Pennsylvania, a state renowned for its rich history and diverse landscapes, harbors one of the eeriest locations on Earth: the Pennhurst State School and Hospital, an abandoned asylum situated in Spring City.
A Hopeful Start
Established in 1908 as the Eastern Pennsylvania Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, Pennhurst State School and Hospital aimed to provide a secure haven for mentally and physically disabled Pennsylvanians. Initially, with a committed staff of paid employees and volunteers, the asylum flourished, offering a refuge for its residents.
Over the years, however, funding for the asylum dwindled, leading to deplorable conditions, including overcrowding, food shortages, and patient abuse. Despite whispers about the appalling conditions within the asylum’s walls, the public remained largely unaware of the atrocities at Pennhurst.
It wasn’t until a local news station ran an exposé on the asylum in 1968 that the public began to take notice. However, little was done until the early 1980s when former resident Terry Lee Halderman filed a lawsuit against Pennhurst State School and Hospital. Halderman’s lawsuit exposed unspeakable horrors within the asylum, including physical abuse and the excessive use of restraints.
Pennhurst Asylum closed its doors in 1987, but its story did not end there. Many believe that the restless spirits of those who perished at the asylum still wander the grounds. Today, the abandoned asylum attracts ghost hunters and paranormal investigators from all over, drawn to its eerie atmosphere and haunted reputation.
For the daring, overnight paranormal investigations are offered at Pennhurst. These tours, operating from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., provide access to the most haunted sections of the Pennhurst campus. Daytime tours focusing on the history of Pennhurst are also available.
The Pennhurst State School and Hospital, with its chilling past and haunted present, stands as one of the spookiest places in Pennsylvania. Its story serves as a stark reminder of the dark side of institutional care and emphasizes the importance of advocating for the rights and well-being of all individuals.