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Thursday, February 16, 2012

One Night In Prison!

As most of you know I worked for almost fifteen years at a prison here in Texas.
The picture above is the oldest prison in our state called the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas. It was built I believe in the 1800's and up until a few years ago was where they did the horrible executions from death row. Now they have moved death row to Livingston, Texas after the famous notorious break out the the seven inmates that ended up killing others while escaped.

The Walls is where I did my Basic Training to become a Correctional Officer.
It is a very depressing prison and one that I would never want to work in any longer than the period of time I was training. Actually their all depressing but this one is soooooo old which makes it even worse than the others.

Lot's of ghost stories are told about this Unit. Stories by both Inmates and Officers.

I searched the Internet last night trying to find a picture of a preremeter
guard tower similar to the one like we had at our prison. It is not easy finding pictures of prisons because you can't just drive up and take pictures. lol

Out of these three pictures I found the first one above is closer
 to ones we had surrounding the prison where I worked.

I do think that our pickets were taller than these. To get inside one the Officer
working the picket has to drop a bag down to you with the key to the door in it.
You then unlock the door and in our case you climbed and climbed ladders until you reached the trap door which was swung open for you to crawl up into the picket. Not an easy way to get to your assigned position for the night.

Why I wanted to show you these towers is to help you visualize the story I am sharing with you today about a night I spent in three picket.

This little picket here must be a prison's radio picket and entry picket since it is short and close to parking spaces. All prisons have these pickets where all workers and visitors have to stop here show their Id's and then this Officer will open several gates for the person to enter the prison.

The night of this story I was assigned to three picket which was located in the very back of the prison. It is the tallest of all the pickets where you can see just about everything surrounding the unit.

About two in the morning I was talking on the picket phone to another Officer on the Radio picket. She and I were close friends and when I worked a picket now and then we tried to catch up on each other.
Of course we could not talk but a few minutes each call because being on the phone was not a good idea.

This night we were talking about some ghost stories we had been told. I had a Aunt who use to fill my head full of ghost stories. Anyway we hung our phones and I went over to sit in the big chair that sits right in the middle of the picket. The chair is not only big but really high. It was not easy for a person my size to get in and out of this chair but wanting to get off my feet sometimes I managed to crawl up it from time to time. lol

Not five minutes after hanging up the phone with Daisy about the ghost stories I am looking straight ahead at the back of the prison where the rec yard is located. The picket is built where there are brick walls half way up and then the rest of the top of the room is glass. Glass on all four sides where you can see for miles.  In the glass I see a reflection of something big, wide and white floating towards me from behind.

It was coming right toward me and all I could see was big white things floating out on each side. Of course anyone might think Ghost.

You can imagine the shock of seeing this in the glass. I jumped out of the chair and reached for my 357 Magnum that was in a holstered around my waist.  Now mind you not even a 357 would of taken care of a ghost. hahaha

All of sudden it flew into the glass and fell to the iron walkway that surrounded the picket. I ran over and looked out the window where I saw a beautiful dazed white
 Owl. He or she was shaking his head as if it were saying What the heck just happened?

Of course, I was relieved that it was a Owl but also very surprised. I have never seen a White Owl and especially one within touching distance. I froze watching it not wanting to scare it away. After a short time it flew upon the railing and sat there I guess about ten minutes getting it's wits about him back and then it turned gave me a parting look and flew off.

I phoned Daisy on the Radio Picket and told her we were
never ever going to talk about Ghost again.

She of course had a good laugh at me drawing the 357 out and ready to fire. Thank goodness I did not do that it would of been hard to explain to higher ups why I shot through one of my windows. lol

In the three picket you are assigned three weapons. A shotgun, AR15 rifle and the 357 pistol. You wear the 357 and keep the other two where you can get to them fast. I always kept the rifle by the door that was overlooking a  fence that if an Inmate should go over it there
 was nothing but open fields
where if I shot the rifle and missed chances of me hitting some one else were probably not going to happen since it was wide open.

The shotgun I kept it located by the door that when you walked out it you were near the fence by the rec yard and about a hundred yards from the unit where inmates slept. I knew I did not want to use the rifle there unless I knew for sure I would hit what I was aiming at.

When I first became a Officer I studied the perimenters of each picket that I worked on because I often thought of how easily one could shoot an innocent person if something like an escape should go down.

I never asked other Officers how or where they kept their guns and if they thought of the same things I could not help but think about. On two picket though it had dozen of weapons. It was where they kept extra guns for the unit.

Nights were really long on those outside pickets but thank goodness I never had to fire my guns at anyone. I did have to cock them a few times. In the middle of the night when you pump a shot gun believe me that sound usually will turn someone back towards the direction in which they came from.

Another story for some other time. My girlfriend Sharon and I were talking about how popular Owls were now and this story popped into my brain where memories are stored.

I thought hey I can blog about this. lol....There are so many prison memories that I might just start telling them on here every once in while so I can have them written some where. Does that make sense?

Of course it may not be what one would want to read but there are some crazy stories to tell.

It is turning cool again here and more rain tonight and tomorrow. It is so muddy on the North Forty I could easily get stuck out here.

Tomorrow I have to work on some plumbing over at my house in town with my baby brother Gary.
He of course will be doing the hard stuff and I will be his go get this and that for him.

Hope you are well and if not then please get well. lol
Seriously sending you good thoughts and much love


acorn hollow said...

gost stories at a prision now that is scary.

Theanne said...

and there I went thinking I had some great stories of working in a facility for the mentally and physically least I didn't have to wear a gun. Though there were the odd occasions when some type of weapon other than my own two hands would have been nice!

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I love all of your stories.. totally enjoyed this.. now if ya wanna tell some of those Ghost stories it'll be peachy keen with me.

I hope you have a great week and your plumbing issues are resolved real quick and as painlessly as possible.


janet said...

Oh Maggie..I loved your Owl cool was that!

I bet you have lots of interesting stories to tell.

janet xox

Sue said...

Can't believe you got to see a white owl up close and personal!

What a crazy job you had. You never cease to amaze me, Maggie.


Debby said...

The thought of you working there gives me the creeps. And what my son does also gives me the creeps.
I love owls but wouldn't know what to do if one flew almost into me.
I am having a fun giveway. Stop over and sign up.

Julia said...

Maggie, you are a regular Annie Oakley with your guns. I'm scared to death of guns. They go bang and and I close my eyes.

You are one tough cookie to be alone and telling ghost stories at night. Anyway I love your story.

Thinking of you and your family. Hugs. JB

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I love when you tell these stories, Maggie! I think you are quite a brave woman to be a Corrections Officer. I would have never thought owl! Although, it's funny you mention a white owl, because I was just reading recently about all the white owl sightings this year and that it is unusual for them {apparently}.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

This is strange, I just closed the door to the outside, and a screech owl flew by and screeched so loud!
Uncommon this neighborhood, might be the first time i've heard one here, means the mice are out I think!
When we lived in the bay area, we had to drive by San Quentin a few times. Oh the aura around the perimeter of that place is intense. Then there's Alcatraz right arcross the bay! Need I say more?

Delena said...

Oh my that must have been quite a scare. You know I have never even held a gun. I certainly hold a ton of respect for what you did. I just had 27 years of listening to people gripe about this, that and everything that is always the City's fault. You know one of those civil jobs that I am so glad to be retired from. Take care and as always you visiting my blog is wonderful!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Hi, Maggie:

Great story about the owl! You had ME scared. I'd love to hear more prison stories. That is really a world unto itself. When I was working as a psychotherapist at a workers comp prison in Lancaster, CA, I had a number of patients who worked at the prison. Some feared their co-workers more than the prisoners. It was quite a rough place. Florence, AZ, the nearest town to where I live now, is famous for its prisons, including the executive center for the state and I've seen lots of towers like the ones you pictured. Fascinating. Sorry to have been away. I came home ill (bad cold/flu) from L.A. and then had a horrible accident where I lost my four front teeth this week. So I'm lying low for a little longer and am just starting to read blogs again and hope to start writing again next week. Thanks for yet another fascinating post, Maggie!

Whimsey Creations said...

I just love your stories Maggie! Hugs!

Arkansas Patti said...

Holy Moly, I would not have the courage for that job. There wouldn't be a window left in my picket.
Super post and please do tell more prison stories.

Olga said...

That story was a real hoot. (sorry, couldn't stop myself)
My first husband was a correctional officer in a very different prion world--they did not carry guns and for a long time did not even wear uniforms. One time an inmate escaped and the police brought back an corrections officer who was out looking for him.

shawkl said...

Our stories are simply recollections of out tell them...we'll be here listening! Love hearing them too!

Sharon said...

Oh that does sound so scary.I think if it were me there would not be a window left.
I would like to read more of your stories you do know how to tell some good ones
Have a nice weekend.

Nezzy said...

What a wonderful story girl. I fear I'd have to change my panties after that one. I can see where the impression of a ghost came to mind.

I had to laugh that your first instinct was to shoot the spirit! Heeheehehhe!!!

You have the best stories sweetie, you've truly led an extraordinary life.

God bless ya and have a wonderful weekend void of 'spooks'!!! :o)

Cathy said...

I love your prison stories and find them really interesting! Keep them coming.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I love your "ghost" story. I have a story about an owl that scared the beejeezus out of me once that I'll have to tell you sometime!!!



gpc said...

You have had some interesting experiences! I would like to be competent with all those different kinds of weapons, but I can do without being scared half to death! I worked in a very old mental institution for a few months, lots of ghosts there, too. I certainly wouldn't want to meet one, but I'd love to see a white owl! By the way, did you get my email? You won a prize on my blog!

Retired English Teacher said...

I loved this story. Wow, now that I know you once carried a gun, and know how to use it, I will start calling you, "Ma'am."

Char said...

Hi Maggie,
First of all I want to THANK YOU so much for your very kind visit. I have been a bad blogger and that was one of my New Year's be better this year, but sadly, like so many resolutions, I have failed miserably. (sigh)
I loved your story about the prisons and the owl. I have to admit, I love ghost stories and have a few of my own.
It's probably a good thing that you don't live near me, I would be at your door all day long. I find after this post, that I want more, it was a wonderful read.
Now I must say, about the death penalty and all that, I just don't think about it much. It's all so horrid, but prisons are a necessity.
As for the follower question, I have no idea if Google has messed up or not. I do have another blog with the same title, except there is a 2 at the end of it. It's my busness blog and that may be the one you are familiar with. I will have to go check it out and see if I can come up with an answer.
In the meantime, be well my friend, be safe and don't be a stranger, I love hearing from you. I will promise to do the same,

yaya said...

I think we have a white owl in our pine trees..I saw it once..Jack thought I was seeing things...he might be right! Great story! You should write all your adventures down. They are interesting and a big part of your life and who you are. Go for it! I actually stayed all night at the haunted prison in Mansfield Ohio where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed..I blogged about it a few years night!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Maggie,

Wonderful story and so glad that it was only an owl coming towards the window.
We have been enjoying watching Billy Connelly travelling on Route 66 in your part of the world.

Happy weekend

Libbie said...

Oh my goodness! That would have FREAKED ME OUT!!! Seriously! First just being up there telling ghost stories would have put me over the edge :) You know what a scardey cat I am!!!!

I have never even seen an owl besides in the zoo that would have been really cool once I figured out what had happened!

I love your stories! You have such a full life!

Tam said...

Maggie dear what is it that you can not do? That is the question my hubby ask me after he read this post.
I think he is secretly in love with you because not too many days will go by when he ask me what is Maggie up to these days. lol
He also has The North Forty on his places to see this summer. I hope he is going to ask me to come along.
Seriously you amaze both of us with what you do now and what you have done.
The thing is you don't see it. I know from the emails we have shared that you don't see what others see in your blog, in you and your writing.
If I had one wish to have granted today it would be that you would continue with your writing the book you have started and that you realize that your a remarkable woman. You talk of how all your blogging buddies are but my dear sweet Maggie take time to reflect and see that God made a very special woman when he gave you to us.
Enjoy your weekend. I looked at your part of Texas and you are getting so much rain. Your pond has to be over the top by now.
Isn't it almost time for the Warrenton/Round Top shows in your area?
Always around for you

T's Daily Treasures said...

Hey Maggie. You definitely should write down all your stories. I know you've got lots of them. That poor white owl. I would have been spooked too. I don't like ghostly things or scary stories. Your comment on my blog and your post here both had me chuckling. Have a great rest of the weekend. Tammy

P.S. It's Saturday! :)

From the Kitchen said...

I think all prisons would be dismal!! The only prison I've ever been in was Alcatraz (as a visitor) and I couldn't wait to get off that rock!! Your "ghost" story gave me chills!!


Terra said...

These prison memories are fascinating; do go ahead and share some more. The white owl and ghosts, wow.
I am giving away books and soap on my blog today. Nice to meet you here in blog land. I am your new follower.

Elaine said...

I loved the story.. i see more snow owl's are moving down from the north and spotted more often.. That would have scared me... to see something comming at me..

Julia said...

Hi There Maggie, thanks for coming over. I guess if rain is a sign of spring then it counts. I'm glad that you're getting some at last. It should green things up around your place.

We're having above freezing temperature for the last couple of days so the snow has gone down quite a bit but we still have some left.

I realized that I forgot to answer your question about my bathroom renovations. The contractor has decided to work on my stairs instead while he was waiting for the tub to arrive as it had to be ordered from another city. It was supposed to arrive Thursday last week but it wasn't put on the truck with the other pieces for some reason. He's been working on the stairs in his shop and will return to work here on Monday. I'm in no rush. He's such a nice man and very generous. I'll be sure to take pictures of any renovations. My camera batteries are charged and ready to take pictures.

Have a great Sunday. Hugs. JB

Tina Eudora said...

Wow Maggie what a story! Having seen a few ghosts in my time I know they are out there and I would suppose a prison would definitely be a place they would abound! The negative energy that is part of a prison must make it a very hard job to do and you are one brave lady to have been a corrections officer.
Tina xo

Chatty Crone said...

Great story and I love you handled a gun - I have always wanted to have a gun. And the white owl.

Sweet Tea said...

Since I'm a fairly new friend, I am totally surprised to know you once worked in a prison! YIKES!! Great story and I'd love to read more. I hope you'll tell them when the mood hits...Thanks again for inviting me to be part of the Blogazine. I've met some wonderful new-to-me Bloggers as a result.

sjmcdowell said...

Hi Maggie,

Great story!!
I love Owls so much!

Glad things are going well for you!!



Gypsy Heart said...

I really enjoyed reading this! I agree that it would be good for you to share your stories...they would be awesome for your kids to have. I really, really admire you for doing this job...or any in law enforcement.


Gypsy Heart said...
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