is this the most haunted place in America?

Cell block 7

Cellblock 7 at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Cell block 7

Cellblock 7 at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A stairwell in Cell block 7

A stairwell in cellblock 7 at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A cell in Cell block 4.

An old cell in cellblock 4 at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Al Capone's cell in Cell block 8

Al Capone’s luxurious cell in cellblock 8 at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Cell block 7

Cellblock 8 at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The original door to the synagogue in Cell block 7

The original synagogue door in cellblock 7 at Eastern State Penitentiary.

The alley between Cell block 11 and 14.

The alley between cellblocks 11 and 14 at Eastern State Penitentiary.

A window in the intake office.

An intake office window at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The exterior walls and battlements of the penitentiary.

The exterior walls and battlements of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Several months ago, Patty and I visited the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The prison, which was designed by British architect John Haviland, opened in 1829. Originally, Haviland planned for 256 cells but by the time the prison closed in 1971, there were 980 cells.

Eastern State Penitentiary is considered to be one of the most haunted places in America according to several sources. It has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Most Haunted Live, Syfy’s Ghost Hunters and MTV’s Fear. Several visitors, staff, former guards and inmates, all tell the same stories of hearing voices, footsteps, whispers and cries, as well as seeing shadowy figures and ghostly faces in the halls during the prison’s 142-year history.

One of the most famous ghost stories featured on the prison’s audio tour is about Gary Johnson, a locksmith who worked at Eastern State in the 1990’s. Johnson claims he was repairing a broken lock in cellblock 4 when he encountered a “negative, horrible energy” that pushed past him.

Although Eastern State had a death row, no executions ever occurred at the prison. However, life within its stone walls was difficult and many prisoners died from suicide, mental illness, disease, murder and torture. Some people believe that many of these prisoners still haunt the cellblocks.

Approximately 75,000 men and women did time at Eastern State including gangster, Al Capone. He was arrested outside of Philadelphia for carrying a concealed, unlicensed gun. Capone was sentenced to a year at Eastern State and served eight months in 1929. He lived in a luxurious cell with furniture and a radio. He also had his tonsils removed in the prison’s hospital the same year.

Several movies and music videos have been filmed at Eastern State Penitentiary including: 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe and Brad Pitt; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen starring Shia Labeouf, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel; and Tina Turner’s “One of the Living”.

Eastern State Penitentiary was named a national historic landmark in 1965 and the Pennsylvania Prison Society opened it for tours in 1994. More than 200,000 people visit the prison every year.

Patty and I enjoyed our tour at Eastern State. We spent hours exploring the cellblocks, the old bocce courts and baseball diamond. We also peeked in the original synagogue and The Hole, or solitary confinement area, and we never experienced any paranormal activity at the prison. Instead, we were fascinated with the aesthetic beauty of its decaying, gothic architecture.

-scott weaver

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2014 k-state men’s and women’s basketball media day

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K-State’s women’s basketball head coach Jeff Mittie speaks to a room full of reporters during Media Day at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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Recorders are placed in front of K-State’s women’s basketball head coach Jeff Mittie as he speaks to reporters during Media Day at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Ashia Woods looks at her images with J&C Imaging photographer John LaBarge during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Kindred Wesemann interviews head coach Jeff Mittie for K-State HDTV during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Kindred Wesemann interviews Erica Young for K-State HDTV during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Thomas Gipson speaks to a crowd of reporters during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Thomas Gipson poses for photos for J&C Imaging photographer John LaBarge during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Justin Edwards poses for photos for Wichita Eagle photographer Travis Heying during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Bri Craig poses for photos for The Manhattan Mercury photographer Sarah Midgorden during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

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K-State’s Kindred Wesemann helps Brandon Bolden spin a ball on his finger during Media Day at the Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on October 22, 2014.

Recently, K-State held its annual men’s and women’s basketball media day in Manhattan, Kansas. It’s an opportunity for local reporters and photographers to meet the teams before the season. 

-scott weaver

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2014-15 k-state women’s golf team poster shoot

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K-State’s Anne Willman

chandler gallagher

K-State’s Chandler Gallagher

connie jaffrey

K-State’s Connie Jaffrey

madison talley

K-State’s Madison Talley

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K-State’s Olivia Eliasson

Recently, I shot individual portraits of K-State’s women’s golf team for a promotional poster.

I used a standard four light setup (a key light, a fill light, an accent light and a kicker) with White Lightning X1600 flash units combined with softboxes and grids to customize each portrait.

-scott weaver

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2014 big 12 conference men’s basketball media day

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The Kansas City Star’s Kellis Robinett interviews K-State’s Nino Williams during the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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West Virginia’s head coach Bob Huggins and his bow tie were a huge hit with reporters during the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Kansas’ head coach Bill Self speaks to reporters during the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri on October 15, 2014. 

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Baylor’s head coach Scott Drew laughs with reporters during the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri on October 15, 2014. 

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West Virginia’s Gary Browne speaks to reporters during the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri on October 15, 2014. 

The Big 12 Conference held its men’s basketball media day at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri on October 15, 2014. Kansas is the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 championship.

-scott weaver

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krav maga: blue belt

BLUE

Last summer, Patty and I joined a martial arts studio to learn Krav Maga, an Israeli military self-defense system that mixes techniques from boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Although Krav Maga students try to avoid confrontation, we are taught skills to finish a fight quickly with vicious attacks to the most vulnerable parts of the body including the face, throat, ribs and groin.

For our blue belt test on September 22, 2014, we had to perform different takedowns including hip throws and leg sweeps. We also had to demonstrate several kickboxing combinations of punches, elbows and body blows. Finally, we had to break a board with a jumping front kick.

This belt test was the toughest one yet, much more demanding than our white, yellow, orange, and purple tests. Our instructors pushed us through sparring drills that completely exhausted us. Then, before we could catch our breath, they ran us through a conditioning workout of push-ups, sit-ups, burpees and mountain climbers. It was the first time I truly wanted to quit the class.

We passed our test and graduated on September 24. Now, we’re working towards our green belts.

-scott weaver

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2014-15 k-state track and field poster shoot

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Erica Twiss, combined events

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Devin Field, long jump

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Alyx Treasure, high jump

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Sara Savatovic, hammer throw

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Reinis Kregers, combined events

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Carlos Rodriguez, sprints

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Ivan Hartung, javelin

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Tia’ Gamble, sprints

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Sonia Gaskin, sprints

Recently, I shot portraits of K-State’s nine track and field All-Americans for a promotional poster. This assignment was particularly fun for me because I enjoy both portraiture and track and field.

We shot all of the images in the K-State Basketball Training Facility so we could control everything. I used a standard four light setup (a key light, a fill light, an accent light and a kicker) with White Lightning X1600 flash units combined with softboxes and grids to customize each portrait.

-scott weaver

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bartle + marcus llc trial attorneys

bartle_marcus

Recently, I worked with Proventus Consulting LLC, a marketing and public relations firm in Merriam, Kansas, to shoot photos of Bartle + Marcus LLC Trial Attorneys in Kansas City, Missouri.

It was fun to work with Super Lawyers Matt Bartle, David Marcus, and paralegal Rachel Buchholz. Together, the three are true professionals who specialize in business disputes, finance and insurance disputes, investments losses, copyright and patent litigation, and whistleblower claims.

I decided to set up the lead shot in their gorgeous board room high above downtown Kansas City. I had to work fast because Matt, David and Rachel were busy meeting with clients between shots.

-scott weaver

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the 26th annual haskell indian art market

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Native American dancers perform at the Haskell Indian Art Market in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Native American dancers wear beautiful ceremonial dress at the Haskell Indian Art Market.

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A mirror reflects light on a Native American dancer at the Haskell Indian Art Market.

I attended the 26th annual Haskell Indian Art Market at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas on September 14, 2014. The event featured original Native American art, dancers and food booths. The Art Market attracts hundreds of visitors and provides an economic opportunity for Indian artists as well as encouraging cross-cultural understanding and exchange.

-scott weaver

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the 2014 marilynn smith sunflower invitational champions

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K-State’s Katherine Gravel-Coursol checks the wind direction before hitting a tee shot.

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K-State’s Katherine Gravel-Coursol replaces her ball on the green before a putt.

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K-State’s Carly Ragains hits a tee shot down the 18th fairway at Alvamar Golf Club.

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K-State’s Katherine Gravel-Coursol hits a tee shot on the 8th hole at Alvamar Golf Club.

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K-State’s sports psychologist Ian Connole and assistant coach Stewart Burke direct the Wildcats during the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational at Alvamar Golf Club on September 9, 2014.

I shot the K-State women’s golf team during the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational at Alvamar Golf Club in Lawrence, Kansas on September 8-9, 2014. The Wildcats overcame a six-shot deficit to win their first tournament in 10 years. The team carded a 10-over par 298 during the final round to finish the event at 30-over par 894 and had three players place in the top five.

-scott weaver

 

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kansas sunflower field

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A small field of sunflowers near K-State campus in Manhattan, Kansas on September 5, 2014.

Every time I see fireworks, prairie burns in the Flint Hills, or sunflower fields, I must shoot them.

-scott weaver

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