Spring City, PA is home to one of the most haunted places in the state, Penn State University. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
In 1903, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the creation of the Eastern State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic and a commission was organized to take into consideration the number and status of the feeble-minded and epileptic persons in the state and determine placement for construction to care for these residents. From this, during the periods of 1903 and 1908, the first building of what is known as the Pennhurst Asylum was built. This property was filled to the rim when in 1913, the legislature appointed a Commission for the Care of the Feeble-Minded which stated that the disabled were unfit for citizenship and posed a menace to the peace.
The Pennhurst State School evolved as a live-in facility for people with mental and physical disabilities. Constructed in 1908, it was originally designed as an asylum of r patients with special needs. This complex, first known as the State Institution for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded, was filled with adults and children with varying disabilities. From its very beginning, the school's history of mistreatment and abuse was quietly underway.
From here, horrific stories grew. Over 10,0000 patients crossed through the doors into Pennhurst, overwhelmed parents dropped off their children who were perhaps mentally retarded, autistic, or with other severe mental health problems. Despite the high number of vulnerable victims that filled its spaces, the state provided the institution with meager funds.
There were very few doctors, nurses, and orderlies available to meet the patients' needs. Many patients spent their days and nights trapped in metal cribs in horrid conditions. Others were so desperate for human contact that they went to great lengths for attention by injuring themselves or even smearing themselves with their own feces in hopes of a bath.
Cruel punishments were common at the facility. Overworked staff responded to unruly patients by drugging them into submission or chaining them to their beds. Other residents were isolated for such long periods of time that they regressed and lost their will to speak, fight, or even live.
In 1968, conditions at Pennhurst were exposed in a five-part television news report anchored by local NBC 10 correspondent Bill Baldini. Later, the Halderman Legal Case battle, in 1979, revealed even more brutal conditions, which resulted in the closure of the institution, also detailed widespread patient abuse. In 1983, nine employees were indicted on charges ranging from slapping and beating patients (including some in wheelchairs) to arranging for patients to assault each other.
This distressed property finally closed its doors in 1987. The large complex of buildings was neglected and left to the tortured memories, and perhaps the phantoms that still lurk to keep the horrific history alive.
Today, the caretakers and staff that look after the property believe that the buildings and underground tunnels are haunted by the angry spirits of patients who suffered and died here.
There are reports of doors that slam on their own, disembodied footsteps and the sounds of vomiting coming from otherwise empty rooms. Others have heard voices, shrieks, or sorrow and pain and murmurs of distress and agony from the souls that roam the halls.
Some witnesses have seen the spirit of a little girl lurking around the buildings. Could she be waiting to tell her own story of deep sorrow and neglect? Or perhaps she is waiting for someone to take care of her and bring her back "home".
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