Pennhurst State School
Ghost Adventures

Spring City, Pennsylvania
Pennhurst State School (Ghost Adventures)

Pennhurst State School and Hospital, which sits on the border between Chester County and Montgomery County in Pennsylvania, was an institution for both the mentally and physically disabled.

It is located in Spring City, Pennsylvania. Pennhurst opened in 1908 with high hopes of helping disabled youths throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.

However, Pennhurst's seemingly good intentions came under question starting in the 1970s when rumours of physical and sexual abuse arose. The institution was closed in 1986 after several reports of abuse towards the patients.

A professional paranormal-investigation team have examined the institution, finding several proofs of evil-paranormal activity.

Pennhurst was an essentially self-sufficient community, its 1,400-acre (5.7 km2) site containing a firehouse, general store, barber shop, and even a greenhouse. The buildings of Pennhurst were named after towns in Pennsylvania such as Chester and Devon.

The original buildings were designed by architect Phillip H. Johnson. Several other architectural firms were awarded contracts for future expansions and additions: J. Bedford Wooley, William H. Dechant & Sons and Horace W. Castor.

All of Pennhurst's electricity was generated by an on-site power plant. A cemetery lay on the property, as well as baseball and recreational fields for the residents.

Many of Pennhurst's buildings were strictly for storage; however, the majority were dormitory and hospital-style living quarters for the residents. Most of the buildings were linked by an underground tunnel system designed for transportation of handicapped patients.

Pennhurst was often accused of dehumanization and was said to have provided no help to the mentally challenged. The institution had a long history of staff difficulties and negative public image, for example, a 1968 report by NBC called "Suffer the Little Children". Pennhurst State School was closed in 1986 following several allegations of abuse.
Pennhurst State, a school for the developmentally disabled, was forced to close its doors in 1986 after numerous, heart-wrenching allegations of abuse and neglect. It's believed the angry spirits and tormented souls of the students still linger where the atrocities took place beyond watchful eyes.

These allegations led to the first lawsuit of its kind in the United States, Pennhurst State School and Hospital vs. Halderman, which asserted that the mentally retarded have a constitutional right to living quarters and an education. Terry Lee Halderman had been a resident of the school, and upon release she filed suit in the district court on behalf of herself and all other residents of Pennhurst.

The complaint alleged that conditions at Pennhurst were unsanitary, inhumane and dangerous, that these living conditions violated the fourteenth amendment, and that Pennhurst used cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the eighth and fourteenth amendments.

After a 32-day trial and an immense investigation, prosecutors concluded that the conditions at Pennhurst were not only dangerous, with physical and mental abuse of its patients, but also inadequate for the care and habilitation for the mentally retarded. 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also concluded that the physical, mental, and intellectual skills of most patients had deteriorated while in Pennhurst. Patient treatment at Pennhurst was also at the center of the 1982 United States Supreme Court case Youngberg v. Romeo.

The decision in Pennhurst State School and Hospital vs. Halderman forced the institution to close by July 1st, 1986, beginning a "deinstitutionalization" process that would last several years. Its 460 patients were discharged or transferred to other facilities as appropriate; Pennhurst was responsible for discussing treatment plans with each patient's family to decide what would be the best for the patient.

Currently, much of the Pennhurst complex is privately owned. The Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance is seeking to preserve the site and transform it into a memorial or landmark.