Ashwell Prison is an unusual haunted venue as it is a comparatively modern structure. The prison was built in 1955 as an open prison, before being made more secure to house Category C male inmates in 1987. The closure of the prison was finally announced in 2011. The cost of repair and maintenance for the building had become prohibitive following a major riot in 2009 which saw 400 inmates cause extensive damage to three wings of the prison.
Despite the relatively short time since the closure of the prison there have already been a number of paranormal reports relating to activity at this site. In part this may be explained by earlier events before the prison was constructed. During the Second World War the area that would eventually become HMP Ashwell was a US Army base and home to the 82nd Airbourne Division as they undertook training activities in preparation for the D-Day invasion of France.
Visitors today can experience a derelict prison with unusual activities particularly focused in oldest wing of the prison. Many of those who enter the prison talk of being pushed by hands they cannot see, and of being poked by things that are not there. Several visitors have recorded particular parts of the prison building as being unusually cold, even compared to the rest of this deeply foreboding building.
Doors slam without reason, and sometimes the walls will vibrate without explanation. Many people have seen shadows that cannot be explained by any rational means.
Whether these manifestations relate to prisoners who spent time in Ashwell, and have returned to haunt the building after death, or whether they are the result of some of the accidents which reportedly occurred during training activities on the US airbase has yet to be established. What is certain is that a visit to HMP Ashwell is not for the fainthearted. Once inside the building anything could happen.