Pennhurst Asylum Is a Haunted Attraction with a Troubling Past

posted: 11/21/16
by: Kelly McClure
Pennhurst Asylum
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Pennhurst Asylum
Discovery Communications

The Pennhurst State School and Hospital for the mentally and physically challenged opened in 1908 and was operational for 60 years. After a long history of overcrowding and reports of patient abuse the institution was forced to shut its doors in 1987. Abandoned and left to ruin for many years, the building was purchased by a business man named Richard Chakejian in 2010 and he, along with collaborator Randy Bates, who runs the Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride attraction in Glen Mills, turned it into an elaborate haunted house that banks on the site's dismal past. The building has since been purchased by another business man, Timothy Smith who continues to run it along with Bates.

Although many were excited about the haunted house, The Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance was deeply offended by the idea of someone making holiday fun out of a place where many people suffered in real life.

"Demonizing people with disabilities as a profit-making entertainment is [and should be] offensive to everyone," the group said in an interview with NBC Philadelphia shortly after learning of the plans for the institution.

The video below shows part of an investigation conducted by the team from Ghost Asylum. After watching the video it's easy to see why people continue to be fascinated by the existence of this haunted house and the spirits that may still remain.

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