Like the Goldfield Hotel, the Pennhurst State School and Asylum was on my Top 5 list of haunted places to visit. Last summer I went to Pennslyvania to visit my family, and it gave me the perfect opportunity to check it out.
If you want to read about Pennhurst’s history there are a few great websites such as Preserve Pennhurst, The Pennhurst Project, and Pennhurst Asylum: The Shame of Pennsylvania. There is also a television news report from 1968, called Suffer The Little Children that helped bring public attention to conditions inside Pennhurst.
We arrived at Pennhurst about 6 pm and while waiting for my friend Nick to arrive and let us in we wandered around the outside and took some pictures.
Nick arrived and we were lucky to get to spend a few minutes in the Mayflower building before a paranormal team came in to do an investigation. While we were inside Nick was told that some kids were seen in one of the buildings and so we went with him to see if we could find them. One of my biggest pet peeves as a paranormal enthusiast is people who break into locations.
While we were walking through the tunnels below Pennhurst I was trying to imagine how it would have looked while open. I imagine it would have been an incredibly noisy atmosphere, and thought about how scared many of the patients must have been when they arrived at Pennhurst.
I believe that places with a strong emotional or traumatic history are often the most active places for paranormal activity. If you believe that energy can leave an imprint on a location (i.e. residual haunting), hospitals, asylums, and jails create the perfect atmosphere for this.
We made it to the Rockwell building and thought we were hearing footsteps in the tunnel behind us. It’s like a maze underneath the buildings, and with just a flashlight to find our way, it was incredibly creepy. We thought the sounds we were hearing could be the kids who had snuck into the buildings, but when we went outside we saw them near the pool, running away from the area.
We went back inside and showed us around and gave us some history of the areas we were in, and some of the experiences he had while working there. I’m not a wimp when it comes to the paranormal, but I can’t imagine being inside the buildings at Pennhurst alone.
We stopped to do some quick EVP work and Nick started us off by asking a few questions. We got a garbled response to one question, when he asked if they could tell us where assembly is.
This freaked out my cousin who had never been to a haunted location before, let alone a place as notorius as Pennhurst. We continued on to another building and stopped in a room to ask some more questions.
Nick asked if anyone who was there would like to come out and say hi, and we captured this immediate response.
I decided to ask a couple of questions, and I started laughing when he played them back. Whoever was there with us did not seem to like me or my questions.
I had a blast exploring Pennhurst. While this visit was more of an exploration and not a paranormal investigation, I’d love to go back and be a part of a real investigation at Pennhurst.