Event Finish Time: 6:00am
Welcome to the exclusive and #1 most haunted asylum in America, Pennhurst Asylum in Pennsylvania.
We have exclusive access to the Mayflower Building and also the underground Tunnel.
Pennhurst Asylum, formerly known as Eastern State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, is a location with a dark and harrowing past. Featured on paranormal programs such as the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and the History Channel’s Haunted History, this campus still has thousands of secrets its eagerly waiting to reveal.
While Pennhurst Asylum was in full operation, over 10,000 patients called it home. Many are still lurking the corridors screaming of the injustices that were forced upon them. Overcrowding and understaffing resulted in patients being restrained for days upon end, patient’s dying at one another’s hands and by the hands of those who were entrusted with their care.
Children with physical and mental disabilities were abandoned. Meager funding left patients trapped in metal cribs and horrid conditions. Cruel punishments enacted upon the patients – if one patient bit another, the second offense resulted in every tooth being extracted. With all the mistreatment of residents, no wonder there is a darkness still hovering over Pennhurst.
On the third floor there is a spirit that likes to test the testosterone levels of men. Lunging towards and attempting to strangle the more aggressive males; few can take the heat and end up running away.
Footsteps, faint whispers, being pushed and touched, cries, shadow figures…Pennhurst will definitely not disappoint but might not be for the faint of heart! Are you willing to brave these hallways to hear the distraught stories of those who still call Pennhurst home?
Pennhurst Asylum was founded in 1908 as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic serving the mentally and physically disabled of Southeastern Pennsylvania until it closed its doors in December of 1987. While the building was active, overcrowding and questionable practices to the modern eye has earned this institution, and many like it, a foreboding reputation that haunts the hearts of humanity.
It is important to remember that the “leading minds” of the progressive era, influenced by the enlightenment, were the ones who helped purport the belief that those born with disabilities should be segregated from society as a whole and effectively sterilized in order to prevent the spread of “defective genes.” Institutions, like Pennhurst, were thought to be a more humane approach than the previously occupied poorhouses and farms.
The original design accounted for the segregation of residents by both gender and disability with a system of tunnels and walkways that allowed for the transportation of residents unseen. After admitting “Patient Number 1” in November of 1908, overcrowding swiftly became a problem. The institution designed for the those with intellectual and developmental disabilities were pressured to admit residents who were considered “undesirables” in society. Steeped in the flawed intellectualism of the Eugenics movement, the desire to cull the gene pool led to pressure to admit immigrants, orphans, criminals and more.
As the population grew there were several additions to the institution including a female campus and hospital. Despite the expansions and annexes, the population continued to climb and reaches a peak of 3,500 individuals in the early 1960’s. With as many residents as a large town, it’s no wonder that Pennhurst began to grab the attention of the Media.
In 1968, Bill Baldini, a local CBS Correspondent, exposed the conditions of Pennhurst to the general public in a five-part television news report. Although it was not the first medium to criticize Pennhurst (numerous newspaper articles, legislative inquiries and investigations had focused on the Institution prior to this point) this particular television report called eyes down upon Pennhurst and called into question as to why nothing had been done to rectify the complaints and exposures of the past.
A landmark case was first filed in 1974, Halderman v. Pennhurst by the mother of a Pennhurst resident. Some of the complaints lobbied against the institution are as follows:
- No psychologists are on duty at Pennhurst at night or over the weekend
- Physical and Chemical restraints are used as control measures. The physical restraints include: seclusion rooms, binding patients’ hands and feet, binding patients to chairs and beds.
- Seclusion rooms have been used to punish aggressive behavior. One eighteen-year-old individual spent six consecutive days in seclusion in 1974 for assaulting a Down's Syndrome resident.
- Physical restraints are also used due to staff shortages. An extreme example is a female resident who, during the month of June 1976, was in a physical restraint for 651 hours 5 minutes; for the month of August, 1976, was in physical restraints for 720 hours; during September, 1976, was in physical restraints for 674 hours 20 minutes; and during the month of October, 1976, was in physical restraints for 647 hours 5 minutes. This resident was so extremely self-destructive she totally blinded herself.
- There is often excrement and urine on ward floors, and the living areas do not meet minimal professional standards for cleanliness. Outbreaks of pinworms and infectious disease are common.
- Injuries to residents by other residents, and through self-abuse, are common. For example, on January 8, 1975, one individual bit off three-quarters of the earlobe and part of the outer ear of another resident while the second resident was asleep. About this same period, one resident pushed a second to the floor, resulting in the death of the second resident.
- In 1976, one resident was raped by a staff person; one resident was badly bruised when a staff person hit him with a set of keys; another resident was thrown several feet across a room by a staff person; and one resident was hit by a staff person with a shackle belt.
- Many of the residents have suffered physical deterioration and intellectual and behavioral regression during their residency at Pennhurst.
- Terri Lee Halderman's medical records contain a listing of over forty reported injuries.
- Parent’s observed twenty-five residents walking the ward naked, others were only partially dressed.
Apart from this trial heard by the Supreme Court, in 1983 nine employees were indicted on charges ranging from slapping and beating patients to arranging for patients to assault one another. After the Halderman v. Pennhurst case was heard, the institution shut down in 1987.
Your ghost hunt at Pennhurst Asylum includes the following:
- Exclusive access to the Mayflower Building,
- Exclusive access to the underground tunnels,
- Group Séances,
- Ghost Hunting Vigils,
- Structured Vigils,
- Ghost Hunt with experienced Ghost Hunting Team,
- Use of our equipment which includes, trigger objects and EMF Meters,
- Private time to explore this location and to undertake your very own private vigils,
- Unlimited refreshments available throughout the night including: Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Coca Cola, Diet Coke, and Bottled Water.
- Selection of snacks.
Guests are strongly advised to bring extra warm clothing with them.