Welcome to Brushy Mountain State Prison…

These stone-cold walls hide many a story of the men who served time here. In the early days, the average sentence was 200 years. Gives one an idea of just how evil and vicious the crimes these men committed really were. A few tried, but none escaped the rattlesnake infested and fearsome mountains that held this place captive for more than a century. Even if you were lucky enough to break free of this castle-like fortress, the guards would catch you. Then you’d be banished to “The Hole,” a deep, dark dungeon, isolated from your friends—even sunlight. Enjoy your stay as you walk these haunted halls and peer in the cells that held some of the most notorious criminals in America. As we said… Welcome…to Brushy Mountain.

The Main Gate at Brushy…

When the main gate slammed shut at Brushy Mountain, prisoners knew they’d reached “the end of the line.” That’s when reality struck. You were locked away in this godforsaken place for the rest of your life. It brought tears to the eyes of some men and absolute hopelessness to others. Separated from friends, from family, from life as you knew it to life as it would be for many years to come. Locked away with violent, evil men who could turn on you in a moment’s notice. Confined to an 8 by 10-foot cement and iron cellblock that held your memories, your future, and your life.

The Whippings Administered at Brushy…

You didn’t want to misbehave, say a bad word about another prisoner’s wife or family member. And you especially didn’t want to assault another prisoner or you’d be whipped. The guards had a 7-foot long leather strap and when it hit your bare back it left more than open wounds and scars, it left memories you carried with you for the rest of your life. They’d drag a reluctant prisoner out to the yard. Have him strip down to his bare skin and turn his back to the guard. You could hear the screams all the way into town.

The Gun Ports in the Cafeteria…

The guard station that oversaw the cafeteria consisted of bullet-proof glass with two large holes. They were there for one purpose only. Shoot any troublemaker before real trouble started. There were also two guards in the cafeteria keeping watch over 200 some inmates. The last thing you wanted was a riot. If trouble broke out, inmates would stab each other, kick each other, or who knows what. Their favorite weapon was called a “sticker.” A knife they’d tape or tie to their wrist so it didn’t slip when they’d stab an inmate in the back. One-time inmates attacked and stabbed another inmate to death for stealing 3 pills (drugs). Turns out, it wasn’t him.

The Most Violent Place in the Prison…

The cafeteria was by far the most violent place at Brushy. One guard recalled an incident where a prisoner broke the chow line and headed for a table where other prisoners were eating. He walked up behind one of the men and hit him in the back of the head with a hammer. Blood gushed everywhere, including the trays the prisoners were eating from. Another remembered a sticking where an inmate was attacked with a meat cleaver and a long knife. Unfortunately, he wasn’t long for this world.

You Didn’t Want to Get Sent to the “Hole…

“The Hole” was the godforsaken pit where the warden sent you for bad behavior. It was dark, damp, isolated…and it would play tricks with your mind. You had no contact with others. On a bright day you might see a sliver of sunlight. Rumors were the warden might forget about those spending time here, extending their dreaded stays. The Hole would break the toughest, most vile criminals. It was a place you never wanted to be sent to or ever returned to. Once that heavy iron door is closed behind you… see if you’re not ready to scream in this place where no one but the walls can hear you.

Brushy was an unforgiving, dark, and sinister place. It was first opened in 1896. Many are surprised to discover that the prisoners themselves built the place where they were going to be locked away for a lifetime. Few were released. Brushy Mountain had 113 years of history that saw brutal crimes committed behind its walls, not to mention those despondent inmates who took their own lives. The spirits who walk the halls, rattle the bars in the cell blocks, and wait for those who want to connect with their evil souls in the dead of night… are here. 

Driving Directions

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is located just of Route 116 near Petros, TN.

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Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary Paranormal Exploration


Total event fee is $165 per person.  There are no refunds if you cancel.  Please contact Spirited Events by Jofa with any questions at 717-324-9464.

Spirited Events by Jofa © 2019  |  All Rights Reserved

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Create A Memory and Have A Spirited Day!


Spirited Events by Jofa would like to invite you to join us at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee for a paranormal exploration.  This is a road trip you’ll want to take!


Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (last named Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex) opened in 1896 and operated until 2009.

Brushy opened in the aftermath of the Coal Creek War, an 1891 lockout of coal miners that took place in Coal Creek and Briceville, TN.   Miners protested the use of unpaid convict leasing in the mines.  The labor conflict was resolved in favor of the miners.  Brushy was built on the backs of the inmates it housed. The limestone was mined by the prisoners on the property.  The property also has an amazing amount of underground water.  You can hear water flowing under the prison and from the waterfalls that surround it.

Aside from endless murders and deadly accidents, there were other tragedies.  Disease including a tuberculosis outbreak, typhoid fever and pneumonia took many lives.  In the early 1900's, about 3/4 of the black men that came to Brushy suffered from syphilis. They received very poor medical treatment and were made to mine the coal and build the prison no matter what condition their health was in. The guards beat the inmates if they didn't work. Lots of men were beaten to death.

The property was used by Native Americans - early natives such as Paleo and Mississippian Indians were also here. The property is marked, but only a few sections have been searched.

During the Civil War, believe it or not this area was actually Union.

Brushy housed the notorious James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Other notable inmates who spent time at Brushy included:  Byron Looper, after he was convicted in 2000 for the murder of State Senator Tommy Burkes, he began serving his life sentence at Brushy Mountain.  George Hyatte, one of the perpetrators of the 2005 Kingston Courthouse shooting, was imprisoned at Brushy Mountain at the time of that incident.


Brushy is built in the shape of a cross with an A side and B side with 4 levels both front and back. It was built like Alcatraz on the inside. Surrounded by mountains instead water, it was actually known as the “Alcatraz of the South.”

Other buildings behind the wall include:

  • Chapel - originally a shower house where the coal miners would shower 
  • Laundry 
  • The Hole - solitary 
  • D-block - originally built for death row 
  • Gymnasium  
  • 5 guard towers, 3 of which can be investigated  
  • High max... The newest maximum security building. It was built in the 80's
  • Courtyard

Outside the wall, there are:

  • 3 large buildings, 2 of these housed inmates and the other is a large furnace  
  • The Cemetery - Over 450 unclaimed bodies are buried here. Most of them died before 1930
  • Coal mines - One coal mine that is very easy to reach still has 17 men inside it


The paranormal activity and haunts at Brushy include:

  • Poltergeist, residual, intelligent
  • Voices
  • Coughing & heavy breathing
  • Whistles & yells
  • Apparitions
  • Shadow people
  • People being touched and some smacked and/or scratched. 
  • Black fog 
  • Foul odors
  • Objects both moving and disappearing
  • Batteries drained
  • Flashlights being turned on and off. (Not fixed flashlights, but flashlights that are completely on or off.)
  • Cameras and phones being controlled...Turned off and on.  iPhones’ Siri activated while no one is around
  • Class A EVPs

Paranormal groups from Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, and of course several from Tennessee have documented their experiences at Brushy.  All agree that it’s well worth the trip.


Check-in is at 10:30pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018.  You will be given the tour rules and regulations, followed by an approximate 1 hour guided tour.  After the tour, the lights will be turned off. The paranormal exploration will run until Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 6:00am.  Some paranormal equipment will be available for your use.  However, we highly suggest that you bring your own cameras, and flashlight and, if you have them, recorders and paranormal equipment. This event is designed for the serious paranormal explorer.  All attendees are required to complete a Paranormal License Agreement and Waiver of Liability and Rules Agreement.   These will be distributed at the beginning of the event.



Saturday, April 13, 2019 through

Sunday, April 14, 2019


10:30pm to 6:00am


Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

9182 Hwy 116

Petros, TN 37845



  Advance Registration and Payment is Required.  Payment may be made using PayPal or a major credit card.

Each participant must be age 18

and older. NO EXCEPTIONS.




 Attendees must provide their own

transportation to and from the event.