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Old jail becoming haunted attraction in Abingdon

By Jim Conrad
Published On: Oct 23 2013 08:53:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 23 2013 04:22:17 PM CDT
Haunted Jail
ABINGDON, Va. -

There was a time when in order to scare children about the evils of crime they would take to visit the local jail to see what could happen if you were bad.

Now the Holston Mountain Artisans Cooperative is giving you the chance to visit the first haunted jail in Abingdon for a Halloween scare at the old Washington County, Virginia jail.

The jail looks scary enough from the outside with bars on the windows and visible surveillance cameras, but inside it's really scary.

It's now the property of the Holston Mountain Artisan Cooperative, and with the help of volunteers and the Virginia Highlands Community College Student Government Association it's becoming even more scarier.

They're busy coming up with a bit of a Halloween scenario as a fundraiser. It's centered around their electric chair, known as "Old Sparky."

"The whole premise of it as "Sparky," it has gone on the fritz and he's going to cause our jail to go a little haywire. Our prisoners and our ghosts have escaped," says Coop member Melinda Payne.

The jail is the perfect place to create a scary experience. The idea came about the same time the artisans purchased the property. "I can't take credit. The tourism director here in Abingdon when he heard we had bought the jail said, 'Wow, how cool would that be at Halloween?' So we took his ideas and ran with it," said executive director Donna Price.

For one of the volunteers, there's no need to make it any scarier -- he was once an inmate. "I was here once. I was a young stupid kid. I was 19 or 20. A dumb kid, I wound up here in cell block 13," Eddie Blevins with the SGA said.

Now there some stories for the visitors. But its all in fun to carry on the Cooperative's mission.

For more information about the haunted jail, click here.