|The Pauly Jail was erected in 1897 in Union Springs, Alabama|
and is among the oldest surviving jails in Alabama.
The old Pauly jail, in Union Springs, Alabama, shares some haunting history along with the rest of the town. It was built in 1897 by the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company and is arguably the oldest standing jail in the state. It was used as a film set in 2004 for the movie, Heaven’s Fall (which is still set-up inside the building). The 116 year-old jail has been renovated by the historic society and is dedicated to the prohibition era of Bullock County and it’s legacies in moonshine. Several liquor stills are on display at the museum along with other artifacts, relics, photos and newspaper articles that pertain to illegal distilling.
The three story jail consists of jailers and deputies quarters, a woman’s wing, and interrogation room on the bottom floor. The second floor general population cells are tight quarters and a separate recreation area, known as the “bull pen”, for deputies, is located in the back. The third floor cells are surrounded by twenty foot catwalks where jailers would keep a close watch over inmates and a separate cell for the insane or suicidal. Perhaps the most curious attraction at the jail is the swinging trap door and eyelet, which is also located on the third floor. The reason it’s located there is because hangings were conducted in the jail in plain sight of inmates. When the sliding sound of a heavy switch and clanking metal doors erupted from the Pauly Jail, it meant only one thing, someone met their fate at the end of a long drop and a short stop.
|Death by hanging for condemned prisoners in the 1900's was carried out in plain view of inmates at the jail.|
One of the Pauly Jail’s first criminal visitors was Willie Upshaw. He was arrested and sent to jail the same year it opened. He managed to escape the beast of concrete and steel but was later killed. The man who killed Willie (whose name is presently unknown) was arrested for murder and also sent to the Pauly for an undisclosed amount of time. In his confinement he hung himself in his cell upstairs. His spirit is responsible for the heavy swinging sound heard in the jail. On occasion, an eye witness account surfaces from those who have seen his ghastly apparition, wandering about the third floor with a noose around his neck.
|The Pauly Jail is now a renovated museum dedicated to prohibition era and moonshine, but those aren't the only "spirits" here.|
On Christmas Eve, 1960, J.W. Mann was arrested for disorderly conduct and taken to the Pauly Jail. He was smoking in his cell and apparently fell asleep and set his mattress on fire. Before the jailer could be found to open the jail, flames completely engulfed J.W.’s cell and smoke was bellowing out of the second floor window. By the time they reached Mr. Mann, he was already dead. Since then, the spirit of J.W. Mann has spent more than a few Christmas’s haunting the old city jail. The Pauly Jail has been a hotbed of ghostly inhabitants and paranormal activity for the past decade. Its history tells the story of how the spirits came to be. Recently, a video was recorded at the jail of a “ghost box” session during an investigation by the Alabama Paranormal Research Team. In the video, voices came over the radio device saying, “Pauly” and “moonshine”. According to the investigators, more spirits at the jail are still undocumented.
- “We are just now scratching the surface of the mystery of the Pauly Jail spirits”.