CURATOR’S COMMENTS: Asylum

It was my first ghost hunt. I went with friends who booked a tour to Pennhurst Penitentiary located in Spring City, PennsylvaniaAsylumNo25 known for its paranormal experiences. Not only was I interested in the possibility of encountering some spirits but I also thought it would make for an interesting photo shoot. And yes we did experience something with the spirit known as Emily.

While waiting for the sun to set and darkness to take over, I was busy taking photos. I’m usually in the habit of checking my camera for every photo I take and everything looked fine until I uploaded to edit and noticed that mostly everything I shot was blurry. I have a steady hand so I’m not sure whether it was nerves or something else. Strangely I did find my camera to be a bit uncooperative that night. Anyway, it all makes for an interesting opportunity to portray the ghoulishness and unwelcome feeling that permeates the place.

12319Pennhurst was opened in 1903 and was originally known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic. Residents were admitted into three categories; mental, physical, and dental and were generally considered unfit for citizenship and a menace to society and as a result recommended for custodial care.

After years of allegations of abuse by institutional caretakers, Bill Baldini a CBS10 correspondent anchored a five part television series entitled “Suffer the Little Children” exposing the neglectful and appalling conditions of widespread abuse that eventually led to a class action suit on behalf of its patients. You can view this documentary at http://preservepennhurst.com/default.aspx?pg=26.

The Halderman Case was a federal case that alleged that the conditions at Pennhurst were unsanitary, inhumane and dangerous and a violation of the fourteenth amendment. In 1983, nine employees were indicated on charges of beating patients some of whom were in wheelchairs.

newspaper-full-page-1972 Pennhurst was closed on December 9, 1987 after a settlement agreement that required all of its residents be provided a more civilized service. It’s listed on the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience as an historic site dedicated to remembering the struggles for justice. It is currently available for private haunted tours and is a major attraction during Halloween. To learn more or book a tour visit http://www.pennhurstparanormal.com/.

To view the entire series of Asylum please visit my website. http://www.battle-studios.com

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