Pennhurst Asylum: 2016
In the early 1900's the state of Pennsylvania's decided to separate and hide away that which offended society - apparently people that didn't fit the "Norm." These people were thought to be a menace to society and were considered possible future criminals. This led to the creation of Pennhurst State school and Hospital. The plan was to segregate and institutionalize these "retarded" people. School and house them. Teach a trade. And in some cases, perhaps even cure them.
Pennhurst housed physically and mentally handicapped individuals. Also added to the population were orphans and epileptics. Overcrowded conditions, limited medical advances and lack of staff took its toll on the residents, who desperately needed more one on one care. With lack, of supervision, abuse, became commonplace. Overwhelmed staff often quit. Requests for additional funding was denied or delayed by the state. In many ways, Pennhurst was on its own - a boat without a paddle, filled with rusty holes and sinking fast.
With time decay took root, both in the buildings and in the lives of the individuals, who were all but forgotten. In the 1960's change was in the works. Lawsuits and revelations.
Thankfully Pennhurst closed down in 1987.
In the fall, for a period of about six weekends, Pennhurst Asylum opens its doors for its annual Halloween attraction. This involves the use of the Administration Building, portions of the tunnels and the Mayflower Hall Building. Although not ever one is pleased with the haunted attraction, inviting the public to Pennhurst does shed light on Pennhurst's past - be it good or bad.
Halloween is a time of fun and pretend. Getting scared is a thrill for most people. But then there are those who don't care for a scare. Ghost Hunt is held in the Mayflower Hall Building. This attraction offers patrons the chance to see the building without actors jumping out to scare. Ghost Hunt is just that. A Ghost hunt. And if you don't believe in ghosts, perhaps seeing the building in its rustic condition will be a scare enough.
|Wheelchair left behind at Pennhurst|
|MAYFLOWER HALL: 2ND FLOOR MAIN HALL|
Mayflower now hosts a museum, filled with artifacts from the original state school. This includes pictures, artwork, clothing, instruments, medical equipment, etc. Plans are in the making to increase the museum and offer day tours.
|View from Mayflower Hall window|
|Pennhurst playground equipment|
Author Tamera Lawrence
GHOSTS OF MAYFLOWER: A PENNHURST HAUNTING
PENNHURST GHOST OF MAYFLOWER II