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