March 2, 2016 10:08 am

For a lot of people, Pennhurst Asylum was Hell on Earth. It was once known as the ‘Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic’, and during its time saw 10,000 patients pass through the doors, many of which were children, abandoned by their parents. It was an awful place, known for abuse, mistreatment, and unimaginable suffering, and today is known as one of the most haunted places in the world.

Most of the children who were dropped off on the doorstep of PennHurst were suffering from disabilities that ranged anywhere from Autism to Down-syndrome. More often than not their parents found themselves unable to care for them, and PennHurst seemed like a welcome option. Unfortunately that was not the case…

Even though the hospital was built to care for the desperately at-need, the state of Pennsylvania only awarded PennHurst a very meager sum of money to function, and because of that, conditions were absolutely deplorable.

The patient to doctor ratio was almost non-existent, and often times many of the most physically disabled patients suffered the most. Because they were unable to continuously care for them, it was not uncommon for orderlies to tie patients to metal cribs, and leave them alone for hours. The sad truth is that sometimes patients would even cover themselves in their own feces just to get human contact, and because the staff was so overwhelmed they often sat in their own filth for hours and hours before anyone could clean them.

It was not uncommon for staff to drug patients, chain them to beds, or even leave them strapped to gurneys for hours on end. If a patient bit another patient or staff member more than once, the punishment would be to have all their teeth removed. This happened so often that today visitors still find teeth in the tunnels under the hospital. Like I said, it was an awful place.

Reports of mistreatment went back as far as 1912, and for the years that the building was functioning it was home to countless instances of rape, suffering, and death. By the late 60s, things were so bad at PennHurst Asylum that NBC did an exclusive story focused on the horrible patient mistreatment called “Suffer the Little Children”. The story led to a lawsuit, but it wasn’t until the mid 80s that the school was finally ordered closed.

Because of the unbelievable amount of suffering that occurred inside the walls of PennHurst Asylum, it’s no surprise that over the years people have reported having terrifying experiences with the souls who perished at the hospital.

There are so many locations at PennHurst that are said to be haunted, but the most noteworthy are the Quaker Building, where shadows stalk you from the darkness, and the ghost of a little girl has (on more than one occasion) scratched visitors with unseen hands.

Often people will hear the sounds of children screaming or crying, and when they go to investigate there’s no one there. Over the years the ghosts of both ex-staff members and patients have been witnessed by visitors… and interaction are rarely harmless. People leave PennHurst emotionally distraught, scratched, touched, and bring hom general feelings of hostility. It’s a pretty nasty place, and considering the history of the building it makes perfect sense.

If you’re brave enough you can visit the asylum and not only take a self-guided tour, but also spend the night investigating the ghosts of what is considered to be the most terrifying building in North America.


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This post was written by Nadia Vella