Nightfall at Pennhurst Asylum

This past summer, my husband and I won two tickets for a public ghost tour of Pennhurst State School and Hospital from the Pennhurst Paranormal Association. Timothy Smith runs Pennhurst Paranormal Association and maintains Pennhurst, conducting ghost tours and teaching visitors about the asylum’s tragic history. Tim and the staff of Pennhurst Paranormal Association are experienced, professional paranormal investigators. Everyone was kind and patient in answering both my questions and those of other tour members. The tour was focused on finding evidence of hauntings through the use of ghost hunting equipment, which they also showed us how to use. Pennhurst Paranormal Association hosts both public and private ghost tours of Pennhurst State School and Hospital.

The drive through the picturesque historical town soon ended, bringing George and me to a stop on a dark, country road next to a water tower. Thankfully, Tim sent one of his team to come and find us because we might have never found the place in time for the tour. Pennhurst Asylum was designed to be an isolated location, which undoubtedly helped in keeping the truth behind it a secret for many years. We had to drive down a winding path through the woods just to make it onto the campus, and it was already after dark.

I felt a shift in the atmosphere from the second I saw the dimly lit structures of the buildings looming above. I was thankful that there was a large touring group that night. After having done some preliminary research online, I was anxious about going. Before now, everything that I had done with ghosts had been low-key or happenstance. This was my first time being with a professional group of paranormal investigators that had ghost hunting equipment. We toured two buildings that night, Mayflower Hall and Devon Hall.

In the first building, we went into a kind of common hall where patients used to congregate. Paint was peeling off the walls and water pooled on the floor in some areas from recent rain. Members of the Pennhurst Paranormal Association told us background history about Pennhurst. The place was known for “womb to tomb care.” Many of the occupants spent their whole lives in Pennhurst, whether they needed to be there or not. Family members were encouraged to drop their children and relatives off and told not to look back as return visits might only upset the patient and disrupt the treatment.

Images of people being abandoned by their families, helpless to stop any ill treatment that might befall them filled me with unspeakable horror. I asked why these spirits were still here. Why hadn’t they moved on after so many years? Pennhurst was officially closed down in 1987. This prompted a discussion about hauntings and whether the spirits see the place as we do now.

Without proper funding, Pennhurst was understaffed, poorly managed, and incredibly overcrowded. This allowed for the medical staff to abuse their patients and for patients to accidentally harm themselves or each other. Severe punishments even included surgically removing the patient’s teeth so that they could not bite in defense. This was done without anesthetics. The mentally disabled were not seen as equals and it was easy for the staff to disregard them.

One story that was told to me was about a telephone lineman who was working on repairing the phone system when a patient came up to him and started swaying. After a few minutes, the patient began banging his head into the doorframe. The lineman hailed a nurse who was passing by for help, but she said that she didn’t have time to take care of the patient because she was so overwhelmed with work already. Meanwhile, the patient that she refused to help had blood pouring from the self-inflicted gash on his head.

We had been in the common room for a few minutes when I felt someone take my hand. Thinking it was my husband, I turned around to see that he was standing a few feet away from me. There was no one standing either next to or behind me. I jumped, pulling my hand back. When I brought this up to the tour guides, they said that people often reported being touched or having someone grab their hand in that room. They said that teenage boys used to be here in this section and that was their way of showing affection. We also got some cold spots in that room.

Next, they brought us to Emily’s room. Emily is the spirit of a sweet, thirteen-year-old girl who has the mental capabilities of a five-year-old. There were various dolls and stuffed animals on her bed. We communicated with her via an EMF (Electromagnetic Field) reader which spiked every time she got excited or came near us. She seemed to prefer females and enjoyed when the female tour guides and I took turns singing nursery rhymes to her.

While I was standing in that room, I suddenly saw a small, green orb. I followed it into the darkness down the hallway into another room, but it disappeared. I came back to Emily’s room. At that point, we said goodbye to Emily and went back outside to join other group members who were planning on visiting Devon Hall. Devon Hall is known for having great EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Tim, the association’s leader, took us there.

At one point, I remarked that I kept hearing what I thought to be footsteps following behind us. Tim said that while that was possible, it was more likely that I was hearing the steady dripping of water down the wall. He was accustomed to hearing these noises, so he could debunk them. He even showed me where the water was coming from so that I could see for myself. While we had sufficient light to see by, this was mostly provided by flashlights that we carried along with us during the tour.

First, we went upstairs to inspect some bathrooms in Devon Hall where they had gotten great EVPs in the past. I sometimes get mental flashes of spirits when I enter rooms. It kind of reminds me of taking a picture because I only see the ghost for a second or two before they vanish. When we entered the bathroom, I saw an image of a little boy sitting in the bathtub. I grabbed George as he went to lean against it.

“Don’t sit there!” I hissed. He had no idea what I had seen until I told him later. I didn’t want him to upset the spirit.

Tim showed us how EVPs were made. He had a recorder that would only record when someone was speaking. He would ask a question, wait twenty seconds, and then ask the next question. Later, when he would play the recording back to the group, the ghostly voices would show up in between Tim’s questions. Since the recorder only records when someone is speaking, in theory, there should have been no gap between Tim’s questions during the playback.

The bathroom was a horrible place. Tim asked if the ghosts were repentant of what they had done during their lives, but they seemed to be proud of how they molested and raped young boys. They staked out claims on stalls and threatened to harm Tim if he entered them. Clutching my St. Michael pendant for protection, I envisioned a circle of white light around our group. Thankfully, I had managed to convince George to carry a protective talisman as well. The creepiest thing about this whole situation was that while I didn’t hear anything while I was standing there, Tim’s EVP recordings showed that there was someone in the bathroom with us. This someone was getting angrier at what they took as an intrusion of their territory.

We trudged down to the basement. At this point, I was looking at the cracked plaster and broken sinks and thinking to myself that I should have brought a face mask since I am super sensitive to dust. We entered another bathroom. Apparently, they are a great source for EVPs. We had a brief discussion about whether this was because the water is a good source of energy for spirits. Then we started another EVP session.

Tim made contact with another spirit who obliged us by reading the writing that was on people’s shirts to show that he was there. Then Tim asked if he would go and see if he could get Dr. Fear for us. That was actually the man’s name, although it would have been an appropriate nickname for him as well since he instilled fear in his patients. His soul apparently came here after his passing. I wondered how this was an appropriate punishment for his evil deeds since he seemed to be able to lord over the suffering souls that were still trapped here.

Moments after Tim called for Dr. Fear, I got a flash image of a spectacled man in a lab coat walking over to our group. In my vision, he came over and placed his hands on both a young woman’s and my husband’s shoulder as if he was peering over a group of medical interns. Just then George and the young woman complained of feeling a cold spot right where I had seen Dr. Fear appear.

Tim began asking Dr. Fear questions. Dr. Fear stated that while he remembered who Tim was, he didn’t really care about his presence one way or the other. One of the female tour guides asked if he was a real doctor. The ghost half chuckled into the EVP recorder. Of course, he was a real doctor. The way that he said it made it seem as if he thought she had asked a stupid question. She had been trying to insult him, but he had dismissed it.

One of the things we had discussed were the missing bodies of patients. Patients had died or gone missing and their bodies had never been accounted for. It was thought that they might have been buried somewhere on the campus in unmarked graves. Tim asked Dr. Fear what happened to the bodies.

“I burnt them,” crackled over the recorder, followed by low, eerie laughter.

I felt cold all over after that. Tim offered to keep taking us around the buildings. The next stop would have been back to the Mayflower building. There was the ghost of a nurse on one of the upper floors who was reported to administer ghostly shots to people. George and I decided to leave. We still had a three-hour drive back home and I felt emotionally and spiritually sapped after that encounter in the basement.

I was exhausted for days following this visit, even with my spiritual cleansings. Tim later told me that was one of their strongest EVP sessions. While I don’t consider myself a Medium per say, I do feel like spirits tend to manifest strongly when I’m around. This was easily the most terrifying ghostly encounter that I have ever had. There is nothing like being in a silent, near pitch dark room and having someone who you cannot see answer you.

img_4622
Emily’s Room – Mayflower Hall

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill for more updates and paranormal phenomena!

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Ways of Ghosts

Thanks to Don from New York for this story!

Don lived in the same house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from 1980 until this past June.  The house is estimated to have been built no later than 1812.  It has three floors, a sub-basement, and is connected to a separate brick building.  Don’s landlord lived in the brick building.

Once when the landlord was away visiting family, Don heard footsteps coming up the stairs.  Thinking it was someone attempting to break in, he armed himself with a bat and went to investigate.  Creeping along, he finally reached the stairs only to find that no one was there.  After a few more repeats of this event, Don started saying hi to the invisible spirit whenever he heard the footsteps.

Don’s girlfriend, Alyssa, had a different encounter with the ghost.  Alyssa is the thirteenth generation of psychics in her family.  One day, she told Don that the ghost in the house had come to her and complained about what was going on in the sub-basement.  Don wasn’t aware of anything happening, but he decided to mention the incident to his landlord.  The landlord was astounded.  As it turned out, he had been setting off bug bombs in the basement and the ghost had not approved of it.

Three years after he had been buried, Alyssa’s uncle’s body had to be exhumed.  Noting that he looked better than he had when he was alive, Alyssa asked Don for a reading to see how her uncle was doing on the Other Side.  Everything went fine during the reading.

Later that night, Don was awakened by the presence of someone lying beside him.  Don jumped out of bed to find the spot next to him empty, except that the blankets seemed slightly raised.  Don and Alyssa mentioned the incident to Alyssa’s aunt who was then ninety-eight years old.

She laughed at them.  “Don’t you know better?  Doing readings about the dead draws them to you.”

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story!

Follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill for more updates and paranormal phenomena!

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

 

 

 

The Haunts of Lorain County

Thanks to Michelle from Ohio for this story!

Michelle comes from a psychically gifted family that is of French, Native American, and Irish descent.  She lives in a house in the countryside in Lorain County, Ohio.  While the house is relatively new, she believes that the ground might be cursed because of the swirling energy vortex at the bottom of the house and the high levels of spirit activity in the area.  Older buildings and farmhouses surround Michelle’s home.  There is a cornfield and creek nearby the house, as well as an old church on the corner.

Odd things have happened in Michelle’s house.  Her phone continuously malfunctions for brief periods of time.  She has had the phone inspected, but has not been able to find a reason for the strange reoccurrence.  At times, a growling can be heard coming from under the family table when there is no dog or other animal present.

Two apparitions have also been seen.  The first one is of a little blonde-haired boy from the early 1900s.  Locals believe that he is the ghost of a young boy who died mysteriously somewhere on the property.  There is also the figure of a woman wearing a dress from the 1920s who first appears to be waving, but then a look of shock comes upon her face.  Some think that these two ghosts share a connection of some sort, although the exact story is unknown.

Within a mile of the family’s house is an intersection of highways that are the cause of many accidents.  People have seen various ghosts and entities along this road.  There have been reports of Native American spirits, shadow people the color of translucent smoke, orbs, and gremlin-like creatures.  This strip of highway is thought to be a portal that spirits use to cross over into our world.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

 

The Banishing

While this story is my own, I have changed the names of those involved to protect their privacy.

Growing up with Wiccan high priestess, Lady Rhea, for a mother made for an interesting time.  Aside from glittering Enchanted Candles, crafting perfumes, and giving clients psychic advice, my mother occasionally performed banishing rituals to remove negative energies from close friends’ houses.  This was much different from the spiritual cleansings that she did to purify a space.  These spells involved deeper, older magick.  For those of you who don’t know, Wiccans and Pagans often spell magick with a “k” to differentiate from the stage “magic” that magicians use as entertainment.

When I was a teenager, a close family friend of ours, started experiencing a lot of problems.  Anne had a big house with several people living there.  Over a few months, her family experienced a slew of bad luck with illnesses, financial setbacks, and a rise in heated arguments.  While various circumstances could lead to this happening, Anne felt that something in the house was “off,” so she asked for my mother to give her a reading to see what was going on.

Mom shuffled her cards and turned them over.  Taking a final drag of her cigarette, she shook her head.  “Oh, no…This is not good.”

“What is it?” asked Anne.

Mom turned over more cards.  “What I’m going to say might sound ridiculous, but I need you to listen to me.”  Anne nodded.  My mom paused before continuing, “The cards indicate that there is something inside of the house that is causing the problem.  It’s a negative entity of some sort.”

Anne’s adult son, Peter, who was also seated at the table turned his head at this news.  He said that he had recently woke up and saw an apparition of a bat-like creature with a human face hovering over his bed.  He hadn’t mentioned it before because he thought it was just a nightmare.  Mom looked back at the card reading.  She turned to Anne’s son.

“Can I see your room?”

He nodded.  Even I tagged along upstairs.  After hearing Peter’s story, I didn’t want to be left alone.  Mom entered the room.  After a minute or two, she nodded.  “Yes.  Whatever it is, it’s upstairs and it generally stays in this room.”

We went back downstairs.

“What can we do?” asked Anne as she made more coffee.

“You can light some white candles and incense to help cleanse the space, but ultimately, I’ll have to do a banishing spell for you,” said my mother.

I almost choked on my soda.  Mom always prescribed candles, prayers, incense, that sort of thing.  She only spoke about conducting rituals for serious problems.

“Great,” said Peter.  “I’m staying downstairs on the couch until this thing is gone.”

After Peter went to hang out with some friends, Mom asked Anne about the history of the house.  A large, three-story, white, Victorian house, it was the kind that you see iced with snow on picturesque Christmas cards.  The house had been remodeled in the years following an older relative’s death.  Mom asked if there were any strange events that had happened in the house.  Anne said that there was one.

The last owner of the house had met a tragic end.  Two hours before his daughter’s wedding, he had excused himself saying that he would be right back.  While everyone was in the house getting ready, he left the car engine running and sealed himself inside the vehicle with the windows shut.  Without any warning to his friends or family, he had committed suicide on the day that his daughter was to be married.

“Why’d you even buy the house?” I asked, after Anne was done telling the story.  I was about fifteen then.

“TARA!” Mom glared at me.

Anne laughed.  “It’s okay, Rhea,” she said.  “We didn’t find out until years after we bought the house.  Some neighbors told us.”

Later on, I shivered as we got into the car.  Even though I had been over Anne’s house hundreds of times, I was afraid that the ghost of the dead man was going to jump out at us in the driveway.

“Could Anne’s neighbors have made up that story?” I asked.

“Perhaps,” said Mom, “But I don’t think so.  That negative spirit has caused trouble before.”

“What are we going to do?”

“It’s okay,” said Mom.  “We’re going to get rid of it.”

“How?”

“You’ll see.”

The first thing Mom did was call our coven members.  She told them that she needed their help doing a special favor for a dear friend of hers.  They all knew about Anne and were happy to help.  I had already been initiated and since we needed as many people as possible, Mom decided to bring me along.

A few days later, our coven met at Anne’s house.  We went upstairs to the second floor where all of the bedrooms were located.  My mother turned off the lights and then lit some candles.  She and her partner cast circle to help protect us during the ritual.  Then we all started running clockwise to create a cone of power while chanting a Wiccan banishing spell that is sacred to my mother’s coven.  As we did this, we were running past the bedroom doors which were all standing wide open.

At one point as I was running past Peter’s room, I saw a pale face glaring back at us from the dark.  The apparition was about three or four feet off of the floor.  The face glowed white and had three dark spaces where the eyes and mouth should be.  I didn’t dare break the chain and by the time that I had come around again, the thing was gone.  After the ritual was done, I mentioned the incident to my mother.  One of my older friends who was also in the coven turned to me.

“You saw it too?”

In addition to the banishing spell, we also said prayers that night to help the previous owner’s spirit move on to the light.  After the ritual, everyone was much more at peace in the house and Anne’s family life returned to normal.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

A Grave Message

Thanks to Linda from New Jersey for this story!

As mentioned in an earlier Ghost Post, Her Daughter’s Guardian Angel, Linda has psychic abilities.  This often results in prophetic dreams, which frequently spook her family.  This particular incident happened when Linda was in her late twenties.

In St. Raymond’s Cemetery in Bronx, NY, there is a mausoleum that holds several generations of Linda’s family.  Linda’s great-grandfather, Carmine, set this up so that the family would always stay together.  Great-grandfather Carmine’s son, called Papa Nick, was deeply fond of his daughter-in-law, Vera.  Vera is Linda’s mother.  Even after her mother and father divorced, Papa Nick stayed close with Vera.

One night, Linda had a dream where she heard Papa Nick call out.

“Vera, help me!  I’m drowning!”

This dream occurred two times in a row.  When she mentioned the incident to her mother, Vera said that Papa Nick must be trying to tell them something important.  The most confusing part was that while Linda was the one having the dream, Papa Nick kept calling for her mother.

After the second dream, Linda called her father to ask how Papa Nick had died.  Was it at sea or on a boat?  He answered that her grandfather had died of a stroke.  When he asked her what had brought this question up, Linda told her father about the strange recurring dream.

“Maybe you’d better go visit Papa Nick in the cemetery and see if everything is okay.”

Her father promised that he would go check.  The next day he called and explained what had happened.  He had gone to the cemetery to find that a sewer pipe had backed up and flooded the mausoleum floor.  One of the coffins floating in the water was Papa Nick’s.  Thankfully, they found out in time and none of the coffins were damaged.  It just goes to show you that when spirits want to make contact, they will find a way.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

Her Daughter’s Guardian Angel

Thanks to Linda for this story!

Linda gave birth to her daughter, Amylyn, in December 1974.  Linda’s Aunt Vicky, who also happened to be her godmother, had requested to be the new baby girl’s godmother.  Linda spent seven days in the hospital after giving birth.  While she was there, Linda found out that even though there was a horrible snow storm going on, her aunt and uncle had come from Bronx, New York all the way to Connecticut to see the baby.

When Linda spoke to Aunt Vicky on the phone, she said she was annoyed that they had driven so far and had not even bothered to come and say hi to her.  Her aunt’s response was chilling.  She said that she had wanted to spend time with her new great-niece because this was the last chance that she was going to have to see her.  Linda dismissed this, saying that Aunt Vicky was going to be the godmother and that the baby would be home in a few days.  There would be plenty of time to get to know Amylyn.

Two days after they got home from the hospital, Linda’s mother was over her house when suddenly the phone rang.  Linda has psychic abilities and often has prophetic premonitions.  She gasped, telling her mother not to pick up the phone.

“It’s bad news about Aunt Vicky.”

The phone continued to ring.  The caller rang for a total of three times.  Finally, Linda’s mother said that her daughter was being ridiculous and picked up the phone.  It was Aunt Vicky’s husband on the other end of the line.  He had called to tell the family that she had committed suicide.

A couple of years passed.  Amylyn was now two years old.  One night, her parents heard her crying, so her father went upstairs to see if she was okay.  When he came back, Linda saw that he was shaking and his face was paper white.  When she asked him what was wrong, he said that he wanted to throw up and described to her what he just witnessed happening upstairs in their daughter’s bedroom.

“There’s an angel upstairs rocking our daughter to sleep.”

Linda nodded.  “Uh huh.  You’re crazy.”

“Go and see for yourself.”

Sighing, Linda went upstairs to Amylyn’s room.  She froze at the door.  Aunt Vicky’s spirit was sitting in the rocking chair, holding Amylyn in her arms.  Her husband had never met her aunt, so he didn’t know what she looked like, but Linda recognized her immediately.

When Amylyn was in her mid-twenties she had to have a hysterectomy.  Her parents and in-laws were all in the hospital waiting to see her when she came out of surgery.  During her daughter’s operation, Linda started praying to Aunt Vicky, asking her to watch over her and help her come through the procedure safely.

Fortunately, the surgery was a success.  Later on in the recovery room, Amylyn told her mother that she had had a dream when she was under the anesthesia.  Aunt Vicky had appeared by her side at the operating table.  Taking her goddaughter’s hand, she had said, “I will protect you.”

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

The House Next Door

Thanks to Stacia from Pennsylvania for sharing this story with me!

Stacia comes from a psychically gifted family.  They always knew that the house next door was haunted.  Former occupants had suffered from drug abuse and suicide, among other trials.  After it was abandoned, Stacia and her family would sit on their front porch and listen to the echo of the doors banging opened and closed throughout the empty house.  Their dogs refused to go anywhere near it and growling could be heard coming from inside the house.  Despite these occurrences, Stacia’s family bought the place so that they could knock it down and extend their property.

After the house had been stripped, Stacia and her three siblings went into the front room to see if they could make contact with whomever was in the house.  Standing shoulder to shoulder, they took each other’s hands.  Almost immediately, the closet doors started repeatedly slamming open and shut.  It was then that they knew that they weren’t dealing with a trapped or sad ghost, but some sort of dark presence.  They quickly exited the house.

Sometime later, Stacia returned with one of her sisters.  They brought along a cat ball toy that had a little bell inside of it to see if they could get the spirit to interact with them.  Stacia took the ball and threw it at the top of the stairs.  The laws of physics should have caused it to fall down and roll around.  Instead, the ball looked as if it was caught in mid-air by something unseen and then it dropped straight down to the ground without any movement at all.  Realizing that they must have found the entity’s location, they went upstairs to investigate.  Once again, the upstairs closet door began rapidly opening and closing of its own volition.  Stacia and her sister ran out of the house.

Stacia was in the house one more time before it was torn down.  She and her sister went down into the basement to start the demolition.  Lying on the floor was an old Maxwell House coffee can that had been cut out on both ends so that you could actually see through it.  Picking up a hammer, they started taking down a wall when a cat-like shriek sounded from their right hand side, followed by punching and banging to their left.  Whipping around, they saw the coffee can rolling along the floor by itself, as if it was being pushed by an invisible hand.

After the house was taken down, Stacia and her family had the ground blessed in an attempt to calm any remaining restless spirits.  Whatever was in the house has apparently moved into the tree that still stands on the former house’s site.  Sometimes at night, if Stacia goes too close to the tree, it will come out and chase her back to her house.  Stacia told me this story while standing by what she calls “the damn tree.”

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page.