BARTOW, Fla. — On October 19, 20, 26 and 27, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office wants to put you in jail, if only for a little scare.
For eight years, volunteers from the Polk County Sheriff's Office have transformed the old Polk County Jail in Bartow into a haunted house, and pushed visitors to new heights of terror.
Hanging out in the old jail, I've been able to confirm a fascinating biological phenomenon: Ears, nails and hair grow after one is dead and becomes a ghost.
How did I confirm this? Why, by studying the skeletons of the ghosts that reside here in the old jail.
“No this is not an active jail anymore, but it is still haunted," explained Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “On dark nights you can hear people walking in the hallways. You can hear the ghosts making sounds. And you can hear the whistling as the breeze blows through the old jail.”
This is a side of Judd you may have never seen before.
But an abandoned jail and a love of Halloween hatched in him a "sinister" plot:
“Let’s raise money for the United Way and have a great haunted house for the people of the community,” said Judd.
This year the theme for the haunted jail is “Asylum.” If that sounds intense for younger visitors, don't worry. Judd says they have something special and separate in mind for them.
“Keep in mind we are going to do fun things for the little bitty kids in another part of the jail," he explained. "But moms and dads, you have to take them with you when you leave.”
The Sheriff's office hopes to top its $22,000 donation from 2017 for the United Way of Central Florida.