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The Squirrel Cage Jail

Case Number: 002-092411

Case Type: Business (Official Website)


Name: The Squirrel Cage Jail

Built: 1885

Stories: 4 Stories + Basement (Basement not accessible)

History: The building was built in 1885 and was used as a jail until 1969. Before The Squirrel Cage Jail was built the St. Paul's Episcopal Church morgue was on the property. The Squirrel Cage was a three level rotary jail. It was inescapable because only one door on each level could be opened at once. One inmate was able to escape by ripping out the lining on his toilet and escaping into the sewers. "This is how it was told to me by Ryan Roenfeld: four men (between 1960 & 1969) broke the radiator causing it to make noises all night. This way the warden would not check on them. Then they broke a leg off the picnic table. They used the leg to dig through the steel and the bricks. These guys even left a note saying we needed a new jail. The four headed over the fence, three made it, the fourth impaled his leg and hung out for 6 hours before being let down. he didn't scream for help because he wanted to allow his three friends a better chance to escape. After three hours the three guys were back in their cells and after about 6 hours they got the fourth guy off the fence.

Now, in going through the actual records, I haven't been able to find all of this but they didn't always record everything. I have found the escape, the only variance is the records say the fourth guy was never caught. The method of escape, the note, the three being caught are all on our records. The bad thing is that the actual state records often times will cover up any wrong doing or mistreatment of inmates.

There is a lot of our information that we end up getting documented accounts from those involved, their diaries and their family. So I'm still checking." states Carla, one of the tour guides at the jail.

Since the cells moved people were worried that limbs could be torn off or heads could be crushed when the cells moved, or the gears could stick leaving many with out food, water, or medical help for days on end. So they shut all the rotary jails down except for The Squirrel Cage Jail.

They also housed children in a different wing who's parents were incarcerated.

More history can be found here.

Reported Deaths on the property: 4 People. One prisoner died of a heart attack, one in a three story fall trying to carve his name into the ceiling, and one prisoner hung himself in his cell. The other was of a jailer who accidently killed himself in the confusion of fortifying the facility from an angry mob in the 1932 Farmer's Holiday Strike. (As depicted on the website.) Later we come to find that he got shot by a fellow jailer while in a demonstration of how to use a machine gun.

Reported Sightings: Unusual sounds, a lady singing, un explained lights, the feeling of being watched or followed, full bodied apparitions on film as well as children's voices on tape, and an occasional ghostly cat.

Reason to Investigate: N/A We contacted them.


Date: September 24th 2011

Time: 8:00pm - 4:00am

Setup: 9:20pm - 10:50pm

K2 (EMF) Sweep: 9:45pm - 10:00pm

Investigation Start: 11:00pm

Take Down: 3:30am

Investigators: Founder - Maggie Beshilas, Co-Founder - John Perrine, and Lead Investigator - Stephanie Perrine. Investigators - Stacey, Jesse, Tara, Charles, and Jessica. Guest Investigators - Danii, Katie, Chelsea, and Connie.

Equipment: Maggie, Mike, and Steph: 4-channel DVR (Digital Video Recorder), Hi-8 Video Camera, EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) Digital Voice Recorder, EMF (Electromagnetic Field Detector), Digital Camera x2,Camera Phone, and Radios x4.

Stacey and Danii: EVP and a digital camera

Jessica: EVP and two Digital Cameras.

Jesse, Katie, Chelsea, and Connie: Motion Detection video camera (Webcam type), IR Motion Detection picture burst camera (Trail Cam Type), Voice recorder paired with a White noise generator, A Video camera with ambient noise amplifier, Video camera with night vision, EMF Detector, and regular picture camera.

Charles: Digital Camera.

Weather: U.S. Naval Observatory

Astronomical Applications Department

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa (longitude W95.9, latitude N41.3):


24 September 2011 Central Daylight Time          


Begin civil twilight


Sun transit 


End civil twilight

6:45 a.m.

7:13 a.m.

1:15 p.m.

7:18 p.m.

7:45 p.m.    



 4:53 p.m. 

                  on preceding day

 MoonriseMoon transit 



 3:49 a.m.

10:43 a.m.

5:26 p.m.

5:02 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 24 September: waning crescent with 11% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.

New Moon on 27 September 2011 at 6:09 a.m. Central Daylight Time.

Weather Underground.



Numbers of hours recorded: 4.5 hours on DVR x 4 cameras, and 3 hours on Hi-8 camera.

Confirmed Activity: 1 (Caught by Jesse)


Numbers of Photos Taken: 674

Camera Phone: 60

Digital Camera: 449

Trail Camera: 165

Hi-8 Camera: 0

Confirmed: 0

Debunked: 0

Yet to be Debunked: 0

EVP Recordings: 7

Confirmed: 4

Debunked: 1

Interesting (Not Evidence): 2

EMF Conversations: 3+

Personal Experiences:

Feeling like your being watched: 11 people

Being Touched: 2-3

Unexplainable encounters: 6


Encounter 1: Danii, Stacey, and myself (Maggie) were on the 4th floor apartment going in to a room on the left across from the library room. Danii was not sure if it was her hood or not but it felt like some one touched her hair on the back of her neck.

          Encounter 2: Danii, Stacey, and myself (Maggie) were on the 4th floor library with an EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) Detector on the table.

We were asking questions like: Did you read these books?, Are in one of them?, and can you move one? and we were getting responses from some one there on the EMF. The lights on the EMF were going up to the yellow and flashing from green to yellow.

Danii asked if they liked ice cream. The EMF detector went to orange which we toke as a yes. A few times it would leave and only the solid green would remain on the device. We would say "Ok we are going to leave." and the device would go off like who ever we were talking to did not want us to leave. Finally we did leave and went down to the third floor room across from the infirmary.

There Danii found a piece of paper with a news paper article on it saying: Prisoner wanted Fried chicken, Vodka, and Ice cream for dinner. That kind of made us wonder if who ever we where having a conversation with upstairs was that same prisoner.

              Encounter 3: Same group Danii, Stacey, and Myself (Maggie). We were up on the third floor in the infirmary. Danii had the EMF and was standing by the shower area with the EMF pointing at the shower. It was going up to yellow or orange. Everyone was standing still and quiet when Danii heard a scratching noise on the wall. When we went back a little later to debunk it we could not get it to go off again.

              Encounter 4: Katie and I (Chelsea) saw the same thing as we were standing right next to each other, so two people witnessed this! :) On the first floor Katie and I were standing a foot and a half in front of the middle cell, the one just out of frame of Jesse's truth cam photos, while Jesse was in solitary and John was standing in between us. We were both looking into the cell when an orange light (it's hard to explain, there was substance that you could feel in the area, but it only looked like a ball floating there) was standing behind the bars, turned, and floated towards the back of the cell then just disappeared. It was amazing.

We were both a little shocked and didn't snap a picture unfortunately, so there's no hardcore evidence. You can see in his photos though that I walked off to the cell, Katie followed me as Jesse went into solitary and John watched him. There is a lapse in time between photos where everyone was standing still for their own reasons. Katie and I called them over and you can see the boys come towards us. Still an amazing part of the night though! I wish we had a camera set up in that spot! AH!

                Encounter 5: My (Jesse) ankle got touched while i sat on one of the beds in the jail cell... shortly before my flashlight turned on. also, my LED flashlight would flicker while we were talking to whatever it was. I've caught and posted a possible manifestation on video. EVP's are still coming in as i listen... so I'll post more on that later. felt 2 cold spots, confirmed by John and Chelsea. felt one heavy spot. Chelsea and I experienced head and lung tingling when we were on the second floor near the noose.

                   Encounter 6: I (Connie) thought I heard scratching on the picnic table but there was a lot of talking in headquarters that it was hard to tell if it was really something paranormal or not.

~~~~Return to case files.~~~~

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