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Missouri State Penitentiary discontinues tours

Missouri State Penitentiary discontinues tours

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Missouri State Penitentiary

This file photo shows an exterior view of the closed Missouri State Penitentiary, which was built in 1836 and closed in 2006. Photo by Michael Schlueter.

Fresh off its Travel Channel "Ghost Adventures" episode and just as it was gearing up for Halloween, the Missouri State Penitentiary has shut down its tours. 

All tours, including history tours, overnight ghost hunts and more, are discontinued for the rest of the year. 

A site assessment has revealed mold in the former prison, reports  Ryan Burns, communications manager at the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, which operates the tours, says mold testing was performed but they have not seen the final report.

The state, which owns the buildings, closed the buildings and prohibited anyone from entering them.

"Without access to the buildings, we thought it was for the best to close," says Burns.

They had 2,500 reservations they needed to cancel; most of them for the ghost tours.

"Obviously it's a huge disappointment for the community," says Burns. "They come in and buy gas and go to our restaurants. But we are optimistic that this will lead to a change in the future. ... And we hope to be operating again in 2014."

Guests who are already registered for a tour will be contacted by phone and email to get a full refund.  

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