Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville - Walls Unit

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Although it hasn’t been in use since the 1950s, this unit, an abandoned death row, is said to be haunted. Witnesses describe apparitions and unexplained sounds here as well as on the nearby catwalk; it is reported that on one Halloween, a correctional supervisor recorded the sound of a disembodied voice saying “Hey captain” along with the sounds of clanging cell doors.

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Geographic Information

Address:
12th St and Ave I
Huntsville, TX
United States

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GPS:
30.722492924730375, -95.5464949558197
County:
Walker County, Texas
Nearest Towns:
Huntsville, TX (0.3 mi.)
Riverside, TX (12.4 mi.)
New Waverly, TX (13.3 mi.)
Oakhurst, TX (13.7 mi.)
Trinity, TX (18.4 mi.)
Pointblank, TX (19.9 mi.)
Willis, TX (20.9 mi.)
Panorama Village, TX (23.8 mi.)
Bedias, TX (24.2 mi.)
Midway, TX (24.2 mi.)

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Comments (23)

    • WILLIAM JOHN RIGNEY JR.  |  

      death row hasn’t been here in years. the men’s death row is in the polunsky prison now. used to be in the ellis prison for years. too many escapes. the women’s death row is in the mountain view prison just west of gatesville, texas. in olden times when the electric chair was in operation, and people on death row didn’t go through 20 years of appeals before “riding the lightning” death row inmates were kept in cells right behind where the death chamber was. at first, before there was a “death chamber” or separate room, the electric chair was operated at the end of the cell block, where i understand the wires still show. the prisoner was “fried” right in front of his fellow condemned prisoners. how is that for something weighing on your mind as you sat there? and you also got to watch your companion unstrapped and removed afterward. now that really sux! but no death row at the WALLS prison, which is the original texas state prison by the way, for years and years. male or female, they take you down there a day or so before when it looks like you are going to make the trip. they cut another door into the same death chamber where the electric chair used to sit. painted it brighter colors, made the control window larger, and put in a few holding cells next to the new door. i understand the “gurney” they put you to sleep on now is bolted to the same mounts in the floor that used to hold the electric chair. and there you go. that is all i know. there it a good reproduction of the death chamber used to look with the electric chair the star of the exhibit. texas prison museum on interstate 45 north of huntsville. enjoy! i have photos. email me.

    • The Walls unit is no longer death row. Death Row in Texas is located in Livingston, Texas. However, EVERY TEXAS INMATE THAT IS RELEASED is released FROM THE WALLS UNIT!!!

  1. I live right behind it. This unit had never been “non functional” since it opened. It is still open and houses hundreds of inmates.

    • WILLIAM JOHN RIGNEY JR.  |  

      i think mandy he was referring to the original death row cell block. it hasn’t been used since the days of the electric chair. yes the prison is still in business. i have a friend who did time there.

  2. The Walls is haunted as hell, but operational. It’s the oldest prison in Texas and isn’t closing anytime soon. COs and convicts alike have stories to tell when they come out. The unit is not Death Row, but it IS where the executions take place. Consequently it’s also where inmates are released from when they parole/discharge. So one way or another, if an inmate ends up at the Walls, he’s going home.

  3. the EVP referencing the “captain” might be referring to the same man that the prison cemetery in Huntsville is named after, Captain Joe Byrd.

  4. The original cell block is no longer in use except for movie shoots. This is where the Indian chief killed himself and apparently can still be heard.

  5. The unit is open, I was an inmate there, the death chamber, is used, as I recall, it was a place to go see the doctor, you can still see the markings on the floor.
    the wires are NOT visible, there is nothing there to see, But clean marks on floor where ole sparkie was, the exception’s were a spectator sport as it were. I was there when they would move the food for the witness to eat, more of a snack,

    I was stuck on the yard once while the exicutation van was on the lot, they made DAMN sure I seen nothing….

    This is NOT a pretty thing, it will change you. aslo this place is NOT HUNTED

  6. i was an inmate ther for a cuople of yr an saw many thing’s go on with the guards . at one time they put an inmate inwhat they call ”’the last call”, it’s a blocked cell with no windos or door’s just a bean hole through there they would shower you and feed you and some times the guards would come in and rape you and then bet you till you turn blue only becuase they want to .a lot of men died in the prison. some times you cuold hear some one talking or crying when everybody was asleep. or you cuold see people walking around in the middle of the night when everybody was locked up in ther cell. it’s not a place for anybody to go. i used to buring the inmates that died all the time, we wuold throw them in the holes.

  7. I do not know if I would have ever believed the hype about the walls until I received orders to report. I still do not know if I believe all the hype.

    One night last winter at approximately. 2100 hrs. I was performing picket duty over watching the yard, 4 building ,tunnel and the medical building. When i noticed a light had turned on, on the 4th floor of the medical building. And because I wasnew to the unit.
    I called down to the duty desk. Were I was informed that it is impossible for anyone to be up on the floor listed. It had be sealed up years before. And was told its the gost of some inmate screwing with me. Never the less for the next 30 to 45 min I watch this light come on and flick off like how a child would play with a light switch . This was happening all down row of windows. By this time the other officer pulling picket duty has now noticed the same activity and now he has called my picket. We both could not figure it out. Orders were simple. Do not shoot at the gost unless they run for the wall lol. Every time the light would flick off you could see what appeared to be some figure standing in the hallway. But that’s not possible its bee sealed up for years, it belongs to the birds and the bats. Take it as you will. Hell I was there and still have issues believing it.

  8. There are lots of stories about the old wing, and most of tje officers that walked those wing runs will tell you weird things went on there. There was also an inmate that jumped to his death that is rumored to haunt the outside courtyard. I worked at Ellis and Diagnostic/Byrd unit. There was a haunted picket at Ellis where an office commited suicide. I worked that picket. I can tell you some people never left the prison.

  9. I never was sure about “ghosts” until I worked here. I don’t mean to offend the inmates or others but you’re all basically wrong. The “death row” is accessed from the hospital and is below it to the north side of it close to but sealed off from the old East Building which is where the Costner film was mostly filmed. It is used for storage which explains why “it isn’t used”. The only times inmates are in here is because it is the corridor used for non-contact visitation. It is where Chief Satanta jumped from the third row. It is also the home of the low metal box called the hole. I witnessed the reaction of one inmate have an encounter with a ghost here. When I say ghost, I am talking about a living breathing flesh and blood human being that is there one moment and then not. I will only relate my one encounter which happened in West Building. I was key boss this night. The foyer in west building is about ten feet wide and less than 30 feet long. On each end two cell blocks face each other. It is a small concrete room. On one side is the cage where the door boss spends his shifts rolling doors open and closed. Mostly one tank boss per side. There is a big heavy freaking metal door with a bad wind suction so it takes effort to pull the door open from outside. So I’m standing by the door, door boss is right beside me, as is the tank boss. We are within touching distance. The door opens so I turn so the inmate isn’t directly behind me. We’re two feet apart. He was an older white man and had his cap on. I wasn’t a prick so I knew he would take his hat off in a moment. I look down as I pulled the keys from my belt and one of the officers cried out which startled the crap out of me. I glance back and they are looking past me and I realize there’s no one in front of me. The inmate was not there. All three of us are calmly freaking out. Of course I check the doors but he was just gone. We all three discussed it and decided we wouldn’t say anything. Well, I let my tank boss out for his fifteen minute break and he went straight to the captain’s office and quit. He was a young black kid new out of the academy. As a training officer I had more than one quit on his first night. The Warden called me to come in the next day as he was collecting stories like this. The death house has one window high in the outside door. The condembed come in from a quietly removed avenue to the death house. No one sees them. There is a small area with a few cells at the end of an isolated building. He can’t see the death room from his cell. They are treated very professionally with great respect. It is very humbling and everything that can he done to keep him at ease is done. By the time he getsbto this point he is mentally resigned to his fate. There is a phone tied directly to the Governor’s office on the wall out of sight and their office is manned during each execution. There are no bright colors, only white and a minty greenish. When I left no one in known history had ever foughtvwhile being led there but there were times a convict just couldn’t walk on his own and they are given time and handled as gently as possible. Not dragged or anything like that. The Sgts help them to walk or get the wheel chair. The place is not creepy but allvaround it can be so freaking scary you don’t want to go investigate the lights turning on and off etc. The old scary as hell death row is overwhelming. There is a metal conduit that runs across the top of the cells where The Chair was. In some of the cells it is slightly pulled down into a shallow V where the condemned hung themselves instead of waiting to be fried I’m guessing after witnessing the sight, sound, and smell of their neighbors horrific deaths.

  10. I was just released from the Walls Unit less than 3 months ago. Your information is incorrect. Well yes it is haunted it is not abandoned and I promise you the death row is still in full swing

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