Investigation Report

Location: New Mexico State Penitentiary, Santa Fe, NM
Date: 27 October 2002
Weather Conditions: Cloudy, fog
Humidity: 78%
Geomagnetic Storm Activity: Unsettled to active
Temperature: 51
Number of Photos taken: 897
Number with possible targets: 5
Average EM Readings: 5 nt
Average M fields Readings: 2 mt
Average E Field Readings: 3 vpm
Cold Spots detected: None
Olfactory Phenomena: None
Visual Phenomena: None
Type of Investigation: Ghost Hunt

All information and photos Copyright 2002 to 2005 by Cody Polston, Bob Carter and SGHA. All Rights Reserved.

Location Description and History

It was an inmate rebellion without a plan, without leadership and without goals. There were few heroes, plenty of villains and many victims.

When State Police marched into the Penitentiary of New Mexico on Feb. 3, 1980, they didn't retake the prison from rioting inmates so much as they occupied the charred shell after the riot had burned itself out.
Thirty-three inmates were found dead inside -- some of them horribly butchered by their fellow prisoners.
The emergency room at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe was overwhelmed with more than 100 inmates -- some beaten, others suffering from drug overdoses.

Eight of the 12 guards who had been taken hostage were treated for injuries. Surprisingly, none of the guards was killed.
It was a black mark on New Mexico history as the nation was captivated by the horror stories that dribbled out of

Santa Fe. The riot began in the early morning hours of Saturday, Feb. 2, when guards entered dormitory E-2 on the south side of the Prison. The door to the dormitory wasn't locked, in violation of prison security procedures. Neither was a hallway gate that led to the prison control room. Four guards were taken hostage during the first few minutes of the riot.

In all, there were 15 guards on duty inside the prison that night, supervising more than 1,100 inmates.
Inmates rushed down the main corridor and broke the shatterproof glass at the control center. The guard on duty fled, leaving behind keys that could open most of the prison gates and doors.
The inside of the prison became a nightmare of violence. One Associated Press reporter later described it in a story distributed worldwide as a "merry-go-round gone crazy."
Fires were set. Inmates ripped out plumbing fixtures, flooding parts of the prison. Other inmates got into the infirmary and began taking drugs. Others began hunting their enemies, and found them.

The National guard at the Penitentiary

Sometime around 8 a.m. that Saturday morning, inmates began using tools from the prison to gain access to cellblock 4, which housed the "snitches" and inmates in protective segregation. The "snitches" met a horrible end.
One was hung from the upper tier of the cellblock, another decapitated. Most of the 33 inmates killed were from the segregation unit.

Early Saturday morning, fitful negotiations began with some inmate leaders. Ambulances shuttled the dead and injured to St. Vincent. Smoke poured out of the prison gymnasium.

It became clear later that neither the inmates nor the state had a single spokesman during the negotiations. Eventually, inmates made 11 basic demands. Some concerned basic prison conditions like overcrowding, inmate discipline, educational services and improving food. They also wanted outside witnesses -- federal officials and the news media.

Hostage guards were released. Some of the guards had been protected by inmates; others were brutally beaten. "One was tied to a chair. Another lay naked on a stretcher, blood pouring from a head wound," a Journal reporter wrote. Negotiations broke off about 1 a.m. Sunday and state officials insisted no concessions had been made. But the riot, fueled by drugs and hate, was running out of gas.

Later Sunday morning, inmates began to trickle out of the prison, seeking refuge at the fence where National Guardsmen stood with their M-16s. Black inmates led the exodus from the smoldering cellblocks, staying in groups large enough to defend themselves from other inmates.
It was over.

From the Attorney General's Report

Shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, 1980, inmates at the Penitentiary of New Mexico near Santa Fe overpowered four correctional officers ... in a medium security dormitory. The inmates rushed through the open dormitory door and, within minutes, captured four more officers.

Using keys taken from the officers, inmates freed fellow prisoners ... then moved through an open grill gate to the administrative area ... smashed their way into the main control center (and gained) access to every part of the main penitentiary building where 1,157 male inmates were under the custody and care of 25 correctional employees.

In the 36 hours that followed, 12 officers were held hostage, some of them beaten, stabbed and sodomized. Thirty-three inmates died at the hands of fellow prisoners, some of the victims were tortured and their bodies mutilated. At least 90 other inmates were seriously injured in the riot, suffering from drug overdoses or beatings, stabbings and rapes inflicted by other convicts. Most of the inmates had escaped to the outside of the walls by the time the riot was over.

Prison officials communicated with inmates throughout the weekend in an effort to negotiate the release of the hostage officers and the surrender of the inmates. By 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, 1980, the violence had spent itself; police and National Guardsmen retook the penitentiary without resistance.

Reported Phenomena

The most active areas of the prison are Cell Blocks 3, 4, the Tool room and the laundry room.

Cell Block 3 was the maximum security ward which also contains the Solitary confinement cell. Activity reported here includes unexplainable noises, doors that open and close by themselves, and lights that turn on and off without any apparent cause.

Cell block 4 was the area where the "snitches" and other prisoners held in protective custody were contained. Upon entering the cell block, there are marks on the floor where rioters used power tools to decapitate the snitches and several other inmates. Also visible are the outlines of scorch marks where other inmates were burned to death with propane cutting torches. Another inmate was hung from the upper tier of the cell block with sheets that had been tied together. The activity reported here is similar to those reported in Cell Block 3. Twenty three of the inmates that were murdered during the riot were killed in Cell Block 4.

The laundry was the site of several murders, although they occurred long before the riot of 1980. It is located in a labyrinth of corridors that lie underneath the prison. These corridors also link to the gas chamber, many mechanical rooms and the tool room where the inmates stole the propane torches and other tools that were used during the riots. Uneasy feelings and whispers are often reported down there as well as unusual human shaped shadows.

The Investigation

SGHA was sent to the prison with the crew of KZZR, 94 Rock and the contestants of a "MTV Fear" type of contest to be conducted on the grounds.

After arriving at the prison, we were briefed on the contest and that there was a "holding area near the front entrance where everyone would wait while the contestants did their "dares". We were then given a tour of the grounds, including cell block 4 and the basement. The contestants were no due to arrive for another hour and a half, giving us a chance to take some initial readings for unusual electromagnetic fields.

After the tour we took IR cameras down to solitary confinement in Cell Block three to monitor the contestant there to ensure that he stayed in the cell for the full twenty minutes of his "dare". After we positioned the camera, Cody moved to the far end of the corridor to take photographs while Bob shot IR video from the other end. After a few minutes there was a distinct sound of a cell door slowly opening or closing. As Cody moved towards the area where the sound seemed to be coming from a second similar noise, this time much louder and faster, echoed down the hallway behind Cody's position.

Bob, assuming that the noise was coming from the contestants, started to radio in to the holding area to confirm that the contestants had arrived. Suddenly his radio started changing frequencies by itself and a extremely loud noise echoed down the hallway that resembled a cell door violently slamming shut. The sound came from somewhere behind Cody, who had moved forward to look for the source of the first strange noise.

Bob quickly moved forward towards Cody's position and after verifying that he was okay, began checking the area. All of the cell doors were closed and locked when we arrived to set up the cameras and they were still locked. We attempted to replicate the sound by opening and closing several doors that were unlocked and by banging on the cell doors themselves. However, we could not replicate anything that sounded close to the noises we heard earlier.

After trying unsuccessfully to replicate the sound in Cell block three's basement, we moved up two levels to the top tier. We discover a rather strange EM field near the far side of the cellblock in the last cell on that row. The field was 5 nanotesla and had a originating point directly in the center of the cell. We were not able to determine exactly what was causing this field.

We continued down the catwalk of the cellblock, taking photos and readings. Just as we reached the end of the catwalk, a repeating thumping noise moved across a ventilation pipe towards us, eventually stopping three feet away from our position. Although it was quite strange and downright spooky, we assumed it was a wild animal running inside of the pipe towards us. we then moved back to the holding area at the front of the prison to take a break.

Once we were outside, we were able to talk to some of the former guards of the prison and showed the video of the incident in cell block three to them and the radio staff. One of the guards thought the sound resembled a fuse blowing out down there and went to check it out. Meanwhile, several of the radio staff had heard noises coming from the guard tower while we were in cell block three. They said that the noises sounded like the trap door of the guard tower being opened and slammed shut. So we all moved off to the tower to check it out.

Bob immediately picked up on a very strong D/C electromagnetic field near the tower. The readings fluctuated between 2 to 8 nanotesla, DC. As he moved about, trying to isolate the origin of the field, the remainder of the group received visitors, one being the former warden of the prison. When asked about the tower and if anything had happened there, he simply replied "There are some things you just do not want to know." He would not comment on the tower any further. Bob continued measuring the D/C field by the tower while Cody took photographs. Shortly afterwards, the contestants arrived and the contest began.

Radio broadcast of the contest aired on Halloween morning.

Part 1. A description of the contest
Part 2. Descriptions of cell block three. The Rainman (94 Rock D.J.) takes contestant Rich to solitary confinement
Part 3. Rainman returns to get Rich out of the Hole. Rich's descriptions of what he heard. T.J Trout (94 Rock D.J.) takes Hollie to the mental ward.
Part 4. T.J. retrieves Hollie from the mental ward and she describes her experiences. Mahoney (94 Rock D.J.) and Chevon head to the gas chamber.
Part 5. Mahoney retrieves Chevon from the gas chamber and she tells what she experienced. Rob (94 Rock D.J.) takes Maggie to the entry cell block four where prisoners were beheaded with power tools for the Ouija Challenge.
Part 6. Erica Viking (94 Rock D.J.) takes Shawn to a cell in Cellblock 4.
Part 7. The final challenge. each contestant must make his or her way down to the laundry room in the basement and retrieve a glow stick and an envelope.

While waiting during the contest, the guard that checked the fuses in cell block three returned and informed us that the fuses were all okay. He had no idea what could have caused that noise. After the completion of the "dare" in Cell block four, we were able to move around that area and see what we could find. We were on the bottom tier walking towards the opposite end of the corridor when the squeaky sound of a metal door closing rang out from behind us. we turned to see that one of the doors we had passed was wide open. We moved to check out that area but found nothing unusual with our instruments. The door itself was quite heavy, maybe 60 pounds or so and the hinges were rusted. After manually closing and opening it, we ruled out the possibility of it being pushed open by a gust of air or by the vibration of us walking past it. We later learned from a guard that all of these doors had been locked. The door that had opened was very freaky because it was locked shut and they did not have a key for it, making it impossible to even open it in the first place.

During the last "dare" of the contest, we were able to take Erica Viking down to the basement to conduct an EVP session. Afterwards, we returned to the holding area and waited for the contest to finish.We then searched the laundry room and other parts of the basement before heading out.


Click on the thumbnails to view the larger image

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)
EVP session performed by Erica Viking of 94 Rock

What is Your Name?
 Hard to make out
Would you like to share with me why you are here?
No response
Would you like to be somewhere else?
Hard to make out/ Playing golf?
Are you alone?
 Sounds like "twenty"
Have you always been alone or have there always been others? 
No response
Are you sad?
No Response

Click on the thumbnail to view the video
Helpful hint: Right click over the link and select "Save target as" then save to your hard drive

After setting up a camera in Solitary Confinement two unusual noises are heard that resemble
a cell door being closed. All of the cell doors in this section were closed and locked. A state

employee also confirmed that it was not a possible electrical malfunction.
Warning: This video contains Adult Language.
A metal door opens by itself in Cell Block 4 after the investigators have passed by.


Initial Conclusions

In addition to the video and EVP samples collected at the penitentiary, two interesting photographs were obtained as well. The photographs were taken back to back outside of the guard tower where several of the radio staff had heard noises coming from the guard tower while we were in cell block three. They said that the noises sounded like the trap door of the guard tower being opened and slammed shut.

Bob immediately picked up on a very strong D/C electromagnetic field near the tower. The readings fluctuated between 2 to 8 nanotesla, DC. As he moved about, trying to isolate the origin of the field, the remainder of the group received visitors, one being the former warden of the prison.

When asked about the tower and if anything had happened there, he simply replied "There are some things you just do not want to know." He would not comment on the tower any further.

Despite the fact that the electricity had been shut off, a light in Cell block three remained on. When checked, there was no voltage flowing through the powerline to that light bulb.

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