Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Quaker Hall: Pennhurst

The Quaker Building in known for its dark past and paranormal activity. This building once housed both men and women, who were aggressive or violent. And yet others who stayed here were practically comatose.

 It was originally thought that it was a waste of time to try to treat someone with severe, diminished mental capacity - in other words, a person in this condition wasn't worth treatment. These folks were left to rot in their beds with little to no therapy. Pennhurst tried to concentrate more on those they thought they could help. But the fact is most residents failed to progress and most regressed due to lack of therapy and stimulation. 

Can you imagine being a child in such a place? What must've it been like? It's hard to imagine children, teens and babies in Pennhurst's hands. Childhood is so fleeting, such a precious time of innocence. And yet - children were punished by being put into the Quaker building - to demean them and shame them in front of their peers. Who could these children turn to for help? Some were fortunate to have a parent speak out, but most complaints fell on deaf ears. No one was listening. And those who did listen, couldn't do anything about it. 

A friend of mine, John, worked at Pennhurst for 20 years.  His first week at Pennhurst, depression overcame him at what he was witnessing. His exact words, "There wasn't anything I could do about changing things. It made me sad." But still he prevailed. He can remember the good and the bad.  "The kids at Pennhurst like treats, especially soda pop. It was one of their favorite things."

Another memory John shared was how the teen boys liked cars and would often wash staff vehicles. John had his car washed many times over. But the kids could also be mischievous, looking for opportunities to take something that didn't belong to them. Case in point -  once John had all of his groceries stolen from his car. He did manage to track them down. 

In any event, Quaker still stands with its historical legacy. 

Author Tamera Lawrence

Ghosts of Mayflower: A Pennhurst Haunting

Pennhurst Ghosts of Mayflower II - June 2015