Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pennhurst State School and Hospital

Pennhurst State School and Mental Hospital was originally known as The Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic. Opening in 1908, Pennhurst was meant to run as a society in itself, separating the mental and physically handicapped from "Normal" society. It was believed in the early 1900s that people with disabilities would grow to become future criminals. The gene pool had to be stopped. Segregation became the aim. It was also believed that these people could be cured with the right treatment. One could only imagine of what that treatment consisted of in 1908 and on upwards.  Children as young as four could be dropped off at Pennhurst. This included delinquents and orphans.

The state of Pennsylvania created this gateway called Pennhurst for the unfortunate and then failed to maintain it. With inadequate funding, staff and resources were limited - leading to abuse and neglect.Thankfully, Pennhurst closed down in 1986.

With its tainted history, Pennhurst still stands as a testament of society's failure to protect its innocent children.

Author Tamera Lawrence: Ghosts of Mayflower


Today, parts of Pennhurst are used for a Halloween Scare during the fall season - Pennhurst Asylum. The Ghost Hunt (one of the attractions) offers a visitor the chance to explore the Mayflower Hall Building looking for spirits or ghosts. 

Pennhurst is located in Spring City, Pa.