Dave Spinks Interview
Brian J. Cano Interview
The Scranton Republican (Scranton Pennsyvania) Dated Wed. Feb. 14, 1934
Pennhurst State School and Hospital
Photos From Pennhurst
Mike Ricksecker Interview
Prittston Gazette (Pittston Pennsylvania) Dated Mon. Oct 28, 1957
Over one hundred years ago, government officials, doctors, and psychiatrists determined that the physically and mentally disabled, those with epilepsy, blindness and other deformities should be housed in an institution. The 1903 Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the Pennhurst State School and Hospital and it opened in Spring City, PA in 1908.
By 1912 it was overcrowded. Society added to the overcrowding by sending immigrants, orphans and even criminals to Pennhurst with nowhere else to go. Problems developed between male and female residents and lack of funding, employees, medical workers and teachers created a difficult environment.
To help the residents, many volunteers from the surrounding areas assisted the employees and teachers. Hill School students from a local high school created a “one on one” program which allowed students to become involved at the Pennhurst State School and Hospital. One student would spend time with one resident whether it was reading books, going for a walk, helping with meals or even in some cases, taking a resident out for a day.
The community developed a consumer educational program for residents ready to leave Pennhurst and move into a group home. The program focused on teaching residents to handle money, social skills, behavior on the job and other everyday life necessities.
Unfortunately, many residents were drugged to control behavior, held in seclusion with restraints for days on end, tortured, abused and neglected. Shock therapy was practiced as a form of treatment.
Over the years the property grew to 1,400 acres with its own power plant. Pennhurst became a self-sufficient village with farming, gardening, a bakery, laundry facilities and industrial trades and domestic workers. Underground tunnels connected the buildings at Pennhurst along with tree and greenery lined sidewalks overhead. But inside the brick walls of some of the buildings, the residents’ level of abuse and torture continued. For some, the morgue on the property was the final stop before being buried in the Pennhurst Cemetery.
While many residents were dehumanized and made to feel worthless, somehow their spirits were strong and they retained their humanity and proved that their lives were of value when the doors were forced to close in 1987. Courts had ruled that patients’ constitutional rights had been violated.
The spirits of the dead roam the hallways and building rooms. Visitors at the Pennhurst Asylum have been scratched, punched and choked. Visitors since the tormented spirits. The ghosts of Pennhurst are everywhere. Ghost hunters are rarely disappointed when visiting Pennhurst. What will you find when you visit?
Pennhurst Asylum Investigative Footage
Haunted Stories with Scott Litaea