The Haunted History
On May 15, 1903, the State of Pennsylvania, through an act of legislature, the "Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic" was created. It would serve as a school and mental hospital facility that would house "no less than 500 persons". The purpose of its was to serve the educational, industrial and custodial needs through its asylum model. The institution was to be "entirely and specifically devoted to the reception, detention, care and training of epileptics and of idiotic and feeble-minded persons of either sex... (and) shall provide separate classification of the numerous groups embraced under the terms "epileptics" and "idiotic" and "imbecile" or "Feeble minded". The purpose and intent of the hospital and school was to provide a place that offered rehabilitative services and programs to individuals that were considered to be mentally challenged or disabled in a physical manner in the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Despite the good intentions of those that established the institution, the services offered were far from productive.
From its inception, immediately Pennhurst sustained difficulties which would remain as constants for nearly its entire history. The buildings became over-crowded (beyond comprehension) with a constant waiting list for admissions. There was tremendous pressure to take people whose needs were not the same as those for whom the facility was intended, unfortunately. Overwhelmed parents dropped off their children who were either mentally retarded or autistic. Sadly, many of these children were abandoned to become wards of the state. While some patients could care for themselves, many more suffered from severe disabilities. Those patients who couldn't care for themselves became the school's most vulnerable victims. Unbelievable, it is estimated that there were many times in which over 10,000 were housed at under horrible conditions.
In addition, the lack of sufficient allocated monies precipitated the horrific conditions. Despite the high number of patients requiring special care, the state provided the institution with meager funds. There were very few doctors, nurses and orderlies available to meet the patients' needs. Many patients spent their days and nights trapped in metal cribs in horrid conditions. Others were so desperate for human contact that they went to great lengths for attention by injuring themselves or even smearing themselves with their own feces in hopes of a bath. Cruel punishments were revealed at the facility. Overworked staff responded to unruly patients by drugging them into submission or chaining them to their beds. Other residents were isolated for such long periods of time that they regressed and lost their will to speak, fight or even to live.
After a decade of these conditions, loved ones when coming to visit residents were appalled to find their children bruised and uncared for. They filed reports of their concerns on the poor quality of treatment they were witnessing. But it was quickly apparent that outsiders could do little to help, and patients continued to suffer from abuse, rape, even death at the hands of staff and other patients. Society continued to turn a blind eye to the horrors of this state-run institution.
It was not until the 1960s, when the rumblings of neglect and abuse began to reach the media. For their news story, they started revealing the secrets behind the walls. Shocking images revealed in the presses, demonstrated the extent of the inhumane treatments. After two decades of litigation, Pennhurst finally closed their doors for good in 1986. Its buildings were abandoned, left just as they were, with patients’ clothes and belongings strewn about, and furniture, cabinets, and medical equipment, some dating as far back as the 1930s, were left to decay. For many years these neglected spaces were left to the tortured, sad spirits. Today caretakers of the property believe that the buildings and underground tunnels are haunted by the angry spirits of patients who suffered and died here.
Pennhurst is considered one of the most haunted establishments in the world. Since Pennhurst closed, many legitimate reports of paranormal activity have been documented within this structure. Visitors to the property have reported seeing full body apparitions, shadows moving along corridors or scurrying away from the light. Objects have been thrown through the air and doors opening and closing on their own. People have heard disembodied footsteps, shouts, crying, and screaming. Even sounds of vomiting coming from otherwise empty rooms.
Many visitors experience such an overwhelming feeling of despair inside the buildings, they can't remain inside them for longer than a few minutes. In addition, many have had the sensation of being touched, scratched and even shoved. Others have felt an icy breeze in areas that are sealed with no cross ventilation. Some witnesses have seen the spirit of a little girl roaming the buildings, perhaps waiting to tell her own story of sorrow and neglect.
If you have an interest in a discovering the mysteries of a past troubled and very haunted mental hospital, a haunted school, or simply desire to learn about the most haunted places in Pennsylvania, you will find the Pennhurst Asylum to be highly mystifying and intriguing. Even today, the stories and events of the physical and spiritual residents remain to be some of the greatest unsolved mysteries. Is the Pennhurst State School haunted? We will let you decide.
Their Public Offerings
In addition to offering tours of their haunted spaces, hosting events with the most accomplished paranormal investigators, it is considered one of the most "authentically" haunted houses in America. Their haunted house offers a animated attraction that is not meant for the faint of heart. The Pennhurst Haunted attraction includes the Pennhurst Asylum, a hospital themed walk thru attraction featuring many items and artifacts that were part of the original State School. Located on the upper floors of the old Administration building, which dates to 1908, this attraction features a combination of high tech animatronics, digital sound and motivated actors, as well as fine detail and realism.
The Dungeon of Lost Souls
Features a labyrinth of old cells, drafty halls and a series of human experiments that have gone horribly wrong. This show includes CGI special effects, illusions, great detail and amazing actors.
The Tunnel Terror
The Tunnel Terror attraction takes you through a 900 foot long gauntlet underneath the grounds of the old State School, first named Pennhurst Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic. Upgraded with amazing catacombs, new sets and scares, this attraction is guaranteed to produce screams.
The final attraction, called Ghost Hunt, is a self guided tour of the Mayflower Building, reportedly the most active of all the locations on the campus, and featured on Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. Armed with only a flashlight, visitors are allowed to wander through the dormitory, left just as it was 26 years ago, and search for spirits on their own. The Ghost Hunt includes an all new walking tour of an abandoned section of the infamous Pennhurst property.
Times of Operation:
Friday and Saturday 6:30pm to 10:30pm
Sunday & Thursday 6:30pm TO 9:30pm
Promo Codes available on the website.
Pennhurst Asylum $16.00
Dungeon of Lost Souls $16.00
Ghost Hunt $21.00
Tunnel Terror $16.00
Combo Pass (3 haunts) $42.00
Combo Pass (4 haunts) $47.00
VIP Pass $78.00
Pennhurst State School
100 Commonwealth Drive
Spring City, PA 19475
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