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    "Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Pennhurst State School and Hospital



In 1903, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the creation of the Eastern State Institution for the Feeble-minded and Epileptic. A commission was organized to determine how many feeble-minded and epileptic people were in need of specialized institutional care.

Construction began in 1903 on hundreds of acres of Crab Hill in Spring City, Pennsylvania. It officially opened on November 23, 1908. However, additional buildings were added throughout its years of operation. The lower campus buildings include Philadelphia, Quaker, Franklin, Nobel, Devon, Mayflower, Whitman, Wilson I and II. Upper Campus are Pershing, Buchanan, Audubon, Keystone, Capital and Horizon. A tunnel system connects twenty-six of the buildings. The Pennsylvania Railroad created a Pennhurst Station to deliver coal and other supplies. The tracks had since been removed but are currently being recreated.

In 1908, "Patient number 1" was admitted. Four years later, Pennhurst was overcrowded and under pressure to admit immigrants, orphans and criminals. Residents were divided in to various classifications: 1) mental - imbecile or insane; 2) physical - epileptic or healthy; 3) dental - good, poor, or treated teeth. Children who were admitted to Pennhurst had conditions such as mute, paralytic, blind, imperfect prehension, deformity of face, head, limbs and/or feet, and offensive habits. Residents were assigned to various branches of industry including mattress making, farming, laundry, sewing, baking, butchering and painting. However, in 1913, the Commission for the Care of the Feeble-minded believed every feeble-minded person was a potential criminal and should not be mixing with the general public.

A lawsuit was filed against Pennhurst State School and Hospital by former resident Terry Lee Halderman siting violations of her Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments in 1977. The complaint included carious allegations of unsanitary, inhumane and dangerous conditions and staff used cruel and unusual punishment methods. Psychotropic drugs were allegedly used to restrain patients. Seclusion rooms were used to punish aggressive behavior. Patients were left in metal cribs for days at a time. Physical restraints were used due to staff shortages. Patients were raped, physically assaulted, thrown across the room, hit by a belt. Patients were witnessed by family members having bruises, scratches, welts, bites, broken bones, missing teeth by the hands of themselves, staff or other patients. Outbreaks were common due to minimal cleanliness. Some patients walked around partially dressed or completely naked.

Halderman's lawsuit was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court stating federal courts cannot order state officials to comply with state laws due to the Eleventh Amendment. However, the facility was forced to close in 1986 due to the allegations of abuse. Today, it is in the process of being renovated and is not opened to the public.

There are numerous paranormal reports associated with Pennhurst. Witness have seen partial and full bodied apparitions (including a woman in white and a young girl with blonde hair), doors slamming, screams, voices, banging, feeling of being watched, shadows, dragging sounds, piano playing, and items being thrown by unseen hands. Others have seen apparitions peering around corners and out windows, being pushed, whispers, and footsteps.

16 comments:

Jessica Penot said...

Thank goodness for the deinstitutionalization movement of the 1970's. Places like this were a special evil.

Adsila said...

This place chills me to the bone!

Andrea Allison said...

I know what you mean.

Randy Linn said...

Eh... I still wanna go there and walk around.. even if its not open to the public. : D

Anonymous said...

I'm watching a documentary on it now... major goosebumps.

Anonymous said...

That place gives me gives me the ebbey gebies

stacy said...

it is very sad and sick to me that we can let something like that go on up until the 80's and one news man saved all them people. by doing what his heart said. not what the world did. like look the other way. thank you hero.

kristin said...

I was just there this Oct.30, while I was walking the halls Of the Mayflower building I snapped one pic before my phone froze. It wasn't until I stepped outside that my phone worked..The next morning I really looked at the picture, I was surprized at what I saw..In a room with nothing but a crib,there is 2 babies in the crib! One has a over sized head the other seems to have something wrong with his eye's and he is naked..There is also a women with long hair standing behind the crib! I am speaking the trueth..She is the lady in white that people have said to seen . Only in my pic she also has a pink shawl wrapped around her..If that doesn't beat all there is also other children in the photo..If any one else has taken a photo of the same room, would you like to share? I would really like to compare the two. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Pennhurst Pisses me off!

Anonymous said...

It Hurts me as i read what they did to those kids and mentally challenged people. its horrible and i kno so many people to day that if they were back then they would have been admitted and it hurtsd to know that!

Anonymous said...

I was there with my ex who was in the PA National Guard. As we go closer to the building we were going to, I felt tension and anxiety growing. The entire time I felt like I was being watched. The hallways of the building were like a big maze, which made me feel trapped and claustrophobic. I can't imagine what those patients when through. But the anger, anxiety and fear is still radiating from that building.

Anonymous said...

I work in a centre for the special needs and seeing the documentary on this place makes me sick. Everyone, deserves to be treated fairly, no matter the situation of life. God has made everyone unique in there own way, and we should be accepted for who we are, not be punished for it.

Anonymous said...

if you think that there's no abuse going on within group homes and programs,you're beyond naive.
human nature goes DOWN to those abusing those UNABLE TO FIGHT BACK.

deinstituionalization DID NOT STOP ABUSE.

not all institutions were hell holes.

jamie henson said...

i am jamie and i have been to pennhurst. when i walked into quaker hall, i got a feeling of dread and anger. i started to vomit and without thinking, i ran out of the building. then i went to mayflower hall and i felt upset, i started crying and pleading that my crew take me away but then it just stoped. we took some pictures and on them pictures, we found orbs, full body shadows and what look like peoplr looking out the window.

if you have any pictures of ghosts or just of pennhurst please send them to me at:
henson109cool@gmail.com

Taninja Mitchell said...

I would like to go but some of them spirits are too strong especially when u have to walk in there with a cross thats to much i am watching it now on bio with Beverly (from seven heaven) and kim the ghost reader thats crazy how they go in there alot has happen in that school / hospital they were chaining disable children to their bed and rape and them thats sad them children been through some of them sprits are never rested

Ashley Brynildsen said...

Pennhurst Asylum Pisses me off by reenacting almost everything that happened. About three years ago now me and two of my friends went to Pennhurst just to check it out and see if the place was really haunted and it turned out to be true. Myself and my two friends somehow we got seperated I went on to calling there names. Pennhurst in some areas the emotions change I felt fine one second and then I got depressed the more further I went my emotions changed. I believe in the paranormal activities and demons and everything else but my body reacts to it I dont show my fears and I do communicate with the enties and etc. But in Pennhurst even thought there is no lights I dont know how I got down to the tunnels. The tunnels are even more dark then I thought. I have believed in the paranormal ever since my Grandmother died in 2004 but I was able to see and feel her presents and today I can see everyone I have lost but my hint to everyone out there Both myself and Zak Bagans (Ghost Adventures) never believed until we came face- to- face with one. But most of all the paranormal experiences I get more of it everyday even at home. There is nothing else I want to do except continuing Ghost hunting like I have been since 2005

 
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