

Costuming Score: 7.96

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Costuming Review:

The jail is very dark. Costumes were varied, including work overalls, (solid, striped, and dirtied)tops with the classic black and white prison stripes, nurse scrubs, a T-shirt with the word “inmate” written on it, hospital gown, butcher apron, and other indiscernible dark clothing. We saw a mixture of make-up and masks. We noted many actors in the haunt having various face injury applications, and others were simply dirtied.

The primary queue actor wore a more modern outfit and mask that was cool to look at, but we didn’t catch exactly how it went with the haunted jail theme. He held his axe out at us and waited patiently while everyone had their phones out taking selfies with him. We did see a sheriff in full make-up and costume but did not get to interact with him.

Customer Service Score: 9.72

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This attraction does have a website with useful information. They include a schedule, tickets that can be purchased online, and a map with directions and contact information. There is a disclaimer to inform guests about the various conditions they may encounter here and the typical health warnings. As a bonus, they include historical information about the building and a paranormal tab detailing some paranormal information about the building.

When we arrived at the property, which is well-lit and easy to spot, we quickly found the staff to answer any questions we had and were more than happy to get us to where we needed to be. The street between the parking lot and the haunted attraction was conveniently blocked, allowing us to easily move from the parking to the ticketing area.

Immersion Score: 7.7

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Immersion Review:

The queue lines were organized, and we could hear music playing to entertain the crowd. Of course, the beautiful building was in plain view to also enjoy. We got to interact with one queue actor in line, and a couple of ladies in the group met a second fully-dressed actor at the restrooms. The lighting on the building and the signs posted indicated to us we were indeed in the right place.

The story was set up in the first room, and given the Richardsonian Romanesque building style, the story was believable. We were entertained and engaged during our entire time inside the haunt. The haunt ends at the basement stairs leading up to the side of the building, so we didn’t get chased by chainsaws and such. We were threatened and closely followed by a large gang of actors that showed us all they did to the visitors before us.

Special FX Score: 8.05

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Special FX Review:

The best animatronic of the night goes to the electrocution chair. It came complete with screaming and sparking. The mannequin in the chair looked heavy and very realistic. We saw several static props with varying amounts of realism. There was a girl curled up on a bunk that looked incredibly real to us. We came to a stairwell and saw a headless hanging victim, a fall victim, and also an impaled victim. All through the haunt, we found bloody and decaying human body parts.

We noticed a change in music on every floor that kept us interested. Some music had a suspenseful feel, while others were used to pump us up with adrenaline. We also caught the sounds of thunder with some lightning effects and glass shattering. In other areas, we were exposed to the sounds of alarms and sirens.

Some areas were very dark, while other areas were thick with fog. We noticed some areas had different colored lighting, including red and also purple. Some powerful strobe lighting also blinded us.

We enjoyed the ghost-hunting props given out to us at the very beginning of the haunt.

Scare Factor Score: 7.58

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Scare Factor Review:

We were startled here and there by some traditional jump scares. Actors were popping out behind walls and doors, and running up on us in the dark. Not only that, they seemed to know where we were at every turn, and would let out loud bangs here and there.

We were disoriented by the strong fog and strobe light shining at us. We had characters telling us conflicting bits of information so that we didn’t know who to believe. We were also forced to walk in a single-file line around a narrow path between the wall and a massive BBQ pit (in the dark) with actors splitting our group in half and hovering above us. Those alarms were also effective at confusing us further.

Some actors used their general proximity to us to intimidate us, whether standing face-to-face with us or following us (nearly right against us). Others marched right up to us through the fog, and we had nowhere to hide.

They also messed with our minds in different places. We started right off learning about the ghosts here in this old jail, and then played around with some hunting equipment. Later on, a member of our group was singled out to go be a cellmate to a prisoner (who just happens to be carrying around the dismembered leg of her last cellmate (that’s what she told us, and we believe her). We watched a scared nurse “turn” right in front of us into a sinister being. We were instructed to face the wall for inspection, making us feel a little vulnerable and unsure of what would happen since we couldn’t see what was happening behind us.

Entertainment & Value Score: 7.69

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E&V Review:

General admission costs $25, fast pass is $40, and front of the line is $60 a head. They do offer a discount on the general admission price for groups of 20 or more.

Our walkthrough time was right at 15 minutes, bringing our minutes of entertainment per dollar to 0.6.

Outside the haunt, we were impressed with the architecture of the old jail. Entertainment consisted of the music playing for the crowd and our queue actor moving among the lines of waiting guests. Inside the haunt, we were in contact with someone, and many times, several actors at a time throughout our entire time inside. We were happy to hear of this haunt re-opening this season and we can’t wait to see where the future takes them.

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Pics We Took From Our Visit:

Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

Teri Long – 10/10October 22, 2016
This place is super haunted! Then you add creeps chasing you down to the mix? BRILLIANT! Very …show more psychological haunt that you won’t soon forget!!

Chris Long – 10/10October 30, 2015
Fantastic show, great make -up and actors!!!!! And the jail is off the charts!!!

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