• Wade J. Ramponi

A Documentary 168 Years in the Making

Back when the Battle of the Alamo was raging, prisoners were building their own prison over 1000 miles away, in what would become one of the most brutal in America. Prisoners were housed here over 100 years before Alcatraz, and were well on their way to giving it the reputation that Time Magazine once called it "The Bloodiest 47 Acres in America". We are talking about the Missouri State Penitentiary, in Missouri's Capital of Jefferson City.

The prison closed down in 2004, but over its many years, help inmates like Pretty Boy Floyd, Sonny Liston, James Earl Ray, who escaped on a bread truck and made his way to Memphis, and Firebug Johnson, who would go on to live up to the name by setting the building on fire.

They say that prisoners still roam the hallways, dungeons, and cellblocks at the Missouri State Penitentiary in the form of ghostly spirits. You may even notice something peculiar in the trailer video. This was not added, and in fact, the building where the oddity is seen is condemned - Even the State of Missouri Rep cannot get in here.

This place has so much history that it inspired me to create a documentary and tell its full story. The plan is to interview the former wardens, guards, and even an inmate or two. There will be a few reenactments, including an unfortunate soul in the gas chamber at midnight. While I was able to complete pre-production, I ran into a snag with insurance 'additional insured'. I look to 2020 to be the year that I can iron out the obstacles and get back in to tell my story!

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