Posted on March 15, 2020
Pennsylvania is one of the first states of the US that has hosted events that had played a pivotal role in America’s history. From the Revolutionary War to the bloody Battle of Gettysburg during the civil war, there is bound to be some places where hauntings can occur. Indeed, we’ll be taking a look at some of these historically significant (but rather haunted) spots along with some others. Each of these places have a unique, fascinating story on how it became haunted. Battlefields, old asylums, and cemeteries — there really is no shortage of haunted places to visit in the Keystone State. Here are the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in Pennsylvania that we’ve put together so you can make the trip and check out yourself. Let’s get right to it:
10. Pennhurst State Hospital and School
This old asylum in Spring City was one of a handful of state-run hospitals that has seen its share of misery and unfortunate events over the years. It opened in 1908 as a place to treat the mentally ill (but had opened its doors to those who were healthy in both the physical and mental aspects). However, what may appear to be just any old building on the outside, behind the closed doors was much different. Allegations of mistreatment and abuse have long plagued the institution. The place intended to be a safe haven for the mentally ill was anything but safe. The stories of abuse, starvation of patients, and other mistreatments would continue on up until its closure in 1987. The spirits of those who were admitted into the asylum (and faced abuse) are among those who haunt the halls of the abandoned and decayed building to this day. Plus, part of it is converted into a haunted house during Halloween time. If you are looking for the perfect haunted location during the most fitting time of year, this is the place.
9. Hill View Manor
From one asylum to another, we go to the Hill View Manor located in New Castle. Located due east of the Pennsylvania/Ohio border, the Manor was opened for not only the mentally ill but also for those who were elderly and had no other place to go. Eventually, Hill View became more focused on caring for the elderly. From its opening in 1926 to its closure in 2004, Hill View had been a place where many natural deaths have occurred (and even suicides). It’s been said that nearly a hundred of spirits is said to be roaming the grounds. That’s because those who have died were also buried on the property as well. One such notable ghost who was known for having a love for dolls is one of those still around after all these years. If you come across a woman named Mary Virginia, then you just saw a ghost.
8. King George Inn II
Let’s take a trip back to the Colonial years. It was around this time when the King George Inn II in Bristol had first opened its doors. To this day, the hotel that had guests like George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison (founding fathers and later US presidents). Unfortunately, the spirits of these historical figures haven’t overstayed their welcome. But a mysterious man in a top hat sure did. Some people have recalled seeing a shadowy, well-dressed figure in a top hat walking about. Random events said to have occurred including paintings suddenly falling off the walls and doors and windows opening and closing by themselves.
7. Mishler Theater
Located in Altoona, this theater is still open to those today who love watching nothing more than a good old-fashioned stage play. The theater was owned by Issac Mishler, who was beloved among the residents of Altoona. Mishler was known for smoking cigars on a regular basis. This may explain the random episodes of smoke wafting upwards in random places (plus the smell of cigars). It just might be the spirit of Mishler himself enjoying a cigar while taking in another performance at one of his favorite places in the world. Some have said that they saw the spirit of Mishler walking into a wall. It was said that the door to his office was once there and had since been sealed off.
6. Hansell Road
Ever wondered what it would be like to travel down a haunted backroad? If you live in Buckingham Township (north of Philadelphia), then you might have heard some ghost stories about Hansell Road. Whether you go during the day or at night, expect to see some light orbs randomly all over the place (or glowing from the trees). Some of them may look like eyes staring back at you. Other lights may look like those old lanterns from the old 18th-19th century. This part of Pennsylvania may seem peaceful and serene. But it might seem like an unusual quiet more than anything.
5. Hessian Powder Magazine
Back in the Revolutionary War, the Hessians were German mercenaries that were contracted to fight alongside the British. The Hessians established a presence along the banks of the Delaware River (with most of them holed up just across the river in Trenton, New Jersey). However, the Hessians had also situated themselves into Pennsylvania and had set up shop in Carlisle. The stone building that was constructed by the Hessians still stands today, but is not short of any paranormal activity. Some visitors have reported hearing moaning, groaning, and clattering noises during the day and night. A groundskeeper recalled telling a story about doors that were usually unlocked would be mysteriously locked. Considering that he is the only one with the keys, it’s likely that this was the work of some Hessian soldiers that still patrol the grounds (albeit in spirit).
Once in a while, we like to talk about ghost towns. While they are defined as a town where no one lives, they do get haunted and seem to be teeming with spirits. One such “ghost town” to check out is Centralia. To date, the population of this town is 5 people as of 2017. Why that many people? This town is home to several coal mines. In 1962, one of the coal mines began to catch fire. The original cause is yet to be known, but even after sixty years the fire still burns. Because of the toxic gases that have mixed in with the smoke, residents had to permanently evacuate the area. At the time, the population was around 1,500. While most of the buildings have since been destroyed, only a few people still remain. As for the fire, experts believe that this mysterious fire will burn for another 250 years (perhaps longer). If you’re passing through here, you may want to observe the smoke from a safe distance.
3. Coulterville Cemetery
Obviously, cemeteries are synonymous with ghosts and paranormal activity. One such graveyard of interest is the Coulterville Cemetery in McKeesport. If you are someone who isn’t afraid to visit a graveyard at night, you may want to check this one out. You’ll likely hear the sounds of children laughing, playing, and having a good time outside. But there’s a tragic story behind it. Near the cemetery stood an orphanage that burned to the ground and killing dozens of young children. Some have seen shadowy figures of children running around and others have reported seeing child-sized handprints on their vehicles. Also, don’t be surprised if you see a child mysteriously appear in your rearview mirror as you leave the cemetery.
2. Eastern State Penitentiary
This Philadelphia prison was built in 1829 and ran in operation until its closure in the early 1970s. Most of the cells located in this prison were mostly solitary confinement cells. Those who were confined into the small, dark cells were often driven to insanity. More than 70,000 inmates were incarcerated here in the prison’s lifetime. And there had been allegations of inmates being tortured and abused. Aside from being locked in solitary for nearly 24 hours a day, guards would often dunk cold water on the inmates during the wintertime and tying them up to walls. Those who visit the old prison may hear sounds of painful screams and even the apparitions of prisoners who had spent their days in what could have been the closest possible thing to Hell on Earth.
The site of one of the most pivotal battles in the Civil War is never in short supply of any ghost stories and haunted places. And there are plenty of them to check out. But where to start is the question. One of the most haunted places in the town is Devil’s Den. It is there where 2,500 soldiers were killed during the bloody battle. Also, since there have been some bodies that were never buried you may come across some human remains. One other place is the Jennie Wade House. It was there where Jennie Wade herself could still be baking bread in the afterlife. She was killed when a stray bullet struck her while she was doing what she did best. If you want to get a glimpse of some soldier ghosts, cap off the night by checking out the Sachs Covered Bridge (assuming there is a tour going on, otherwise it’s inaccessible).
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