As the Halloween season begins, autumn attractions pop up everywhere. From parades and festivals, to hayrides and outdoor activities. But then there is the Halloween haunts that invite fear seekers to confront the dark and face their nightmares if only for a moment of fun.
But even without the added Halloween glimmer, Pennhurst Asylum, located in Spring City, Pennsylvania is one scary place. Built in 1908, Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic once housed children of all ages. These children were what society labeled as misfits, retarded or epileptic and placed in Pennhurst to shield the general public from having to accept or interact with people who were less than perfect. But not every child was mentally challenged, there were also the orphans, who were added to the mix.
Can you imagine being a child left in such a place? It must have been terrible to be taken away from your family (if you had the benefit of having one that cared) and basically dumped off at an institution that labeled and discarded you into one of their many buildings or cottages. Understaffed the ratio of care taker to residents was absurd and the institute was severely underfunded, having little ability to change anything. Children were basically left to fend for themselves or tied into beds, becoming often the victims of neglect, beatings and even rape. Children drew into themselves, failed to progress – some became silent.
In 1968 ,CBS10 exposed the horrific conditions at Pennhurst through a documentary entitled Suffer the Little Children reported through Bill Baldini. And in 1987 Halderman verses Pennhurst State School and hospital became a widely publicized lawsuit over the abuse and neglect suffered by some of the residents.
Thankfully, Pennhurst State School and Hospital closed its doors in 1987.
Currently the Pennhurst Haunt offers a haunted attraction filled with plenty of grisly scenes and action packed ghouls to evoke screams from the most brave of heart. But when the lights dim, some say the spirits of the past still lurk about, filling the tunnels and rooms of the old massive buildings with ghostly activity. Pennhurst is said to be truly haunted and often the source of paranormal investigations. But if you don’t want to temp your fate and go there in person, feel free to check out what it was like to work in the Mayflower Hall Building during a Halloween season. (Preview on Amazon.com)
So is the Fear Is Real logo true of the Pennhurst Haunt? Absolutely!
Note: Pennhurst Haunt opens September 20 – November 3rd 2013. (Weekends and some Thursdays). Check their calendar for specific dates and times. For more information: http://www.pennhurstasylum.com/