In 1903, the Pennhurst Haunted Asylum for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic was given permission to build the Pennhurst State School and Asylum. This was previously known as the Pennhurst Haunted Asylum for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum was envisioned as a state-run hospital that would house anyone judged “feeble-minded” and hence unable to function in normal society. People with physical or psychological abnormalities, as well as dumb, deaf, and blind people, were among those who were physically and mentally incapacitated. Those with offensive behaviors and imperfect speech were also listed. Patients have been diagnosed physically as imbecile or insane, mentally as healthy or epileptic, and dentally as having good, bad, or treated teeth as they were hospitalized. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum closed on December 9, 1987, following 79 years of debate in Spring City.

History of the Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum, according to paranormal experts, is one of the most haunted places in Pennsylvania, if not the entire country. Around the property, ghost hunting has established a cottage industry, and there is even a Pennhurst Haunted Asylum paranormal association. They lived here, died here, and are still here, their motto says. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum is a lovely, large site with approximately 20 structures. The older structures are made of red brick with granite and terra cotta accents, and they are rather beautiful. With a power plant, farming, and other facilities on the property, the project was designed to be nearly self-sufficient. It was supplied by a private train line that delivered supplies from the outside world for items they couldn’t source for themselves.

Many of the structures, like many comparable facilities of the era, are connected by subterranean fire-proof tunnels to facilitate moving patients around simpler. The buildings were designed with small quarters for two or three people, but Pennhurst Haunted Asylum was already overcrowded four years after it opened. Due to pressure to admit refugees, orphaned, and convicts. In 1913, the Pennsylvania Legislature created a feeble-minded care committee that labeled disabled persons unfit for citizenship and advised custody, which caused even more overcrowding to Pennhurst Haunted Asylum. By the mid-1960s, the asylum had 2.791 residents, which were 900 more than it could properly manage. Although the facility is designated as a “school,” just 200 inmates were engaged in art, education or leisure programmers, although a lot of them were sufficiently functional for such care.

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum horrors

The terrible history of Pennhurst Haunted Asylum reads like a page from a horror novel. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum was home to many cries and screams that went unheard due to mental and physical abuse, mistreatment of society’s weakest members, and terrible congestion. The frightening truths that its decaying walls saw are still a mystery, with ghost hunters coming to it to unravel the stories of its previous tenants. The fact that feeble-minded persons were considered a criminal threat is the most horrific aspect of this asylum tale. In 1913, the Commission for the Care of the Feeble-Minded was established, with the bold declaration that disabled people should not be allowed to live in regular society because they constituted a menace to the peace. Among the hospitalized were children, who were held in metal cages and often spent days laying in their own filth. Bill Baldini, who was the first to break the story of the residents’ horrific living conditions, claimed that viewing what they witnessed was so difficult that the team almost wanted to leave because they were mortified. 

It simply smells like excrement, rats crawling all over, excrement and urine on the floor, insects coming in the windows, said former tenant Roland Johnson of Pennhurst. The story aired in 1968, and what he depicted transformed the asylum’s history. Patients who were naked, unwell, and skeleton in appearance, as well as children aged 6 months to 5 years, were confined to beds. Male and female patients were initially kept together but eventually divided to prevent conception. And these patients were subjected to abuse by the employees. Patients with high functioning were isolated from those with low functioning, but they were frequently placed inwards with the less able-bodied as penalties. Some patients were deliberately agitated in order to become aggressive. The caretakers would organize their attacks. They had been battered, and some of them were in wheelchairs. Some people passed away there. In 1983, nine workers were charged with various forms of physical abuse and violence. The Asylum was finally closed in 1987, over two decades after the truth was revealed. People have reported strange shivers, screaming, voices screaming for aid, and shadows when a section of the asylum was reopened as a paranormal tourist attraction.

Haunting of Pennhurst Asylum

The Shore Paranormal Research Society, a paranormal research group based in New Jersey, spoke with some web site about the different unexplained experiences they’ve documented over the decades. Recordings of voices saying things like “go away,” “I’ll murder you,” “Why would you come here,” and “I’m terrified” are among the frightening incidents. Shadows coming and disappearing at will, apparitions that look like toddlers or hunched-over presences, apparitions of a nurse, things moving by themselves, and the investigators being physically touched by invisible presences have all been observed. The tunnel system in Pennhurst Asylum is one of the more active areas. Pennhurst is so active that a book is published about the haunting of Tamera Lawrence in 2011, a lady who was employed at the Mayflower building. She describes the four recognized entities hunting the building’s second story. 

The first is a small kid named Howie, who likes to play with the Fisher-Price airplane. The second ghost is a shadow guy that can be seen again and again in the shared room or the bathroom. A couple claims to find that his name is Fisher, a name discovered within one cell on a wall. Other investigators caught this shadow figure many times on the camera. A small girl who is seen at different places across the second floor is the spirit of the third ghost. A furious nurse is the fourth spirit. People are stabbed by what feels like a needle, according to several accounts. In what Lawrence calls “‘art room” both of these spirits have been seen. The third floor is the most active location in the Mayflower. This floor is used as a patient dormitory, and numerous patients still continue to remain claimed by the present caretaker. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum will remain unresolved whether or not it is definitely haunted.

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74 COMMENTS

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